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Departures CD Release

Matt Geraghty
Jazz Showcase
Chicago, IL
November 8, 2010

Matt Geraghty
Matt Geraghty

Story by Brad Walseth, Photos by John Broughton

For the first time, I believe, since his explosive appearance at the 2007 Chicago Jazz Fest, former Chicagoan, bassist Matt Geraghty appeared in town last Monday at the Jazz Showcase in support of his wonderful new release, Departures . Backed by pianist Ben Lewis, drummer Jeff Fortin and guitarist Neal Alger, Geraghty entertained the Showcase crowd with excellent renditions of several choice tracks from the new album.

Arriving for the second set from the All Souls Jazz Fest we managed to catch the band's hot version of "Lost in Shinjinku" - a bouncy track showcasing guitarist Alger to fine effect. Neal is truly one of the finest guitarists in the city and his highly inventive work here was stunning. The lovely "Leaving My Gypsy Woman in Vienna" - a personal favorite of mine followed and showcased Lewis on a sweet and tender piano solo. This track features vocalist Anna Maris Jopek and Gil Goldstein on accordion on the album, but it is a credit to the strength of Geraghty's compositional talent that the song remains successful without those ingredients and retains its expressive romantic charm.

Geraghty's original voice as a composer incorporates the sounds of many cultures into the jazz flow of his songs, so no surprise that next up was "Midnight in Madrid" - another memorable track that included a great Geraghty solo. Fortin also impressed here with drumming that ranged from sensitive to powerful, while Lewis and Alger were also superb on this complex and captivating song.

Alger's guitar again took center stage on the wistful "Sunset Streaks the Airplane Wing" before Geraghty switched over to electric bass and performed his amazing effected bass solo version of Jimmy Webb's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." His soulful electric bass work continued on the jaunty "Flight 417," with Lewis and Fortin also shining on solos.

As on the album, Geraghty ended the evening with the propulsive groove of "Manhattan in Three Minutes" - an appropriate song that ends too soon to complete an evening that ended too soon, but leaving the listener with the desire to hear more. One would hope more Chicago jazz fans would pick up a copy of Departures and catch this talented and original young voice on the scene the next time he comes to town, and let us hope that is sooner rather than later.

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Jeff Fortin

Neal Alger

Ben Lewis

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