Mathew Mozzoni's debut album "Hot Light": one of the boldest and finest jazz albums of 2023
"Hot Light" by Mathew Mozzoni is an album that embodies the very essence of what draws people to jazz. I can confidently assert that this genre is complex and attractive precisely because jazz is built upon emotions and an absolute sense of flow. So yes, Mathew Mozzoni's debut album "Hot Light" is incredibly emotional, thought-provoking, melodic, and intricately crafted. Mathew single-handedly composed all the music, and his true forte lies in his mastery of the guitar, evident in the enchanting and selfless guitar parts that permeate the album. Every interplay of chords, rhythms, and vocal performances encapsulates the very essence of the jazz-fusion genre, fearlessly blended with elements of funk, profound guitar grooves, ambient textures, and a touch of arthouse influences. Imagine yourself in the most tranquil setting imaginable, close your eyes, and prepare yourself for the near-tangible pleasure that awaits you in "Hot Light."
I was utterly mesmerized by the track "Everything." The album kicks off with gentle leads that gradually build up to the main sound of the track, engulfing the senses when experienced through headphones. It's a gentle start that evokes the sensation of a light breeze swiftly giving way to a powerful and vibrant funk sound. It's akin to feeling overwhelmed and then reopening your eyes to the realm of music. Mathew's virtuosic guitar performance accompanied by a subtle sense of unease in the sound sets the stage, and everything flourishes when you are left alone with the ethereal voice of the divine jazz singer, Gracie Terzian. And indeed, the album boasts a plethora of guest appearances.
The second track, "Hot Light," rides the rhythmic waves of drums, funky guitars, and the fiery vocals of Shane Antonio. Echoes and backing vocals shine as standout features throughout the album. With its delicate and airy components, Mathew skillfully maintains the softness and fluidity of the sound. The beginning of the track deserves special mention. Oh my God, it feels as if I am truly transported into a bustling space, with life swirling around me as usual. Following the whimsical, fast-paced, and captivating tracks, Mathew expertly creates a sense of relaxation with the track "Quad-Colored Bug". It's as if he delicately balances on the waves of the most intricate genres, immersing us in captivating and elaborate rhythms. My imagination and consciousness are stimulated, conjuring remarkable imagery, only to dissolve seamlessly into a gentle and weightless jazz motif. The space is filled with the resonance of the bass guitar and ethereal vocals. It becomes evident that this album was crafted with dedication and a profound love for music. Each note is meticulously recorded, treated with care, and the instruments are expertly mixed to the highest standard.
"Latika" holds a special place in my heart as my absolute favorite. The jazz solo is flawlessly executed, accompanied by the sensual tones of the saxophone and the velvety, alluring voice of Mike Hood. The melody builds up tension, leading to an unforgettable climax. It's truly remarkable. Moreover, as you progress through the album, you witness the development of the music, the changing voices, and Mathew Mozzoni's bold experimentation with sound and instruments, resulting in virtuosic melodies. In the track "Someplace Special," Mathew Mozzoni once again incorporates light ambient elements to accentuate the somber beginning. However, the incomparable Gracie Terzian extends a helping and comforting hand, transforming the track into a deeply emotional journey. This particular track showcases one of the most challenging compositional decisions I have ever encountered, further highlighting the exceptional artistry of Mathew Mozzoni.
In the track "Two-Tone Corduroy Coat," singer Courtney Campbell joins in, creating an absolute funk-filled atmosphere that effortlessly captivates my mind with her vocals. Meanwhile, "Steeped in Blue" fearlessly blends the finest elements of jazz with the unforgettable pop vocals of Nala Kathleen, resulting in a remarkable fusion. As the album nears its conclusion, the final track "Mean" allows you to fully immerse yourself in the realm of jazz. The instrumentation flows with light and enchanting melodies, while the harmonies create a pleasant and hypnotic aura. The heartfelt and touching vocals of Montre Davis leave an indelible impression that will remain etched in my memory for a long time. It serves as the perfect ending to an exceptional album.
The world is filled with a vast amount of meticulously produced music that fails to elicit any profound emotional response. True art is not solely about technical prowess; it resides in the human stories, contemplations, and experiences it conveys. In 'Hot Light,' Mathew Mozzoni pays homage to one of the oldest and most distinctive genres on Earth: jazz. Can we consider 'Hot Light' as one of the boldest and finest jazz albums of 2023? Absolutely. Mathew Mozzoni has crafted an astonishing album that beckons us not only to listen but to revel in its essence and draw inspiration from it. It is an album that truly deserves to be savored.
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