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mat walerian

The New York Times, US :

"Even when tumbling through an open-plan improvisation, the two don’t seem to be jockeying or sniping. They tangle and embrace, letting you relish the physicality of their connection. The alto saxophonist Mat Walerian seems to have a cooling effect on Matthew Shipp, an influential pianist whose free-form playing can be effusive to the point of pugnacious." - Giovanni Russonello



JAZZIZ Magazine, The Authoriative Voice in Jazz, US :

"(...) jaunty and joyous, encapsulating the sound of two superior musicians for whom age and cultural differences mean nothing (...) At times they sound like youthful renegades breaking down barriers with the power of their sound. During others, they come across as wise elders (...) “Free Bop” statements that find Walerian channeling New Orleans by way of Eastern Europe (...) When Shipp veers into a martial pattern on the latter, Walerian finds a complementary approach so quickly that it soon becomes impossible to determine who’s leading whom." - Michael Roberts [The Uppercut : Matthew Shipp Mat Walerian]



All About Jazz, US :

"The innovators of the jazz duo - Anthony Braxton and Max Roach, Bill Evans and Jim Hall, Dave Holland and Sam Rivers (...) effectively solidified the format's legacy within jazz (...) I'm happy to report that a new musical team has emerged that deserves to be added to the aforementioned list of greats: the Matthew Shipp & Mat Walerian Duo (...) Both are masters of the avant-garde and both are adept at creating a flowing dialogue between their instruments (...) elements of the blues, free jazz, bop, gospel, and chamber music are all found within (...) music occupying the highest level of sophistication and mastery (...) His playing is eloquent and imaginative, taking the spotlight in the form of mellow, meandering bursts of sound that resemble the work of a tranquilized Eric Dolphy (...) prime example of what can come of two kindred spirits producing music under the freewheeling ideals of jazz (...) matured sense of space, coordination, and texture that results in an overall enthralling listen. This is modern jazz at its most potent and uncompromising." - Matthew Aquiline [about project The Uppercut]



All About Jazz, US :

“The like-minded pair coauthor a genuine statement of just that peace and respect. Highly recommended. (...) this session is cloaked with a feeling of amity and warmth (...) woody bass clarinet of Walerian. His tone is more relaxed then say Eric Dolphy's (...) His saxophone recalls the breathy tone of Johnny Hodges." - Mark Corroto [about project The Uppercut]



All About Jazz, US :

"Sort of the new sheriffs in town ... The difficult task is to choose the highlights. There are so many (...) Certainly Shipp and Drake are able to negotiate these exchanges, but Walerian does so with an insouciance one would only expect from a much older player (...) Walerian is back with bass clarinet, opening piece worthy of Eric Dolphy (...) The highlight of the recording must refer to John Coltrane, whose sound is evident here. Walerian builds his solo much like the great man utilizing the muscular drumming of Drake, playing the Elvin Jones role and Shipp, channeling his inner-McCoy Tyner (...) label founder earliest artists, Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan, Frank Wright, Noah Howard, and Charles Tyler. All players introduced to us by this label. Walerian slips right in there next to those listed above. The label is definitely the most appropriate record company for such a mysterious artist (...) - Mark Corroto [about project Jungle]



All About Jazz, US :

“While pianist Matthew Shipp has recorded a slew of head to heads with saxophonists, his duo - The Uppercut - with Polish reedman Mat Walerian is different. (…) In fact conversational exchange forms the main currency of the duet, in which Walerian’s free flowing legato contrasts with the pianist’s spiky staccato accompaniment. Walerian’s boppish bass clarinet opens alone on "Introduction,” before Shipp combines in sparkling lyrical vein, with bluesy undertones emanating from both. (…) Walerian’s alto spirals and soars above Shipp’s thunderous clusters before a gradual easing down to a subdued conclusion.“ - John Sharpe [about project The Uppercut]



JazzTimes, America’s Jazz Magazine, US :

"Pianist Matthew Shipp and drummer Hamid Drake are among the greatest musicians ever to play avant-garde jazz (...) the reedsman, who was 28 when this trio calling itself Jungle recorded Live at Okuden fits in perfectly with his mentors. Walerian is alternately introspective and fiery, and the passion of Jungle at times recalls David S. Ware’s groups (...) They both soothe the soul and make the heart race (...) Walerian obviously been studying Ware, Coltrane and their ilk (...) he’s on his way to becoming a free-jazz force." - Steve Greenlee [about project Jungle]



The New York City Jazz Record, US :

"Sophisticated enough to adopt individual playing strategies for each of his horns Walerian's multiple identities encourage the pianist to vary his keyboard guises. With chameleon-like color shifts, pieces bring out a clipped Chopin-esque formalism in the pianist with mazurka-like flourishes imbued with jazz feelings, the better to meet the alto saxophonist’s Benny Carter-like sweetness (...) plunges the two into a complicated and mercurial conversation. Smearing and spitting split tones with wild animal abandon, the saxophonist’s stretched sound is as atonal here as it was wistful (...) while the pianist’s splashing interpolations of multiple cadenzas doesn’t prevent the two from gliding to a heart-beat-linked ending (...) excursion is reminiscent of a garment being created by flighty designers. - Ken Waxman [about project The Uppercut]



The New York City Jazz Record, US :

"Polish reed player Mat Walerian is one of those rare musicians whose approach seems to span several eras of jazz history, sometimes even within the same solo (...) he plays in a deliberate, measured manner (...) takes his time yet never comes off as ponderous or tentative. (...) Like Walerian, Shipp is primarily an outside/free player, but both are of the generation of ‘out cats’ that can embrace rhythmic impetus, congenial inside playing and influences outside jazz (...) alternating tart, sleek blues phrasing with some gloriously agitated, slightly vocalized runs (...) Walerian gets furious and cathartic, adding smooth, harmonious and even suave bits along the way (...) Walerian with some gorgeous bluesy clarinet that grows to growl, groan and shriek to the heavens. Jungle juxtapose the cool with the hot, wild ‘n’ wooliness with elegance and gentle introspection with purifying proclamations." - Mark Keresman [about project Jungle]



The Absolute Sound, The High End Journal of Audio & Music, US :

"Walerian's alto sax, bass clarinet, soprano clarinet, and flute push Shipp in many directions, while adding an extraordinary range of colors and textures around the bright edginess and rich chords of the acoustic piano. There are lots of blues and bop intonations and songlike melodies to make these original boundary-bashing pieces accessible to mainstream listeners. Plenty of fractured harmonies, skittering rhythms, guttural honks, and high-register squeals as the moment moves them. Other than the applause preceding the encore, you might forget that this is a concert date, though the roomy sound of the piano and the palpably spontaneous creative energy feel totally live." - Derk Richardson [about project The Uppercut]



Stereophile, High End Audio and Music Magazine, New York :

"(...) memorable 2012 trip by reed and woodwind sensation Mat Walerian and veteran leaders (...) It’s a companion piece to the outstanding Shipp-Walerian duet album from same festival (...) interplay is nothing short of transcendent, an interaction of shocking power and dynamics (...) He evokes the mastery of John Coltrane in the epic “One For”, as Shipp plays his most Tyner-esque block chords (...) Walerian interjects flute phrases that sound like tropical birds (...) It’s an invocation of the journey to come (...) The groans of Walerian’s alto against the maelstrom of Drake’s drums and Shipp’s piano are like listening to a hurricane strain against the walls of an old wooden house, Drake’s tom and bass drums roll thunderously under Walerian’s fierce alto playing as Shipp comps furiously against the grain (...) angled strokes from piano and drums behind Walerian’s ethereal alto statement." - John Swenson [about project Jungle]



The Wire, Adventures In Music And Sound Magazine, London :

"In duo, Walerian and Shipp spin complex, information-rich webs." [about project The Uppercut]



The Wire, Adventures In Music And Sound Magazine, London :

"Walerian was the last artist to be personally approved for release by ESP-Disk founder Bernard Stollman before his death last year – and, teamed here with two giants of US free jazz, he proves he’s got the chops and the versatility to match. On flute, he sounds a windy, shakuhachi-like tone; on clarinet he veers from bent microtones to spry Dixieland flourishes; while his alto sax slides around the blue notes." [about project Jungle]



The Wire, Adventures In Music And Sound Magazine, London :

"(...) democratic unit, in which multi-reedist plays a definitive role (...) lead voice is Walerian's alto saxophone, rising thoughtfully up blue melodic coils to dangle briefly off the edge (...) Walerian prowls the lower quarters of his bass clarinet, the deliberate pace interrupted by sharp bursts of panic. (...) alto sax that alternately mewls and purrs (...) Walerian to drape long lines of altissimo clarinet over Shipp's minimal bass keys and plucked strings." - Stewart Smith [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



JazzWise Magazine, London :

"Walerian, is the impressive multi-reedist who is possibly more well-known in New York avant-garde circles than he is in Europe but proves a suitable partner for the two senior, highly-respected members of the trio (...) Walerian’s music reveals a clever confluence of many sources, primarily a ceremonial Japanese classicism, freeish form and a vigorous blues sensibility. (...) his alto tone deliciously, sensually well-weighted, embarks on more explicitly non-western routes of exploration elsewhere (...) The result is an album of quality material well served by players with requisite strength of character and sound judgement." - Kevin Le Gendre [about project Jungle]



Downtown Music Gallery, New York :

(...) Mr.Walerian’s tone on alto sax is immensely mature sounding and closer to the way some of the elder statesmen of tenor play, lush and sublime (...) his tone on bass clarinet is rich and warm, slow and assured, a slowed down version of Eric Dolphy perhaps (...) perfect partner for Mr. Shipp, both men playing in superb balance and reverence. The music has a regal elegance, not too dark yet consistently enchanting. Nothing here is too dense, each note is well crafted and often touching. For me, this is perfect duo that works together as one charming force of nature. A true consistency of excellence!” - Bruce Lee Gallanter [about project The Uppercut]



All Music, one of the definitive music sources online :

"The music ranges from free-flowing avant, modal, post-bop to folk and chamber-influenced jazz (...) His shakuhachi-style has been extrapolated to embrace modernism, but his economic sense of melody is his own (...) It gently evolves in melody, tension, and drama ... The vibrant saxophone solo weaves through Coltrane, Dolphy, Sanders, and Ayler without sacrificing the tune’s inherent lyricism (...) intense Monk-esque lyric interplay with Debussy-ian harmony and a plethora of folk-dance rhythms that recall similar experiments by Charles Mingus. And it’s where Jungle shine as an ensemble: they effortlessly weave through tempos, modes, and tonal changes to discover a holistic music that celebrates its various seams like a mandala (...) Walerian’s tone, inventive phrasing, and keen sense of how and when to mix and match musical traditions, is well-suited to the always adventurous, genre-blurring playing and improvising of his partners." - Thom Jurek [about project Jungle]



All Music, one of the definitive music sources online :

"(...) rather than project fire, the trio move toward an investigation of Asian music - a primary influence on the bandleader (...) When Walerian enters on soprano clarinet ... we are again immersed in blues, only this shade bridges the past and the future (...) Walerian's bass clarinet is rooted deeply in the tradition, but his use of Eric Dolphy's spiritually infused lyricism gets the most out of his bandmates before he even switches to alto (...) Walerian opens himself to imbue it all with an ethereal, poetic, yet authoritative utterance (...) Walerian's three albums all showcase a truly massive talent - one as adept at nuanced listening as canny improvisation and creative composition ... Taken as a whole, this record actually sings with inspiration." - Thom Jurek [about project Toxic]



Culture Catch, New York :

"(...) playing the bass clarinet slowly and carefully in a way that recalls some of the most interesting and evocative jazz albums of all time (...) really gets its mood, and thus its mojo, from the bass clarinet, alto sax, soprano clarinet, and flute playing (...) Live at Okuden is a moody masterpiece (...) Live at Okuden paints a picture in shades of black and grey, but with occasional bits of noisy dissonance. It's mournful, contemplative, and sad, and even when it is a bit aggro, it's still hauntingly beautiful (...) I just hope I don't have to wait long until the next time they hit the "record" button." - Paul Semel [about project The Uppercut]



William Parker, liner notes :

"Mat Walerian plays some of most lovely and relaxed uncompromised beauty that I have ever heard in a long time. Mat Walerian is one of the special ones (...) new music called Elusive Beauty (...) What do I call this music ? One word comes to mind : “Exquisite.” (...) Mat Walerian whose playing reminds me of the Japanese paintings of Sesshu, full of fine lines, images, and sounds that tell haiku-like stories, arresting and mysterious. (...) you can hear sound and space disrobe to reveal villages with beautiful clouds over trees laced with seraphic hues and birds dancing. I enjoyed this music on many levels; the more I listen to it, the more layers of brilliance I discover. (...) I invite you to enjoy it and learn how to cherish life." [about project The Uppercut]



Something Else Reviews, US :

"Mat Walerian, like his American partner Shipp — has so much to say musically with an uncommonly fresh vocabulary. Walerian distills all the genres of his influence into something profoundly genre-less (...) one can sense that beauty that reaches back decades to find the roots of jazz, where it coincides with the blues (...) even connects blues to the avant-garde. Walerian (on alto sax) plays liquid and outside in a very emotional, natural cadence, selectively picking his spots to get abrasive for maximal impact. He swings like a champ (…) he demonstrates a spare but elegiac quality while staying closely attuned." - S. Victor Aaron [about project The Uppercut]



Something Else Reviews, US :

"Probably Walerian’s greatest attribute is allowing the notes and the phraseology come to him, sizing up each moment and jumping in when the water is just right (...) injecting his sax only where it will complete the emotion that’s meant to be rendered. He tactfully straddles the line between and dissonance on a convulsive reading of the traditional tune (...) he’s soothing as he is calculating and contemplative (...) never failing to swing during his inside/outside soliloquy (...) reaches back into tradition with his avant sensibilities (...) master musician is not a musician who knows every thing about music, like preordained harmonies, rhythms, or melodies.” Rather, “the informed musician knows enough to let music be music on its own terms.” It’s something that Mat Walerian seems to understand instinctively (...) manages to show he knows much about the tenants of music and in the presence of more established masters." - S. Victor Aaaron [about project Jungle]



Something Else Reviews, US :

"(...) lethal trio aptly called Toxic ... kills not with kindness or brutality but by the three mentally meeting on some spiritual plane speaking a dialect that only exists in that moment (...) Walerian brings something naturally that many avanteers can’t: an innate feel for the direction of a song that comes entirely from within (...) responsibilities that are fluid and based on intuition (...) moments where you don’t know what to expect, except that ingenuity will always be involved (...) his sax conjures up ghosts of Lester Young and Johnny Hodges (...) set of performances that succeed because the Toxic musicians place all trust on instinct and the instincts of others. Composition is an end result not a means, instrumentation is dynamic not rigid, and music not bound by either becomes the order of the day." - S. Victor Aaaron [about project Toxic]



Aftenposten, Norway :

"They are a good combination. Like the pianist, Walerian is in the intersection of mainstream and freely improvised jazz. The two athletes have revealed a common understanding of what applies. The self-composed music is focused and unforced. The duo manages to give expression a midpoint and ballast that provides steadiness (...) they play with superior vitality. I've lived with Matthew Shipps qualities for decades and experienced cooperation with Mat Walerian as refreshing." - ***** 5 stars by Arild R. Andersen [about project The Uppercut]



Jazz Magazine, Paris :

"Mat Walerian forged solid friendships among the finest blades of American free jazz (...) album renders the integrity of a 2012 concert by the diabolic trio Jungle (...) He concatenates lively with a lighthearted and sinuous soprano clarinet that dynamically boosts the playing of his partners. The tension climbs by several notches when he intervenes with the alto saxophone in a free-bop verve that’s deliciously dissonant (...) Walerian also utilizes a beautiful bass clarinet, dark and woody, in beautiful melancholy contexts/situations." - Paul Jaillet [about project Jungle]



Gapplegate Music Review, New York :

"Roots and beyond in today's masters of freedom ... The music of today continues in a seminal gathering of the central piano playing of Matthew Shipp and his duo-mate for the album Mat Walerian. Walerian has roots in bluesiness and freedom. His playing on alto, bass clarinet, soprano clarinet and flute throughout the set has a clarion tone with a touch of breathiness (...) the rootsy-ness and soul of his stance (...) freedom strongly colored with a certain sanctification that is a very good thing to hear. This is a very strong duo session that confirms Shipp as one of the important original piano masters of today, a player who uniquely channels the history of the music into his own free approach. And Walerian complements and feeds into that slipstream of past and present that Matt deals with so well (...) Listen and feel the strength of this music!" - Grego Applegate Edwards [about project The Uppercut]



Gapplegate Music Review, New York :

"This is present-day music in the grand ESP tradition (...) the post-Coltrane channelings have a beautiful momentum and spiritual energy that is reassuring and heartening to hear today (...) the whole set is very worth having, for the coherency and committed travels of three of the very best new-new thing practitioners of the high art. It’s a winner, hands down! (...) Mat Walerian establishes his presence as an avant reedist with some fire-y blues and roots in his soul. On alto, bass clarinet, soprano clarinet and flute he holds his own (...) It is music in the outside realm as you might expect, but the open form approach allows for various developments (...) beautiful performances that set the stage and offer convergent voicings for Walerian to respond to in his concentrated soulfulness. It is an impressive outing, as much so for the Walerian extroverted testification as for the high flying responses of Shipp and Drake." - Grego Applegate Edwards [about project Jungle]



Gapplegate Music Review, New York :

"(...) album focuses on sonic worlds that express through a spontaneous sound design (...) There are searchingly soulful gestures ... breaks out into some very personal expressions that look ahead to a pure state of musical being. (...) It tells us what the artists seek and realize throughout. A musical world that follows the three as improvisers so sure of themselves that they can range far and wide into wherever the moment may bring them. Freedom music is ideally and at its best not a rote thing. You could give a separate hearing to concentrate on what each is doing in turn ... three in significant togetherness that makes each moment special. If you like many right now don't know exactly where you are headed, you can learn and revive from this session (...) The best of freedom needs the totality of the experiences of the artists at hand. And then a true calling forth. That is what so excellently comes to your ears on this (album). Strongly recommended as a model of what can be and is right now!" - Grego Applegate Edwards [about project Toxic]



Esp-Disk', New York :

"Matthew Shipp, the supreme jazz pianist of his generation, and Mat Walerian, the finest Polish jazz woodwind player of his, have combined their talents in concert on several occasions. Walerian is the younger of the two (...) One listen to this album should convince everyone of the imaginative depth of his musical vision and the likelihood that he will soon be counted among the avant-jazz scene's international stars. Largely self-taught and deeply immersed in Eastern philosophy, his approach to improvisation is unique and compelling." - Steve Holtje [about project The Uppercut]



The WholeNote, Comprehensive guide to music, Toronto :

"Sparse sounds that wouldn’t be out of place in a new music recital, the two confirm their versatility and the vitality of the disc. (…) Like a method actor, Walerian portrays a different character on each horn, but the output is united in finding unique sounds (...) gradually hardens into a blues conception following Walerian’s rangy, elongated clarinet tone (...) By the climax the two could be Jimmy Noone and Earl Hines in 1920s Chicago. In contrast, what begins with the pianist and alto saxophonist propelling slick mainstream timbres at one another ... evolves into a breathtaking display of complicit split tones, as the two deconstruct the melody as if it were a building being dynamited to smithereens, then rebuild the tune into a solid edifice for a sympathetic ending (...) flexible intro works up from creamy Johnny Hodges-like alto playing (...) never abandoning underlying swing. Conventional and avant-garde simultaneously" - Ken Waxman [about project The Uppercut]



The WholeNote, Comprehensive guide to music, Toronto :

"Anything but toxic in the usual sense, the CD’s five selections are unique (...) The tone elaboration and colouration ... the title tune could easily slip into a Romantic-era concerto (...) In sharp contrast, the low-pitched, metronomic groove that the bassist and pianist create ... has a contemplative gait, but resonates with such effortless swing that Walerian’s light chromatic clarinet flutters could come from a reborn Benny Goodman." - Ken Waxman [about project Toxic]



Polish Jazz Recordings and Beyond, reference work :

"Walerian is one of the most talented young jazz musicians on the Polish scene, if not the most talented. He runs several different projects as a leader, and his musical interests range from the contemporary musica da camera to jazz classics and free jazz, employing oriental scales along with free improvised music."



Los Angeles Jazz Scene, California :

"In the 1960s and early '70s, ESP was one of the most important of the avant-garde jazz labels. It documented many of jazz's most advanced improvisers (including Albert Ayler, Patty Waters and Paul Bley) in innovative performances. During the past few years ESP has been reborn. In addition to its reissues, ESP has been recording new music that would have fit in well during its prime period. The Uppercut teams together pianist Matthew Shipp with Mat Walerian (...) Their ten selections, all originals, are notable not only for the adventurous playing but for the mood variations, the use of space and the constant interplay between the musicians. The duo's dynamic performances are full of subtle surprises and unexpected moments (...) an excellent outing for both of the players. - Scott Yanow [about project The Uppercut]



Arts Journal, Seattle :

"His adventurism ranges far and he occasionally makes harsh sounds, but Polish reed artist Mat Walerian ultimately projects a calming effect not often found in avant garde music (...) A piece called “One For” suggests intimate familiarity with the chance-taking of John Coltrane’s later groups. The album has no visual aspect except in the mind of the listener. If that mind is open, it may take the advice expressed in the title of the last track, “Sit Back, Relax and Watch.” - Doug Ramsey [about project Jungle]



The Big Takeover, New York :

"Mat Walerian, the last artist to be approved for ESP-DISK by the late Bernard Stollman, returns with a sophomore collaboration ... that recalls the classic sound of the legendary label (...) this performance finds the musicians in a perfect fluid zen where music arises purely from air, space and inspiration (...) his saxophone a constant stream of energy, while later on he adopts the expansive, breathy tones of Pharoah Sanders and even some Ornette Coleman experimentalism. Together, the trio builds a city of sound, hot and bustling at times, yet cool and peaceful when no one is looking." - Chuck Foster [about project Jungle]



The Big Takeover, New York :

"Heralded pianist Matthew Shipp and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Mat Walerian team up for their third recording as a core unit, this time with legendary bassist William Parker (...) sparse soundscape recalling Sun Ra’s more stripped-down work, a reference that continues throughout the sessions (...) push things even further into ‘60s territory (...) Walerian teeters between Ornette Coleman experimentalism and John Coltrane beauty (...) It’s all the magic you’d expect from such a powerful trio." - Chuck Foster [about project Toxic]



The Soundtrack Of My Life, Israel :

"Walerian emerges as one of the most versatile and virtuosic players in the Free Jazz / Improvised Music genre. His rapport with the genre´s veterans is almost hard to believe and sounds as if they have been playing together for ages. His ability to create a wide range of atmospheres and moods, his usage of a range of instruments and last but not least his ability to write subtle melodic lines, which than serve as vehicles for collective improvisation is nothing short of extraordinary. The music, although obviously free spirited and unbounded, is also surprisingly calm and relaxed, and always carries a melodic subtext (...) dichotomy between intellectual freedom of creation and aesthetic oneness creates a wonderful tension, which lifts this music way above the “usual” free form musical encounters (...) This wonderful music is simply beautiful as music, regardless of the way it is delivered (...) joint venture between the trio members, which in this case works out like a dream (...) In many respects this is similar to McCoy Tyner´s playing behind John Coltrane during the heydays of the Quartet (...) wonderful example of contemporary Art of music, a manifestation of human ingenuity and talent of rare significance. Obviously this album deserves to be heard by as many music connoisseurs as possible, who will be blessed by its significance if let into their hearts." - Adam Baruch [about project Jungle]



The Soundtrack of My Life, Israel :

"Walerian emerges triumphantly as a virtuoso performer, with original ideas and a complete command of his instruments. His playing immediately earns him respect and admiration from connoisseurs of the genre and of course anticipation for his new projects (...) rare and beautiful example of avant-garde music, which transfers well to record, retaining its spirit and intimacy, which is often present live but gets lost when turned into a record. The music is incredibly fresh and inviting (...) offers a strong melodic content, which makes it accessible to a much wider audiences ... This music is fully harmonious and inspirational, a true example of the "Art of the Duo" idea. Overall this is one of the best avant-garde albums I listened to lately ... An absolute delight!" - Adam Baruch [about project The Uppercut]



The Soundtrack of My Life, Israel :

"Walerian seems to have found a niche on the NY avant-garde scene, where he is respected by fellow American musicians (...) His obvious talents and diverse musical facets, which Walerian presents while playing an array of instruments, allow him to create minimalistic introvert music, which is rich in its sound palette and emotional scale, like very few other contemporary avant-garde projects (...) Walerian is always beautifully focused and intrinsically melodic, which enables him to develop a very tight interaction with his listeners, being completely nonaggressive and always profoundly focused (...) The level of interplay between the trio members is phenomenal and they often function like one body / one mind in spite of their individual personalities (...) Walerian plays fluently, as always, with great technical skill on all the instruments, but more importantly he is able to create a constant musical plane, which is then stretched and supported by his cohorts. This is Improvised Music at its best, which can be listened to time and time again, every time with new discoveries at hand. I have actually listened to this music three times in a row, each time concentrating my attention on one player, and only later listened to it as a whole; quite a journey of discovery it was (...) I hope more musicians will follow in that direction, not only to learn, but perhaps even more importantly to teach other musicians what avant-garde really means." - Adam Baruch [about project Toxic]



ShanleyOnMusic, Pittsburgh :

"This is an album where the line between improvisation and composition blurs, due in part to the way the two communicate (...) Walerian's clarinets create some of the album's finest moments (...) they nearly stretch out into a chamber music duo. [about project The Uppercut]



Jazz Right Now, New York :

"Jungle, an allstar trio (...) Calm and meditative one moment, ecstatic and free the next, Live at Okuden is a strong and impressive offering from three experienced veterans (...) The music is infused with a deeply spiritual and meditative air (...) soft and tentatively melodic character, reminiscent of traditional Japanese devotional music (...) increases in intensity, with the trio rolling over into an avalanche of wailing fury and purifying fire. Slipped in between the walls of ferocity Walerian slides in to lead the piece’s softer sections with his bright, dexterous alto sax lines (...) egoless approach to collective improvisation. Each player expresses a unique, individual voice while allowing space for their compatriots (...) Jungle trio is heavy with a sense of tension and spiritual drama. Walerian’s screaming and looping alto sax and Shipp’s harmonically dense and cluttered piano calling to mind the music found in 60’s and early 70’s work of Pharoah Sanders’ ... fiery yet thoughtful spirit music " - John Morrison [about project Jungle]



paulsemel.com, New York :

"What makes everything on Live at Okuden work, and well, is not just the interplay between Walerian, Shipp, and Drake — who lock together like they’ve been together for years — but also their strengths as individuals (...) it’s Walerian who seems to brings out the best in his coworkers by playing with the kind of skill, care, and style that Jimmy Giuffre had when he, pianist Paul Bley, and bassist Steve Swallow recorded Fusion and Thesis as the Jimmy Giuffre 3 (...) Still, this second album called Live at Okuden is ultimately just as strong as the first, which is saying a lot given how the the first has become one of my favorite jazz albums, and is the most unique jazz album I’d heard since 1998’s." - Paul Semel [about project Jungle]



Tiny Mix Tapes, Minneapolis :

“Okuden isn’t so much a place as a state of mind … A place where the heaviest of the heavy current giants of jazz convene to lay out some of the most epic jams.” - Marty Slattery [about project Jungle]



Dusty Groove, Chicago :

“The reed work of Mat Walerian really warms up the piano of Matthew Shipp here (...) as Mat provides these beautiful lines on alto, bass clarinet, flute, and soprano clarinet – which have a resonant quality that really seems to open up Shipp’s music too! We've really moved back towards enjoying Shipp in recent years and the sense of persona in records like this is a good reason why - almost a renewed soul that we haven't heard in years, unlocked in the right setting like this." [about project The Uppercut]



Dusty Groove, Chicago :

"A new recording for the legendary ESP label – and one that definitely continues in the best tradition of their avant jazz sides from the 60s and 70s! (...) coming together in space that’s often open, and quite spiritual – maybe directed a bit more in the spirit of Walerian’s style, in a way that makes for some especially compelling sounds." [about project Jungle]



Dusty Groove, Chicago :

"Work from a trio we'd hardly want to call toxic - as their sound has a deep sympathy and spiritual core that we find more healing than poisonous! (...) The players easily shift between melodic explorations and more darkly-textured passages." [about project Toxic]



Dusty Groove, Chicago :

"Really beautiful sounds from pianist Matthew Ship and a very well-chosen quartet ... The music is often moody and slow-building – almost a noir take on avant jazz, with this current of melancholy ... There's a beautiful balance between freedom and structure in the performance – qualities that all the musicians are very well-suited to express – and the whole thing is surprisingly powerful, at a level that we really didn't expect." [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



What's On Kiev, Ukraine :

"The modern face of jazz appears before your very eyes, and ears, this month, thanks to two huge names in the biz, Matthew Shipp and Mat Walerian, and their M-Theory Project (...) What that means for his music, however, is an improvised yet modern take on nearly all genres. Together, their M-Theory Project is “fantastic music, worth getting and listening to for any price!" - [about project the Uppercut]



(Free) Jazz Alchemist :

"Walerian‘s playing is rooted in the early free-jazz, with heavy echoes of bluesy tone. His lines can be jazzy in the spirit of post-bop as well as angular and abstract, he goes for more direct approach on alto, while searching for more sonic shades on bass clarinet. He tends for modest and minimal, selecting carefully the means of his expression ... his playing (is) warm, very melodic, while not being afraid of some tone and timbre explorations. Fresh and inspiring is the contrast between the free-jazz boiling section behind him and his cool, thoughtful lines and very jazz phraseology, moving from blues, bebop, free-bop up to some not too extreme free improv."



All About Jazz, US :

"Mat Walerian is on the verge of reserving his seat in the pantheon of groundbreaking hornmen who recorded for the late Bernard Stollman's storied ESP-Disk' label. Not as frenetic as Frank Wright, nor as strident as Sonny Simmons, Walerian instead boasts a singular approach that binds Eastern influence and blues sensibility with fluent, legato phrasing, often reminiscent of Marion Brown's lyrical finesse. His first two live recordings exquisitely captured Walerian's idiosyncratic sound and aptitude for holding his own while in the presence of musical giants (...) As a result, album harbors the stirring music of a collective entity whose unfettered mode of expression reaffirms the album's self-assured title (...) tranquil flute and shakuhachi interplay that fabricates a sonic torrent as changeable as wind (...) Backed by the organ's sustained, velvety tone, Walerian's impassioned bass clarinet playing shines, solidifying this slow-burning track as perhaps the most ravishing of the whole. In sum, distinct musical voices amalgamate with a shared objective of unity to create uncompromisingly beautiful music. At its simplest, an inspired album that validates its label's long-running motto: "You never heard such sounds in your life." - Matthew Aquiline [about project Toxic]



All About Jazz, US :

"(...) shared deference and camaraderie in this free-spirited outing allows for an appreciation of even the slightest details and distinctions - elements that can easily be lost in such an open setting (...) pieces cover a lot of musical territories (...) melodies are more episodic; the abstraction more in the forefront (...) Walerian on clarinet employing extended techniques (...) on alto, bursts in with a fiery improvisation (...) all-hands amalgams of bebop and free playing (...) The reedist's playing is inventive, even at its most subtle (...) perplexing, interesting and spirited" - Karl Ackermann [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



All Music, one of the definitive music sources online :

"(...) framework of dialogic expression, a music of ideas communicated, exchanged, and put forth directly and intimately ... smoky, bluesy atmosphere (...) skeletal chord voicings accompanied by Walerian's dark alto ... alternating between shadowy Ellingtonia and striated Monk harmonics with lush surprises between (...) Walerian's clarinet soulfully stretching the blues frame to the margin without dissembling it ... expansive, angular, and at times otherworldly (...) spontaneous contrapuntal statements ... exuding a mutant swing (...) work fluctuates via tensions that involve everything from modal and free improvisation; it never loses its focus or relents in its tension, building drive until it reaches its stated intent as a fingerpopping, angular, 21st century re-imagining of bop (...) marks a new phase ... shared multivalent lingual space where musical equations are stated, re-examined, and ultimately balanced before they emerge as a new sonic terrain." - Thom Jurek [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Downbeat Music Magazine, US :

"Shipp feeding Walerian spikey chords to sail over on alto saxophone (...) Ellington influenced solo piano by Shipp before he gives way to a conversational duet between Bisio's bass and Walerian's clarinet, which he plays with a keening kind of conviction (...) travels from a tempestuous duet between piano and saxophone to a turbulent trio among saxophone, piano and bass, closing on a simpatico note with a flexible, free-boppish excursion by the full quartet" - Bill Milkowski [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Downtown Music Gallery, New York :

"Mr. Walerian, often plays with a good deal of restraint and thoughtful consideration, bringing out a side to Matt Shipp that we don’t often hear (...) good deal of dreaminess going on, slow, suspense-filled, delicate, hypnotic, spacious (...) moody vibe, with Walerian coaxing out soft, slightly-bent notes on his clarinet ... Walerian on solo clarinet, carefully playing each note as it it were his last, making every note/sound count (...) Listening to this disc at home without distraction, it make more sense, like telling an interesting story. It feels just right on the second sunny day after a long, cold winter." - Bruce Lee Gallanter [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Jazz Trail, New York :

"(...) With Bisio and Dickey assuring a firm foundation, Shipp and Walerian ascend the stairway to the stars, putting their eminent rapport at the service of another impressive release (...) tracks that explore mood through different sonic possibilities ... intimate, dramatic, and often mysterious musical setting ... shows the musicians’ respect for the blues genre and the enormous talent to bring it in spontaneously with a unique, visionary approach (...) may comfort or disquiet you. Expect striking action-reaction between Shipp and Walerian (...) abundant rhythmic ideas packed with crisp accents and no apparent regard to form are constantly thrown in ... the increase/release of tension is constantly fed (...) Embracing a groovy atmosphere, it nearly enters free-bop zones." - Filipe Freitas [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Music and More, US :

"This is an excellent album of modern jazz (...) has a sense of melodic grace, as notes and chords ring and resonant in the air ... meditative nature of the music intact (...) The music is fast paced and alert, careening forward in a compelling fashion (...) muscular piano colliding with the active bass and drums building deeply coherent energy ... musicians play steep and fast, energetic ... saxophonist joins them about halfway through and takes things to a thrilling new level (...) The quartet plays thoughtfully, carving space within which to improvise, at times dense and passionate, while also blooming into open space, with the saxophone and piano leading the way, adding some excellent further depth and variety to the music, even dropping into some deeply swinging freebop sections." - Tim Niland [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Something Else Reviews, US :

"(...) vastly talented and original Walerian ... an alto sax that uniquely speaks in a familiar, traditional tongue but also reaching for notes outside the traditional realm (...) shows up sporting a clarinet. And he’s playing with a fervent blues connotation that commands such respect (...) With the familiarity and the telepathy that results from that already built-in everywhere else, this wasn’t going to be a steep learning curve (...) best exemplifies how well Walerian has made himself at home within Shipp’s trio to make it a true quartet (...) What is remarkable is how they are able to maintain their own distinctive voices concurrently, never colliding into each other (...) Walerian responds with the leader, finding harmony in the jazz heritage they both deeply respect (...) With the singularly outsized saxophone and clarinet personality of Mat Walerian in the mix, Matthew Shipp has found a plenty good justification for going back to a quartet." - S. Victor Aaaron [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Spectrum Culture, US :

"(...) clarinet that bends notes often as the trio works atmospherics on the canvas. He plays with superb control even when he is using “extended techniques” to overblow, squeak, or play split tones (...) frenetic but light on their feet ... growling and smearing the blues, then they are OUT again ... gloriously deep, playing blues licks that finally bottom out to a way low note (...) Bisio and Walerian follow with a blues duet, bass clarinet bending notes and hunting for 12-bar style chord changes that never quite come. They sound great together, listening constantly and dueling with casual grace ... more conventional quartet performances as well ... pure group improvisation, with each member finding their place in a stop-start kind of groove." - Will Layman [about project Matthew Shipp Quartet feat. Mat Walerian]



Polish Jazz Recordings and Beyond, reference work :


JUNGLE : Mat Walerian Matthew Shipp Hamid Drake :

"Jungle is incomparable to anything else (...) it is an artistic achievement of the highest possible standard (...) His understanding and synergy with the other members of the trio, his expression and dynamism, richness of sound, technique combined with sensitivity are unbelievable and out of this world. On top if you ask me who does he remind, my answer is he reminds the most Chicagoan sound of... Mat Walerian (...) One hour and forty minutes of pure delight. Obviously, Shipp and Drake belong the best free jazz musicians in their categories in the world. I dare to say that Walerian too (...) one can feel the spirit of John Coltrane, and indeed the music belongs clearly to the post-Coltrane tradition

(...) such a recording of one or one and a half hour long concert, that is a continuous and uniform flow of beauty, intensity and expression is not a frequent thing in the jazz history.

The examples that come to my mind, and this is not an exaggeration in any sense, are : John Coltrane's "The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (...) If we ignore the beauty aspect, and focus on the strength of expression only the appropriate association is to John Coltrane's "Live at Seattle" with John Coltrane on soprano and tenor, Pharoah Sanders on tenor McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums and Donald Garrett on bass clarinet and bass. It is hard to talk about the culmination of this recordings - they provide an never ending culmination indeed." - Maciej Lewenstein



THE UPPERCUT : Matthew Shipp Mat Walerian :

"(project) indeed strongly based on the idea of total unification (...) artistic unity of unprecedented intensity. This is evidently one of the best Polish jazz recordings of the last 20 years. To some extend the music reminds a little the late experiments of Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley (...) the over 15 minutes long suite is clearly a masterpiece (...) amazing chemical bonds between the two musicians and their mutual understanding and unity (...) Walerian is back on bass clarinet. The piece is breathtaking. It is not only virtuoso piece in the technical sense (...) Walerian proves that he is one of the best bass clarinetist around, and he shows also his mastery on Bb clarinet and flute (...) As a whole, this set is a true masterpiece and super important recording not only for Polish jazz!!!" - Maciej Lewenstein



SAINTHUNTER : Mat Walerian Tim Dahl Hamid Drake :

"The group continues strongly with "Just Drop It In New Orleans", with clear blues and traditional jazz inspirations. Walerian starts on Bb clarinet and evoking the tradition of the best genuine clarinetists - from Benny Goodman, through Jimmy Giuffre to Europeans : Luis Sclavis, Michel Portal. The Force, Energy and Synergy are again there, and are just breathtaking." - Maciej Lewenstein