Preverbal is a visceral statement, a kinetic exploration of harmony and rhythm driven by Stevens’ masterful playing and singular melding of elements of experimental, jazz and rock. The album blooms and disintegrates over 8 original songs that are immersive and muscular, dark and joyous. Preverbal was recorded with Stevens’ core band of Eric Doob on drums and Vicente Archer on bass, plus synthesizer and deft touches of sound manipulation and studio craft. It also features a soaring guest vocal appearance from Esperanza Spalding on album closer “Our Reunion.”
release date: march 24, 2017
About Matthew Stevens
Born in Toronto in 1982, one of Stevens’ earliest influences was Jimi Hendrix. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2004, Stevens began to show up everywhere, as an essential element of the important new work by strong young artists like Christian Scott, Terri Lyne Carrington, ERIMAJ, Sean Jones, Walter Smith III, Linda Oh and, notably, Esperanza Spalding, in whose Emily’s D+Evolution project Stevens is key.
His playing has been met with critical acclaim: In 2016 DownBeat Magazine included Stevens in their 25 For the Future issue and placed him in the top five of their Annual Critics Poll Rising Star Guitar Category. His performances have been continually lauded in DownBeat Magazine, NPR, PopMatters, Billboard, the New York Times, the Guardian, and more.
In 2015, he released his debut album as a bandleader under Whirlwind Recordings/Crystal Math. Titled Woodwork, it received enthusiastic reviews from DownBeat Magazine, The Kansas City Star, The Ottawa Citizen, Jazz Wise Magazine, Jazz Times Magazine, The Irish Time, Jay Z's Life and Times and more, and was described as “an amalgamation of modern jazz and neo-fusion elements which showcase…sonic versatility and savvy producing chops” in LA Weekly. Its iTunes feature review praises Stevens’ “immense melodic gifts and deceptively intricate playing.