Sun Signs Reviews
Monique diMattina’s last album Welcome Stranger..put the focus squarely on her vocal performance in a program of original alt-pop songs. While diMattina’s piano playing took a backseat on that project, it is certainly back to the fore in her latest release, Sun Signs.
diMattina has crafted a suite of pieces that are diverse in tempo, tonality and character. Throughout we are treated to diMattina’s exquisite touch and tone. This is not an album for those who seek flamboyant displays of pianistic technique. While there is never any doubt that she possesses considerable chops, the emphasis is on subtlety, grace and nuance. Each delicate phrase is perfectly placed on the rhythmic matrix. While the influences are there for all to see (Corea, Jarrett, Evans and Jamal – Debussy also raises his head, particularly on The Scales and The Twins) diMattina avoids pastiche by bringing something of her own to each performance. She has the knack of creating melodies that seem inevitable, yet turn in surprising directions. It’s clear that, whilst she is not ashamed of showing her influences, diMattina is a mature artist who has assimilated the tradition into her unique and singular identity. Sun Signs is a beautiful album. Highly recommended.
Aaron Searle -Music Forum: Journal of the Music Council of Australia, winter 2012
Welcome Stranger Reviews
Sophisticated and playful
Dave Graney, 3RRR
Sweetly wry…Livingest Place is surely the nicest and slyest ‘Melbourne-v-Sydney’ song, ever.
Doug Spencer – ABC Radio National
She sings New Orleans stompers as confidently as she sings supple, tiny lullabies; this is an album with room for both and more. I like it. It feels as though it’s about us and from the place we live.
If you like Norah Jones.. you’ll groove with a glass of red on a chaise lounge while listening to Monique diMattina. She’s laid back, funky, and can cook with the best of ‘em. Even better, she’s home grown. With the ‘Welcome Stranger’ tag for the title, I reckon we’ve struck gold.
Melb. Uni ‘The Box’ 2011
From French bohemian to dedicated blues to sweet lullabies, Welcome Stranger is bound to win you over one way or another.
Tiffany Bridger - Rave Magazine – Brisbane Street Press
Welcome Stranger 4/5 - For her second album a mix of jazz, pop, blues, New Orleans funk, Monique diMattina has assembled a versatile band (bass, drums, guitar, accordion) that compliment her piano on songs that deal with love, domestic violence, courage and resilience, sung in her gentle Blossom Dearie meets Rickie Lee jones voice. Highlights include an instrumental reinvention of Paul Kelly’s Dumb Things.
Billy Pinnell – JB Magazine
Timeless piano dreams and improvisations – the thinking person’s zen escape.
The Village Voice, NYC
Beautiful, spacious, spare.
Lucky Oceans, ABC Daily Planet
Atmospheric, thoughtful. Calm notes with a sharp intelligence.
Sue Roberts, BBC Radio 4
Cherishing each note she plays and the spaces between them.
Doug Spencer, ABC The Planet
Julia Lester, ABC Classic FM Drive
Derek Guille, ABC 774 3LO
Delicate, calm, contemplative – to be played while reclining on the couch daydreaming.
Mary Downes, Herald Sun
This exquisite recording is a wonderful example of the creative spirit in the music of Monique diMattina. It is enhanced by a tone, touch and sensitivity at the keyboard which can only be found in artists of high caliber. A beautiful listening experience.
Dr Tony Gould, Dean, VCA School of Music
Reviews & Press
For the second time in two weeks, audiences have farewelled a respected member of Melbourne’s jazz community. Hot on the heels of Alison Wedding’s departure for New York, Monique diMattina gave her final performance on Sunday before relocating to the same city. Paris Cat was brimming for diMattina’s farewell gig, the venue perfectly suited to her intimate performance style. For most of the evening, the singer-pianist was joined by Andy Baylor, whose subtle guitar underlined the relaxed warmth of diMattina’s songs. It’s only in recent months that diMattina has begun singing in public. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear her clear, light voice sliding easily across each melody with a sweetly seductive feel that reminded me of Norah Jones. The songs were mostly original, borrowing from early jazz and folk styles and often pinned to an unhurried, bluesy swagger. The evening’s highlight was a bracket of solo instrumentals from diMattina’s new album, Senses. The pianist began with an extended improvisation consisting almost entirely of fast flowing ripples, creating a sense of movement that was by turns soothing and dramatic. The rushing water then subsided into a pool of quiet lyricism, almost hymnal in its beauty (Species), before segueing into a gentle waltz (Zephyr) that rocked back and forth like a shadowy lullaby. diMattina then performed two more vocal numbers with Baylor: a sashaying Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? And a zinging, toe-tapping I’m Old Fashioned. As an encore, they were joined by singer Nichaud Fitzgibbon for some impromptu blues where diMattina dug into the keyboard with earthy fervour and Fitzgibbon would the song’s slow-burn grove into a marvellously rich, gospel infused finale.
Jessica Nicholas THE AGE Wednesday June 6, 2007
Monique diMattina’s piano… best exemplifies what it is that is so good about this album. There is always something happening, be it front and centre or off to the side…
Lee Howard, HERALD SUN, on Elwood Records release ‘The Braves’, Oct 2004
diMattina’s passion for the music is palpable. Serenely comfortable with her instrument and also with her collaborators, her comping was deft and interesting – both supportive of their ideas and suggestive of new directions. I found her playing entrancing, a style that draws you along…
Kerry Hempenstall, ‘Aus.Jazz App.Soc.’
Exquisite, unaccompanied solos… Hymn-like compositions…
Jessica Nicholas, THE AGE
Pianist Monique diMattina presented a polished repertoire of original material delivered with grace and professionalism. Monique has a strong yet gentle touch that evokes great passion. She sketches an atmosphere that quickly puts you inside the piece.
Lynette Irwin for Sounds Australian