Guitarist and composer Matthew Stevens released Preverbal, his second album as a bandleader, on March 24, 2017. The record is a visceral statement, a kinetic exploration of harmony and rhythm driven by Stevens’s masterful playing and singular melding of elements of experimental, jazz, and rock. The album blooms and disintegrates over eight original songs that are immersive and muscular, dark and joyous. Preverbal was recorded with Stevens’s core band of Eric Doob on drums and Vicente Archer 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.”
Stevens’s sophomore album as bandleader comes on the heels of a big 2016: he played an integral role in the recording and sound of Esperanza Spalding’s Emily’s D+Evolution—one of the best albums of the year—and toured the globe as part of her power trio. He also has collaborated extensively with Christian Scott, acting as his musical director, performing on all of his recordings, and composing music. Preverbal is the fully realized vision of this in-demand collaborator and bandmate, the culmination of a decade spent lending an important voice to his many projects and being a bandleader.