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Matt Renzi: Between the Lines

By Published: August 11, 2009

AAJ: Do you take more chances on sax?

Matt RenziMR: Definitely. I've been playing it longer and it's an easier instrument to get around on.

AAJ: For example, on "Pula Paradise," you seemed to play more inside the lines...almost politely. Was that more due to the song itself, or the way you approach that instrument?

MR: Both. "Pula Paradise" is a pretty inside, mellow tune, so I tried to stick with that mood. It just wouldn't make sense to screech on that tune. It was also written with clarinet in mind.

AAJ: Was your trio with you in Europe recently or do you work with other musicians once you leave New York?

MR: Apart from an occasional tour here and there with the trio, I usually work with other musicians as a sideman when I leave New York. This summer, though, my trio is coming over to Italy with me to play a couple concerts. I also bring them out to the West Coast every couple years if I can.

AAJ: How is your music received in Europe and Asia?

MR: We did a tour in Japan a while back all over the north as well as in Tokyo, Yokohama, and it was well received. Europe seems to be pretty receptive to our music as well.

AAJ: What do you like about Systems Two and did you use a producer on Lunch Special?

MR: Systems Two is fantastic! They get amazing sounds and they're foolin' around. I didn't use a producer on Lunch Special. I knew what I wanted to do and how to go about doing it, so I didn't feel the need for one (and couldn't afford to get one even if I did).

AAJ: As the producer of Lunch Special, how involved did you get in the mixing, mastering and studio setup?

MR: I've always gone into Systems Two on a tight budget. For this recording we had to do the whole CD in about 6-7 hours. The engineers (Mike and Joe Marciano) have always done a great job over the years I've used them, so I didn't have to bring another engineer in. We had time for two takes for most of the tunes, and some were done in even one take.

I was also involved in the mastering process, but again, there was very little to do. With a sax trio, it was a pretty easy set-up.

AAJ: What do you currently have in the works?

MR: The trio is going to record again this fall, I've got a whole new batch of music ready to go. I've also got a new project consisting of clarinet, viola, cello, drums, percussion and have been writing a lot of music for that. We had our first gig in June and it went well. The last thing (if I can get a label interested enough to fund it) is a string quartet with my trio. I've already got the four movements written and will probably arrange a couple of more tunes to make a full length CD.

Selected Discography

Matt Renzi, Lunch Special (Three P's, 2009)

Matt Renzi, The Cave (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005)
Matt Renzi, Road to Angkor (Tone of a Pitch, 2004)
Matt Renzi, Road to Angkor (Tone of a Pitch, 2004)
Matt Renzi, Dream Life (Live) (Fresh Sound, 2001)
Matt Renzi, Lines and Ballads (Fresh Sound, 1999)
Matt Renzi/Jimmy Weinstein Quartet, Matt Renzi/Jimmy Weinstein Quartet with Ben Monder and Chris Higgins (Fresh Sound, 1998)

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Matt Renzi

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