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Take Five With...

Take Five With Matt Slocum

By Published: April 14, 2010
Meet Matt Slocum:

"Matt Slocum's multicolored traps—at times forceful or delicate, creatively painting varied tempos with the essence of swing—define the drummer's debut, Portraits. Hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota, Slocum's introduction carries forward the torch of patriarchs Max Roach
Max Roach
Max Roach
1925 - 2007
drums
and Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
amongst others, but he also carves out his own rhythmic patterns with young contemporaries such as Eric Harland
Eric Harland
Eric Harland
b.1976
drums
and Johnathan Blake. Present day jazz is clearly not stagnate in the very good hands (and sticks) of Matt Slocum, a young drummer who plays with empathy and verve." Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz

Instrument(s):

Drums and cymbals.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Peter Erskine
Peter Erskine
Peter Erskine
b.1954
drums
, Phil Hey, Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
b.1948
drums
, John Clayton
John Clayton
John Clayton
b.1952
bass, acoustic
, Alan Pasqua
Alan Pasqua
Alan Pasqua

piano
, Shelly Berg
Shelly Berg
Shelly Berg

piano
.

Your sound and approach to music:

My favorite painter is Kandinsky. He understood and dealt with the balance, shades, and harmonic relationships of colors in a way that can inspire our musical approach as improvisers and composers. He was quoted as saying something along the lines of, "There is no must in art because art is free." As obvious as this seems, it is far too rarely the case. This is why hearing an artist Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
is so refreshing. We don't know what's going to happen! But this approach doesn't even require an exceptionally "open" musical framework like those with which Mr. Motian is often associated. Even within a given stylistic context- for instance hearing Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
b.1958
drums
or Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson
b.1964
drums
play a "straight-ahead" gig- the art can still be free, music of the moment, within that medium. I think that, as simple as this seems, it is something inspiring to work towards.

Your dream band:

Dream band, well... perhaps:

1. Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
b.1966
drums
.

2. Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
b.1926
drums
.

3. Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
b.1958
drums
.

Some artists that I really enjoy playing with

The gentlemen on the new record Portraits, (Chandra),- Massimo Biolcati
Massimo Biolcati
Massimo Biolcati
b.1972
bass
, Gerald Clayton, Jaleel Shaw
Jaleel Shaw
Jaleel Shaw
b.1978
sax, alto
, Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
b.1980
sax, tenor
, Dayna Stephens
Dayna Stephens
Dayna Stephens

sax, tenor
.

Some artists who have inspired me and I would like to work with: Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
, Peter Bernstein
Peter Bernstein
Peter Bernstein
b.1967
guitar
, Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Joe Locke
Joe Locke
Joe Locke
b.1959
vibraphone
, Lage Lund
Lage Lund
Lage Lund

guitar
, Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
b.1943
piano
, Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch
Fred Hersch
b.1955
piano
, Mike Moreno
Mike Moreno
Mike Moreno

guitar
, Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
Bill Charlap
b.1966
piano
, Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
, Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings
b.1968
keyboard
, Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
b.1970
guitar
, Tom Harrell
Tom Harrell
Tom Harrell
b.1946
trumpet
, Bruce Barth
Bruce Barth
Bruce Barth
b.1958
piano
.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

There were three:

Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
, Cookin with the Miles Davis Quintet;

Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
1930 - 1956
trumpet
, Study in Brown;

and of course Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
1917 - 1987
drums
, Rich Versus Roach

Did you know...

My favorite trail race is the Mt. Wilson Trail Race in Sierra Madre, CA

CDs you are listening to now:

Danny Grissett, Encounters (Criss-Cross);

Kendrick Scott
Kendrick Scott
Kendrick Scott
b.1980
drums
, Reverence (Criss-Cross);

Maurice Ravel, Ma mere l'oye;

Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
b.1980
sax, tenor
, Live in Paris (Space Time Records);

Inga Swearingen
Inga Swearingen

vocalist
, First Rain (Rhythome).

Desert Island picks:

This is way too hard. I mean, we have 160GB iPods now, right? I can't make it a closed list, but it would definitely have to include:

Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs;

Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
, Sunday at the Village Vanguard;

Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
b.1926
drums
, Out of the Afternoon;

... and many more.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Full of possibilities. Like any serious art form in the US, however, it is a challenge to sustain a large audience outside of major metropolitan areas.

What is in the near future?

Just wrapped up the CD release tour dates for the new record Portraits featuring Massimo Biolcati
Massimo Biolcati
Massimo Biolcati
b.1972
bass
, Gerald Clayton and special guests Jaleel Shaw
Jaleel Shaw
Jaleel Shaw
b.1978
sax, alto
, Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III
b.1980
sax, tenor
and Dayna Stephens
Dayna Stephens
Dayna Stephens

sax, tenor
. Then, back into sideman mode in and out of NY for the next few months. A lot of practicing and writing. Later this year, there may be a live record focusing mostly on standards released under my name. In 2011, there will be a new studio recording documenting more of my original compositions.

By Day:

Practicing, writing, listening, running, teaching drum students, riding my road bike, as well as spending time with friends.


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Download jazz mp3 “Ghost Dance” by Matt Slocum