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Take Five With Matt Ridley

Take Five With Matt Ridley
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Meet Matt Ridley:
I graduated from Trinity College of Music in Greenwich, London in 2005 and have been a full time bassist since then. Music has taken me all around the world and I've been very privileged to perform regularly with some of the finest jazz musicians in UK like Jason Yarde
Jason Yarde
Jason Yarde

saxophone
, John Turville
John Turville
John Turville
b.1979
piano
, and George Hart who were on my debut album, Thymos (Whirlwind, 2013).

I also produced a record with the MJQ Celebration, which plays the music of the Modern Jazz Quartet and features Jim Hart
Jim Hart
Jim Hart

vibraphone
, Dave O'Higgins, Barry Greene
Barry Greene
b.1961
guitar, electric
, and Steve Brown
Steve Brown
Steve Brown
b.1890
. We are currently touring the UK and our record is due for release this April.

I'm also busy as a sideman with various bands including gigs with Darius Brubeck
Darius Brubeck
Darius Brubeck
b.1947
piano
(Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
1920 - 2012
piano
's son) and gigs with a world music band led Attab Haddad.

Instrument(s):
Double bass and bass guitar.

Teachers and/or influences?
Most recently I studied with Michael Janisch
Michael Janisch
Michael Janisch
b.1979
bass
. I've also had extensive lessons with Andrew Cleyndert, Steve Watts
Steve Watts
Steve Watts
b.1961
, and classical double bass lessons with Kevin Rundell, Corin Long, and Jani Pensola. I also studied briefly with John Patitucci
John Patitucci
John Patitucci
b.1959
bass
and Drew Gress
Drew Gress
Drew Gress
b.1959
bass
when I spent some time in New York in 2008.

As far as influences, I would say all of the famous guys have their own sounds, which have been inspirational, but the guys I've transcribed the most are Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers
1935 - 1969
bass, acoustic
, Ray Brown
Ray Brown
Ray Brown
1926 - 2002
bass, acoustic
, Larry Grenadier
Larry Grenadier
Larry Grenadier
b.1966
bass
, and Scott LaFaro
Scott LaFaro
Scott LaFaro
1936 - 1961
bass
.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I played along to recordings of the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was 15.

Your sound and approach to music:
I like to make a big, fat, punchy bass sound. My compositional approach is informed by classical music and aims to reconcile the differences between these different philosophies.

Your teaching approach:
I think that technique is an often overlooked aspect of double bass playing; even some busy professional bass players have lousy technique. After the fundamentals have been addressed, I encourage students to become flexible and develop a sound that is unique to them so that they can sound good and confident in any musical situation.

Your dream band:
I would love to play with Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
b.1945
piano
and Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
Kenny Wheeler
b.1930
trumpet
. If it were possible to bring back John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
and Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
I would love to play with them too!

Realistically speaking, all I could ask for is to have a group of really talented and amazing individuals who would be up for making an effort to get inside my tunes, push me while pushing themselves, and to be committed to making the band the best it can be. Oh wait, I have that already.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
One of the most bizarre and random things that happened was to be booked as a trio to play at a ceremony of a cult who worshipped the banana—yeah, for real. Waiting to play whilst the leader of the cult recited some liturgy about the banana ("The skin is mighty but the flesh is mightier!") and he and all the folks at the ceremony were standing around with banana skins on their heads. Truth really is stranger than fiction...

Favorite venue:
The Capstone Theatre in Liverpool has an amazing piano and sound crew. The venue staff are also super nice and very generous with their hospitality.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I'm really proud of my album, Thymos. I'm really chuffed with how it sounds, how I played, how everyone else played! I also love the MJQ Celebration record, which is a totally different vibe, but it's just so fun, I love it. Be hard pressed to choose between them both!

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
, Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959).

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I'm being really genuine and true to myself while writing and playing music that has charisma.

Did you know...
I put a video on YouTube of me making an espresso at home (something I take pride in). I was surprised when the video went viral and now has approximately 62,000 views!

CDs you are listening to now:
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, Without a Net (Blue Note, 2013);
Vijay Iyer
Vijay Iyer
Vijay Iyer
b.1971
piano
, Accelerando (Act, 2012);
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
b.1965
sax, tenor
, Dharma Days (Warner, 2001);
Nikki Iles
Nikki Iles
Nikki Iles
- 2012
piano
, Hush (Babel, 2012);
Aruan Ortiz
Aruan Ortiz
Aruan Ortiz
b.1973
piano
and Michael Janisch
Michael Janisch
Michael Janisch
b.1979
bass
Quintet, Banned in London (Whirlwind Recordings).

Desert Island picks:
Kenny Wheeler, Gnu High (ECM, 1976);
Keith Jarrett, Bye Bye Blackbird (ECM, 1993);
Miles Davis, My Funny Valentine: Miles Davis in Concert (Columbia, 1965);
And pretty much anything from Trane.

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