Andre Matos: Fantasies Realized


Sign in to view read count
There is no doubt that André Matos has chops to burn. Placed firmly in the tradition of John Abercrombie and Pat Martino, with a bit of Sonny Sharrock at moments, a lot of Berklee (College of Music) influence is readily apparent, but with a bit of headiness that also reflects the guitarist's time at the New England Conservatory. Quare (2010), released on saxophonist Greg Osby's record Inner Circle Music label, serves as a nice introduction to Matos' compositional skills as well as his instrumental talent, and finds him in good company, receiving strong support from a sympathetic and versatile group.

Matos allows his interest in more experimental sounds to take the forefront in the three "Interludes." "Harlem Days" has some lovely Fender Rhodes and screaming guitar, and is a straight up soul-rocker that works. The title track introduces the voice of Sara Serpa, adding an interesting new color and texture that blends nicely, mixing eerily with Matos' guitar, providing a touch of dissonance and dreaminess. The one composition not penned by Matos is the absolutely gorgeous ballad, "Canto do Tejo," while the guitarist's "Exile" is a modal workout. "Final Spin" is a romp, showcasing drummer Ted Poor and pianist Leo Genovese, both of who do yeomen duty on the record, contributing tastefully, supporting and buoying Matos.

All About Jazz: Berklee vs NEC? You attended both; can you elaborate on the different experiences and strengths of each? What you took from each?

André Matos: Those were both very important experiences. At Berklee, I was a beginner. I learned some from the classes, but most of all from meeting and playing with people (some were experienced musicians) from all over the world. The two-year period in between both schools was also a very important time for me, being in Portugal and being busy playing and teaching for the first time.

NEC was a more serious thing (it was a masters), opened my musical vision and gave me a lot of different perspectives, I have to highlight my lessons with Danilo Perez and George Garzone, which influenced me a lot. I was exposed to a vaster array of musical styles in the jazz tradition and also dived into the contemporary composers scene a little bit.

AAJ: What sort of music did you listen to/play while growing up? What did you listen to/transcribe once you started formal training?

AM: I listened to The Beatles, AC/DC, Nirvana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Milton Nascimento, Antonio Carlos Jobim, John Denver, Lou Reed, Dave Brubeck, Magico (ECM, 1980 (by Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek) and Eric Clapton; around 13 years old I only played the blues, listening to Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and others.

In formal training (from 16 on), I listened to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall; later, all groups by Keith Jarrett and Paul Motian; even later, all Paul Bley, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder and George Garzone´s The Fringe. As my ears keep opening, I keep searching for more out things but also more in, if you know what I mean.

AAJ: Can you tell me your five favorite guitar players? Records? Composers?

AM: Five fave guitarists is really hard, right now what comes to mind is: Jim Hall, Derek Bailey, Angus Young, Lightning Hopkins, Carlos Paredes.

Records as of now: Neil Young´s Harvest (Reprise, 1972); Jim Hall, Jim Hall Live! (A&M, 1975); Robert Pete Williams´ Free Again (Prestige, 1961); Paul BleySolo Piano (Steeplechase, 1988); The Beatles' Rubber Soul (Capitol, 1965).

Composers: Carla Bley, Arnold Schoenberg, Messiaen, Guillermo Klein.

AAJ: The interludes on the record are beautiful, brief moments sprinkled in, a bit different, showcasing your interest in alternate sounds. What did those mean to you, what were you trying to convey?

AM: Those sounds were already conceivable in my head, originally I didn´t intended to do something like that on this session, but they had this Martin acoustic [guitar]in the studio. I picked it up and Leo [Genovese] found this crazy keyboard, the Optigan, Noah [Preminger] was still around, the other guys had left by then, so I just said, let´s play some moments. We recorded for 40 minutes nonstop, but those tracks were already like that, they felt like tunes in a way, each one with a slightly different vibe. It was just a matter of fitting the pieces, it became clear to me when we stopped that those would be interludes.

AAJ: What do you think of the jazz scene in the US at the moment? You are on Greg Osby's label, how has that experience been?

AM: it´s exciting to be in New York in this moment of my life/career, although I don´t know if I want to stay around for many more years. It´s an incredible opportunity to realize all your musical fantasies. You can do anything here, and for whatever you want to do you have the best musicians available, to play, to listen to, to learn.


More Articles

Read Jamil Sheriff: Helping shape a brave new jazz world Interviews Jamil Sheriff: Helping shape a brave new jazz world
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences Interviews Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Laura Jurd: Big Footprints Interviews Laura Jurd: Big Footprints
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Rick Mandyck: The Return From Now Interviews Rick Mandyck: The Return From Now
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 3, 2017
Read The Wee Trio: Full of Surprises Interviews The Wee Trio: Full of Surprises
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 27, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!