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Matt Slocum

Described by JazzTimes as “a tastefully polyrhythmic drummer with a penchant for melodicism on the kit," Matt Slocum has also earned a reputation as an inventive and lyrical composer. He is the recipient of composition grants and commissions from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the American Music Center, New Music USA, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Puffin Foundation and Meet the Composer. Frequently referred to as a "musical" drummer, Slocum possesses a distinctive voice on the instrument and is a propulsive, melodic and dynamic accompanist and soloist. He has toured throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Steve Cardenas, Gerald Clayton, Taylor Eigsti, Aaron Goldberg, Larry Grenadier, Jon Irabagon, Lage Lund, Linda Oh, Jerome Sabbagh, Jaleel Shaw, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens, Anthony Wilson, Ben Wendel, Sam Yahel and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in western Wisconsin, Slocum began musical studies on piano before switching to percussion at age 11. While in high school he was introduced to jazz through recordings featuring Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones. He received a full scholarship to attend the University of Southern California where he studied with Peter Erskine. After graduating in 2004, Slocum spent three years in California before making the move to New York in fall 2007. His debut recording Portraits was released in January 2010. The New York City Jazz Record raved, "With this excellent premiere, Slocum steps out of the box as the full package." After the Storm, a more introspective trio recording, was released in October 2011 and was one of 15 recordings by American composers to receive a New Music USA recording grant in 2011. Slocum’s third recording, Black Elk’s Dream (2014), is primarily a quartet session that the Minneapolis City Pages describes as, “A sublime interpretation of the visionary Oglala Lakota leader's philosophy, life and times, the melodic sophistication of Slocum's compositions wonderfully realized by his lithe, restless percussion.” Trio Pacific Vol. 1, a 2016 saxophone/guitar/drums trio date featuring Dayna Stephens and Steve Cardenas, was well-received by listeners and critics alike. Slocum's upcoming piano trio recording Sanctuary will be released on Sunnyside Records in May 2019.


Canopus Drums, Istanbul Agop Cymbals, Evans Drumheads.


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“Slocum is not just a tasteful polyrhythmic drummer, whose subtle use of brushes and mallets brings shading and colour to his playing and who swings whatever the tempo, but also a composer of considerable promise… A debut album of great distinction. You’ll hear new subtleties every time. Thoroughly recommended.” Four stars -Jazzwise UK (March 2010)

"One of his generation's most highly regarded drummers ... Matt Slocum is more than a rising star drummer—he is a composer of startling melodic sophistication." -Andrea Canter, JazzPolice (February 2010)

"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 and Elvin Jones amongst others, but he also carves out his own rhythmic patterns with young contemporaries such as Eric Harland 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 (March 2010)

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Primary Instrument


Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Sunnyside Records


Trio Pacific, vol. 1

Chandra Records


Trio Pacific, Vol. 1

Chandra Records


Black Elk's Dream

Chandra Records



Chandra Records


Ghost Dance

From: Black Elk's Dream
By Matt Slocum


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