"Matthew Parrish, an extraordinarily gifted bassist-composer, joins the noble lineage [of jazz bassist-bandleaders] with Circles
, an inspired quartet outing featuring fellow heavy-hitters Joel Frahm on tenor, Vincent Bourgeyx on piano and Steve Hass on drums." -- David R. Adler, music critic, AllAboutJazz.com, All Music Guide
Matthew Parrish keenly recalls being captivated by the sound of Ray Brown's bass lines on his dad's Ella Fitzgerald records. Brown's rhythmic pulse sparked a lasting passion for music -- jazz especially -- and moved Matthew to discover his own voice.
For several years, Matthew studied the trumpet, but as a high school senior, he forsook his horn for the instrument that drew him to music as a child. That he switched to the bass just a few days prior to auditioning for Rutgers University's Mason Gross School for the Arts attest to both the potency of the impulse and Matt's confidence as a musician. At Rutgers, Matthew pursued jazz and classical bass studies. Brown's seminal influence, along with that of Charles Mingus, Paul Chambers and Ron Carter, informed Matt's approach from the outset, and it does still. I listen to everyone and use a lot of techniques in my playing," says Matthew, but my concept of the bass's primary role is pretty traditional: it's to provide the bottom."
In 1991, Matthew left Rutgers for Philadelphia, where, for several years, he shared the Ortlieb's Jazzhaus bandstand with Philly jazz icons Mickey Roker, Bobby Durham and Shirley Scott. Matthew has since provided the bottom" for Clark Terry, Marion McPartland, Harry Sweets" Edison, Pieces of a Dream, Miri Ben-Ari, Linda Hopkins and Ralph Peterson, among others. From 1997 to 2000, Matthew toured Europe and the U.S. with bebop legend Al Grey. Matthew is now a regular presence on the New York studio and club scene, and with a wealth of touring and recording experience as a sideman, and over fifty published compositions to his credit, he is poised to make his own mark as a bassist-bandleader.
Circles, Matthew's debut recording as a leader, reveals a serious composer and arranger, a dynamic soloist and a sensitive accompanist. Joining Matthew on the date are fellow Al Grey-alumnus Vincent Bourgeyx on piano, renowned jazz drummer Steve Hass, and heraled tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm.
Under Matt's direction, the unit delivers eight original compositions and three unique arrangements by Matthew reflecting a range of influences from spirituals to bebop to blues to hip hop (see Matt's update of Seven Steps to Heaven"). Remarkable throughout is the exceptional fullness of Matthew's acoustic sound -- a hallmark of this gifted young bassist's mature, and well-rounded, musical concept.
More information about Matthew Parrish and Circles is available online at www.matthewparrish.com and www.hipnotic.com.