Take Five With Matt Slocum

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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 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


Drums and cymbals.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Peter Erskine, Phil Hey, Joe La Barbera, John Clayton, Alan Pasqua, Shelly Berg.

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 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 or Matt Wilson 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, Dave Holland, Bill Stewart.

2. Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes.

3. Hank Jones, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash.

Some artists that I really enjoy playing with

The gentlemen on the new record Portraits, (Chandra),- Massimo Biolcati, Gerald Clayton, Jaleel Shaw, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens.

Some artists who have inspired me and I would like to work with: Brad Mehldau, Peter Bernstein, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, Joe Locke, Lage Lund, Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch, Mike Moreno, Bill Charlap, Cedar Walton, Larry Goldings, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Tom Harrell, Bruce Barth.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

There were three:

Miles Davis, Cookin with the Miles Davis Quintet;

Clifford Brown, Study in Brown;

and of course Buddy Rich, 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, Reverence (Criss-Cross);

Maurice Ravel, Ma mere l'oye;

Walter Smith III, Live in Paris (Space Time Records);

Inga Swearingen, 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, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs;

Bill Evans, Sunday at the Village Vanguard;

Roy Haynes, 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, Gerald Clayton and special guests Jaleel Shaw, Walter Smith III and Dayna Stephens. 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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