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Matt Garrison Live

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Matt Garrison Live


** Note: At the end of this page is a transcription accompaniment. Please scroll to the bottom, click to open, and then continue reading.“Matt Garrison Live” is Matt’s first DVD release under his own record label, Garrison Jazz Productions.  Matt Garrison is one of the most influential electric bassists to arrive on the music scene in the last few decades.  He pioneered the use of many techniques on the electric bass and was one of the first jazz artists to merge jazz and electronic music in an honest and tasteful fashion.  This DVD is Matt’s attempt to perform his self produced studio material in a live setting and it is an all around success.  It also features a who’s who of the progressive jazz music scene including  keyboardists Jim Beard and Scott Kinsey, drummers Gene Lake and Jojo Mayer, guitarist Adam Rogers, percussionist Arto Tuncboyacian and vocalist Sabina Sciubba.The full band opens this DVD with the tune “Family”.  This is a wonderful live interpretation of the opening track from Matt’s debut album.  Matt and Adam Rogers do some excellent trading on this one, showcasing their ability to effortlessly dissect a modal solo progression of parallel Lydian chords.  Matt transitions out of his last solo break with a catchy melodic phrase, a burst of triplets and very nice chordal work (see Ex. 1)  The groove is in full force thru this whole tune with Jojo Mayer really shining throughout.Next comes a hauntingly beautiful trio tune “Shapeless” featuring Matt, Adam on acoustic guitar and Arto Tuncboyacian on the table (that’s right… a table!).  Matt’s accompaniment on Adam’s solo is a lesson in contemporary bass playing.  He is able to play the bass line, comp chords, and melodically interact with Adam’s solo lines; all while never overplaying and retaining the groove with Arto.

Then, Matt and Arto perform the duet tune cleverly entitled… yup you guessed it, “Duet”.  This is one of my favorite Garrison tunes and showcases his rhythmic virtuosity, four finger technique and innovative chordal approach.  It is a joy to watch Matt and Arto bounce off of each other rhythmically on this one.

I simply cannot listen to the next song,  “Groove Tune”,  without bobbing my head in satisfaction.  Matt and Jojo set up an infectious groove, then Scott Kinsey holds down the left hand bass while Matt takes the melody.  Kinsey is featured as the main soloist on “Groove Tune” and sticks to his signature style comprised of innovative synth sounds, great use of space and tasteful licks on the rhodes.  Near the end of the out vamp Matt shows his chordal prowess with a series of dominant seven chord substitutions over the static A7#9 groove (See Ex. 2).  This is followed by a flurry of notes by Kinsey in response to Matt’s playing.

“Arto’s Song”  is a bonus track that does not appear on the accompanying CD.  It features Arto on voice, tambourine and the “filled with water Heineken bottle”… all at once!?  After listening to this performance by Arto I can only think, what planet is Arto from… because I would love to visit.

“Dark Matter” welcomes Gene Lake on the drums and picks the intensity up a couple more notches.  After the opening unison rhythmic lick, Matt shows his ability to groove hard and show restraint and control (See Ex. 3).  He always inflects the root at the top of the phrase and even hints at the main thematic bass line before it starts.  He fills the space like a master with slick octaves, interesting chord tones and staccato rhythmic hits.  This tune once again features great soloing by Rogers and Kinsey.

“Turn Around”, from Matt’s second album “Shapeshifter”, brings the full band back up and introduces the great Jim Beard on keys.  This song is a shining example of how to blend live and electronic music in a performance setting.  Jim Beard plays a pair of jaw dropping solos which are broken up by an equally impressive solo by Matt.  Check out the way Matt uses the whole tone scale and more triplet bursts before entering back in with the melody, signaling the end of his solo.  Another Garrison trademark that jumps out to the listener is the way Matt uses pull-offs on the melody to make it sound more “horn like”  (See Ex. 4).

“Duet 9/4” is the final cut on the disc and brings it to a close with a bang (In addition to “Arto’s Song”, this song does not appear on any of Matt’s studio albums.)  It is a full band arrangement of the previously performed “Duet”.  Matt’s introductory bass line sets up the groove and the subdivision of nine (See Ex.5).  Check out the way Matt and Gene break down the tricky meter of 9/4 on the second chorus of Jim’s solo.  If I had to call the technique that Matt uses at the end of his solo anything, I would call it “finger pickin’ from hell”.  He ascends the neck playing octaves with an open G pedal point and covers some harmonically interesting chord tones on the way up (See Ex. 6).

Included in the bonus section of the DVD are additional footage clips of the band rehearsing and preparing for the recording.  The title menu layout is in chapter  by chapter (song by song) form and is very easy to navigate.  This DVD is a must have for anybody curious about Matt’s playing and for all fans of high energy electric jazz.

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