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"Matthew Garrison"
The Matthew Garrison first solo album

Who is Matthew Garrison

Matthew Garrison was born June 2, 1970 in New York. Here he spent the first eight years of his life immersed in a community of musicians, dancers, visual artists and poets. After the death of his father Jimmy Garrison (John Coltrane's bassist), his family relocated to Rome, Italy where he began to study piano and bass guitar.

In 1988 Matthew returned to the United States and lived with his godfather Jack Dejohnette for two years. Here he studied intensively with both Dejohnette and bassist Dave Holland.

In 1989 Matthew received a full scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. Here he began his professional career with the likes of Gary Burton, Bob Moses, Betty Carter, Mike Gibbs and Lyle Mays to mention a few.

Matthew moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1994 and has performed and recorded with artists such as Joe Zawinul, Joni Mitchell, Steve Coleman, Pat Metheny, John Mclaughlin, The Gil Evans Orchestra, John Scofield, Chaka Khan and many others.

In 1998 Matthew founded GarrisonJazz Productions to Produce, Promote and Market his music. (


His first solo album

Matt Garrison released his first solo album the last October, 15.
To read an English review of it, click


Interview to Matthew Garrison (by Marco Piretti)

1) Matthew, can you tell us something about the genesis of your first solo album?

Basically the music presented is a synthesis of a lot of styles, colors, and cultures that I've had the great fortune of growing up with. The process of actually putting the compositions together took about two years and the recording itself about 9 months.

2) What were the sources of your inspiration (music genres, other musicians...)?

The influences range from Art Tatum to Stravinsky, Hermeto Pascoal to Stevie Wonder, Bulgarian Women's Choir to Earth Wind And Fire, Square Pusher to Bjork, and so forth. This is the music and musicians I've been listening to my whole life and the compositions pretty much reflect those sounds. Many musicians I've been working with in the past 9 years have also contributed in one way or the other to this recording.

Matt Garrison at Quasimodo, Berlin

3) What are the other bassplayers who you used as point of reference for your playing style?

Those who really made me realize the balance of technique, harmony, and just pure musicality are musicans such as Dominique DiPiazza, Gary Willis, Dave Holland, Jimmy Garrison, Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, John Patitucci and quite a few others. Please remember that's just in the bass world.

4) Will your album be distributed in Europe? How to buy it?

At this point I am the distributor. If people would lik to pick up a copy all they have to do is visit my web site There I will direct you to businesses that are buying my CD's and reselling them as well as handling various methods of payment and shipping worldwide. On the other hand I am in negotiation with a few European distribution companies and it's just a matter of time before I have some concrete answers concerning that part of the question. Please check my web site in the coming weeks for further details.

5) Will you be on tour for the album promotion? Also in Europe?

To begin with my plan is to market and sell the CD for the next 6-9 months or so. In the meanwhile I'll begin booking seminars and festival dates which should start to take place by next fall (2001). Europe is definitely on the planning table for both seminars and concerts.

6) You dedicated your album to your parents. Your father, Jimmy Garrison, was the bassplayer of the great John Coltrane. What do you remember of your childhood? In what way it influenced your music and your life?

Growing up in that environment was very important in my life. I didn't know of any other way to live but to live creatively. My approach to music is always more about feeling a sense of community and kinship with my fellow musicians and everything else follows and that belief stems from my upbringing. I never knew John Coltrane but I am grateful for the amazing legacy he has left for all of us. Those formative years have set a very high standard for me and I try to live up that standard of creative expression through the good and bad times alike.

Matt & Jimmy Garrison

7) Our site is dedicated to Joe Zawinul so... Can you tell something about your musical and human experience with Joe?

I'm honored to have been part of one of his bands and I learned a great deal about certain aspects of making music. I came to understand very interesting concepts in Joe's approach to rythm section interaction and subdividing parts to the different instruments. Very hip approach to the use of dynamics. On a personal side he's a pretty complex human being and not such an easy character to get along with. When I was in the Zawinul Syndicate we definitely had some moments of high drama and tension. I just figured that's the way he keeps himself in mental shape on the road. An approach that I wasn't so keen on and that eventually lead to my departure from that group.

Matt Garrison with the Zawinul Syndicate (1996)

8) A last question... You played in this CD with a lot of musicians who had (directly or not) some relationships with Zawinul, as Amit Chatterjee, Arto Tuncboyacian, also Scott Kinsey who is a great keyboardist, a true Zawinul disciple... What about your experience with them?

I've known Amit for a long time now and we never had the chance to actually play so I figured this CD was a good opportunity. I'm sure there will be more projects in the future. I've known Scott Kinsey since the days we were both at Berklee College of Music in Boston. We worked on a few projects here in there while in school and I became an immediate fan of his. Such a creative person. Can't wait to do some more work with him. Arto and I met directly in Joe's band. I actually had never even heard of him before and he hadn't heard of me. From the first note we played there was a connection. Not necessarily a technical connection but something much deeper. I felt an immediate kinship with him and this has only grown stronger through the years. It is an absolute honor to work with him and to be part of his creative spirit. We all have Joe to thank for bringing us together in one way or the other.


 Read more about Matthew Garrison:

Matthew Garrison official website
Review on
Interview on




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