The new recording is a saxophone/guitar/drums project with Dayna Stephens and Steve Cardenas. There are six of my original compositions, Charlie Parker's "Relaxin at Camarillo" and a somewhat obscure old standard entitled "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me". We recorded in March this year and it was just released a few weeks ago.
How did the trio come together and what was the collaborative process like?
I had played with Dayna and Steve in different settings, but never in a trio format until about two years ago. I had a suspicion that it might be very cool, so we tried out the instrumentation at a gig. Their sound together, particularly when they are improvising simultaneously, seems pretty magical to me. Their playing is filled with warmth, lyricism and mystery... more of a dark warmth though. This particular trio is built predominantly around collective interaction; I try to write and arrange the music to highlight this aspect of the ensemble.
It's definitely in the queue. There are about four projects that I want to record right now. Given the skyrocketing sales and highly lucrative jazz recording industry in general, these should be done in like six weeks. Ok I'm kidding; even if I was Keith Jarrett, four projects would be pretty unrealistic in the short term. So basically I'm going to try to write a lot of music between mid-November and the end of the year. Depending on what direction that music takes, we may record this group again next year. I'm sure it will differ from Vol. 1, but at this point I'm not making a conscious effort to preconceive the next album as any particular "thing". I want to see how the sound of the group develops and build around that.
Tell us about your connection to Minnesota. Has that had any influence on your work?
I'm from New Richmond, Wisconsin and have a lot of family in the Twin Cities. I haven't composed anything specifically built around Wisconsin or Minnesota themes yet (Maria Schneider has set kind of a high bar there!). But there are so many great jazz artists in the Twin Cities area that I'd say just being around such a vital jazz community had a very strong effect on how I hear, play and compose music. It was a treat to be able to hear music at the old Dakota and the Artists' Quarter. I was also really fortunate to be able to take lessons with Phil Hey. Phil, as everyone should already know, is a musical genius. He's also the one who told me the first 50 or so jazz recordings I should check out. So definitely blame him if you don't like the way I play. Basically within the US there are only a handful of real "communities" of jazz musicians. The Twin Cities area has one of the strongest creative music scenes in the country and anyone who studies jazz in the area is lucky to have so many masterful artists from whom to learn.
MATT SLOCUM TRIO WITH DAYNA STEPHENS & STEVE CARDENAS
CD RELEASE: TRIO PACIFIC VOL. 1
8 p.m. & 10 p.m.
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
$18 in advance / $20 at the door
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