I just wrote this in a 24 hour writing marathon:
by Tom D’Antoni on November 7, 2011.
There is something totally seductive about the sound coming out of Neil Mattson’s guitar on a wet Sunday night in early November at the Blue Monk when he, acoustic bassist Julio Appling and drummer Adam Ochshorn, performing as Trio Flux take to the bandstand.
Part Frisell, part Metheny, some Chris Mosley even…but something else. As his hands seemed to hover over the strings, it was obvious why I was not the only one who was drawn into the sound, even though the audience at the Monk was unusually loud. The band grew organically from a long series of weekly jams at Proper Eats. Those jams are over, but the band remains. Read more…
by Kyle O’Brien – Jazz Society of Oregon
Portland trumpeter/composer/arranger Gregg may be more known as a bandleader at Tony Starlight’s, or for his role with other local groups, but this new disc lets him shine on an album of original retro-fusion tunes that may remind some of artists from decades past. The opening title track fuses techno and electro jazz-pop with Maynard Ferguson-style bravado before dissolving into a Miles Davis-ish fusion groove. The frenetic “The Smell of Smoke/Miles of Fires” is more “Bitches Brew,” with Gregg utilizing an effective wah-wah pedal as the rhythms swirl around him. Andrew Oliver’s electric piano comps with serious alterations, a la Herbie Hancock. The disc is a mix of late ’60s electrics and mid-’90s acid jazz that evokes both periods with ease, and guitarist Neil Mattson’s playing buoys it all. Gregg is a fiery player who is at home with both rock and jazz idioms, and his band gloms onto this aesthetic with verve, including drummer Kevin Van Geem. The tune “Red Gaze” adds a Randy Brecker polyphonic electricity and disjointed funk rhythm, while “Praxis Axis” evokes Vernon Reid and his harder edge. Gregg has an innate melodic sensibility, but this album presents his avant-garde side. The undercurrent melodies keep this semi-experimental album grounded, however. The tune “Verdant,” for instance, is as close as the album gets to melodic, and it rings nicely with long tones and thick chords. Gregg has found success with sounds from fusion’s past, but he could have attempted more new ground in his search backwards.
2011, Major Third Entertainment, 62 minutes.
2010 saw the demise of the Proper Eats Jazz Jam, but in the form of Trio Flux, at least the house band lives on. Trio Flux, brainchild of Neil Mattson along with Julio Appling on bass and Adam Ochshorn on drums continue the original music that was first aired at Proper Eats. Unlike playing music in a jam session, Trio Flux took the opportunity to understand each other, and the music they created. Their self-titled album is the first fruit of those labors. Read more…
Portland has great jazz hidden all over town, and available for your cheap (or free) listening pleasure. You just have to hear about it from a friend, and then show up. Here’s your first tip – go see Trio Flux with Neil Mattson on guitar, Adam Ochshorn on drums, and Julio Appling on bass. Why Trio Flux? Because they play jazz. Not Jazz standards. Jazz. Read more…
I was born in Lansing, Michigan. My musical development was fostered by my family’s love of music. The Beatles were always playing in the station wagon’s cassette deck. The little kids in the back or the “way-back” of the station wagon belting out verse after verse, I call that a musical education. Neil Diamond, Elton John, The Police, to name a few more whose sounds filled my ears and mind at that early age. Piano lessons for a year or two, then cornet in middle school band showed me many things about being a musician – I quit both. Then summer after 8th grade, my first guitar. The rest is, as they say, history.
Neil Mattson is a 2004 Summa Cum Laude Jazz Studies graduate of Wayne State University. He was also the recipient of the Carl & Elinor Thom Harmony House Scholarship in 2002-2003 and the Joe Fava Scholarship in 2003-2004. Mattson was nominated and elected into the Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity in May 2003. Prior to attending Wayne, Mattson’s serious guitar studies began with the Detroit guitar master and Nashville session veteran, Jack Pitt, himself a student of Andreas Segovia. This experience led him to discover the discipline and beauty of the classical guitar tradition. Mattson continued his classical guitar studies under Helene Rottenberg in the tradition of her teacher Manuel Lopez-Ramos while getting his degree in Jazz Studies at Wayne. After Wayne, Mattson studied with the brilliant vibist, pianist and master theoretician, Robert Pipho, which proved to be a genuine jazz-apprenticeship and a huge stepping stone from his college learning to his professional music career.
Mattson’s professional associations have included stints with internationally renowned trumpeter Marcus Belgrave’s Louis Armstrong Tribute Band, and with clarinet prodigy Dave Bennett’s group. He was a founding member and arranger for both the Detroit Swingtet, and the Hot Club of Detroit. During his time with the HCOD the band won the 2004 Heineken Starquest Competition that landed them a spot at the prestigious Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival. In addition, Mattson has been a featured performer at music festivals including the Detroit Django Reinhardt Festival, The Ann Arbor Blues And Jazz Festival, and the Michigan Jazz Festival. He has shared the stage with many Detroit-based jazz luminaries including James Carter, Art Van Damme, Terry Harington (The Simpsons), Jeremy Kittel, Martha Reeves (Martha & The Vandellas), Frank Vignola, and Mel Wanzo (Count Basie Orchestra).
Mattson currently performs with many groups in Portland, Oregon including the acid-jazz/fusion group Trio Flux, which he composes and arranges for, the Matthew Gailey Band, James M. Gregg Quintet, BOS Big Band, and Free-Bop Quartet.
Free-Bop Quartet recorded live at the Camellia Lounge 11/19/2010:
Other miscellaneous things:
Small Hands – solo for mini guitar (10/25/2009)
Amazing Grace – my arrangement (spring 2009)
Songs featuring Anthony Cole’s drumming (recorded by Jeremy Mattson):