Matthew Garrison

Matthew Garrison

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Electric bassist Matthew Garrison, son of the late upright bassist Jimmy Garrison, has played extensively with fusion elder statesmen Josef Zawinul and John McLaughlin. On his self-produced, self-released debut as a leader, the five-string virtuoso follows in the footsteps of his eclectic mentors but makes some highly original moves. Garrison enlists the talents of guitarists David Gilmore and Adam Rogers, keyboardist Scott Kinsey, and percussionist Arto Tuncboyacian, along with assorted drummers, vocalists, and other instrumentalists. (Pete Rende's accordion and Amit Chaterjee's sitar are nice touches.) In addition to being a fine player, Garrison is an ambitious producer; his debut is not a live-sounding "blowing" record at all, but rather a multi-layered, involved, studio-oriented project. And while some bassist/leaders prefer not to dominate their ensembles, Garrison makes no bones about putting himself out front. His lightning-quick solos, thick chords, and overdubbed, washy textures are all over the album. At times his busy style can get in the way, as on "Shapeless," where he might have given David Gilmore's acoustic solo a bit more room to breathe. But more often than not, Garrison succeeds in creating finely wrought worlds of sound, most notably on the upbeat "Groove Tune" and "Lullaby." He also doubles on keyboards and does some fierce drum'n'bass programming on "Family" and "Dark Matter." Garrison's progressive, sophisticated fusion concept is sure to establish him as one of the idiom's leading lights.

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