Matrix: Wisconsin Jazz Legends
Thrasher hosts Matrix’s first performance since this summer’s release of two of its ‘70s albums, Wizard and Tale of the Whale, on CD for the first time, by Wounded Bird Records. They emerged from the Lawrence University jazz program in 1974. After many Midwestern club dates, Matrix's first prestigious engagement was with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 1975. The band continued to develop a following in the Midwest, then exploded onto the national music scene in the fall of 1976.
Matrix emerged from the Lawrence University jazz program in 1974. After many Midwestern club dates, Matrix's first prestigious engagement was with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 1975. The band continued to develop a following in the Midwest, then exploded onto the national music scene in the fall of 1976. An appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival inspired Leonard Feather, the dean of American jazz critics, to write in the Los Angeles Times, "Matrix. . . made a smashing West Coast debut. . . Overall, a stunning outfit." An engagement at the world-famous Concerts by the Sea in Redondo Beach, California, led Feather to further describe Matrix as "a band that cannot fail to appeal to the emotions, the intellect or to any jazz enthusiast who, tired of bebop cliches or rock overkill, is receptive to something adventurous, exciting and just about totally new." He followed this up by naming Matrix “Combo of the Year” in his annual Golden Feather awards.
Matrix continued to gather praise as it toured the United States making significant waves in the new style of jazz that dominated the 1970s. The band played again at Monterey, the Newport Jazz Festival in New York, and the inaugural (and in two subsequent years) Telluride Jazz Festival. Matrix opened shows for virtually all of the name big bands of the day -- Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson -- as well as such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Weather Report, Pat Metheny and Joe Pass. The band released four albums, for RCA, Warner Brothers and Pablo Records. Down Beat, the standard journal of the jazz world, reviewed three of the albums, awarding two of them four-stars, and published a feature story on the band.
Matrix was often described as being "ahead of its time," and there are many musicians and fans who believe that Matrix's '70s music sounds as fresh as ever in 2009. A successful reunion in 1992 was followed by another huge success at the 2000 Neenah Jazz Festival, which spurred the band to record the 2002 Summit Records release Proud Flesh.
Generously sponsored by
*KELLY Mouthpieces, Fond du Lac, WI.
*Yeomans-Edinger Chiropractic, Ripon, WI
*Chiroplus Complementary Health Care Centers, Green Lake, WI
Spaulding Chiropractic Health Center, Ripon, WI
Jerry & Lynn Grout
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