Luckily I have four brothers, so I wasn’t daunted by the amount of male attention I got at Berklee College of Music – I just took it as brotherly affection, which it mostly was, I guess. In any case, there was no need to be overly flattered by it – the student population was about 15% female, so I was bound to attract curiosity by virtue of the rarity of my species. I used it to my advantage to meet some great people who were also very fine musicians.
One of those was Matt Garrison. As is the case with my dad Harry, his late father is legendary to many, perhaps unknown to most. Jimmy Garrison was a ferociously talented jazz double bassist known for his work with John Coltrane, most famously on the iconic and transcendent 1964 (what a year for music!) recording Love Supreme. Matt has carved out his own legend as a monster (that’s kind of a technical term in jazz..) on the electric bass, with an extensive and diverse career alongside a variety of boundary-stretching composers and instrumentalists.
Somehow Matt, with his partner Fortuna Sung, has managed to carve out time alongside his performing and recording to also own and direct a fantastic new venue near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn – ShapeShifter Lab. The first time I visited was a reunion of sorts at the concert of saxophonist (and Coltrane acolyte) Chris Alpiar, and the lovely lights and sounds of the place and the band were infused with the emotions of seeing old friends and renewing inspirations from my music school days. I will be back at ShapeShifter Lab on Sunday March 3rd, playing with own band of newer old friends – Stephan Crump, Jamie Fox, Liberty Ellman and Martha Redbone — as we prepare to bring my latest set of songs into the studio the following week.
I’ve never been able to, nor had an interest in, disentangling music from friendship. The two are inextricably connected for me.
Come join us on the March 3rd — It’s gotta be a big night!
Please join me in the making of my new album, Reckoning http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jenchapin