with Matt Marshak at Berks Jazzfest April 9th Segment 2

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Michael Tozzi chats with Matt Marshak backstage at the Berks Jazzfest on April 9th. His new album is called North Carolina.

Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Matt’s earliest influences were rock and blues: BB King, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix to name just a few. He studied guitar with three different local guitar gurus: Joey Casciano, Mike Orioles, Richard Rabatin. All three were very influential in shaping Matt’s sound. In college, Matt performed some duet saxophone/guitar straight ahead jazz gigs and explored soul/roots music rhythm guitar. Out of college Matt played in rock bands performing in the New York City area. On one evening, guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple took in a show and praised Matt’s unique guitar style.

Around the same time Matt co-wrote the tune “Mets Zone” which was featured on the Mets baseball network’s children’s show for the team. Matt also developed an original one of kind music program for schools in the New York area. Soon after, Matt also had the chance to perform and work with CD BABY founder Derek Sivers. This was a defining moment for Matt’s eventual pursuit as an Indy instrumental jazz recording artist and songwriter.

Matt’s ears were eventually captured by the sounds of George Benson, Larry Carlton, Robben Ford. Funk and pop artists such as Prince and James Brown were also a big influence at the time. Blending the styles of jazz, funk, blues, pop, and r&b were becoming Matt’s main focus. Matt spent many nights soaking in music at the IMAC theater in Huntington, NY, The Blue Note in NYC, and The Westbury Music fair. Matt began writing and recording his own original instrumental contemporary jazz/blues tunes. These songs would become his first record “Preservation.” This record featured Matt’s brother Chris Marshak(drums), Dean Krauss (keys), and Tony Tino (bass).

At the same time he began performing at a club called “Fiddleheads” in Oyster Bay, NY. He built up a big following and was eventually asked to perform at the famous IMAC theater. This momentum earned the interest of CD101.9, NYC’s jazz station at the time. His music was added to the playlist as an indy artist and he was named “Best New Artist in NYC.” He also earned the sponsorship of Long Island’s Competition BMW Auto Group–all new cars received a copy of Matt’s CD. This was a pivotal moment in Matt’s career as an instrumental artist.

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