Matt Slocum New York Jazz Trio visits Saddleback College

Matt Slocum visits Saddleback College with his talented trio.

Matt Slocum visits Saddleback College with his talented trio.

Matt Slocum, an accomplished jazz drummer who graduated from USC, partnered with Dayna Stephens on the saxophone and Steve Cotter on the guitar to create Matt Slocum’s New York Jazz Trio.

All three musicians have collectively played around the world including most of the United States, but as a trio began touring Los Angeles on Oct 13th and plan on ending in Kitano New York on November. 

The trio performed in Saddleback’s McKinney Theatre on Nov. 8 where they began the evening with a piece called “Is this America.”

Bob Foisy, a student of music professor Ariel Alexander found out about the concert via an email she sent. 

“I’m a drummer, so I wanted to check it out,” Foisy said. 

Stephens and Cotter played a slow melody sometimes allowing one or the other to take the lead, while Slocum, using a variety of drum sticks with wired ends, made a slow showering noise.

Sometimes Slocum would switch to traditional sticks creating a mellowed anthem-like feel. This was both Slocum’s and Stephens’ favorite piece of the evening.

“It came off nicely,” Slocum said.

Afterword they moved onto a variety of different songs including “I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love With Me,” “Decent,” Afterglow,” “Yarezel” and another song named after a dark river in Jersey, during which Cotter fingerpicks many notes and strums chords in a fashion that gives a sense of depth and mystery. Stephens plays interesting long fluttering tones followed by Slocum’s persistent beat and occasional solos.

When the concert ended every one gave them a round of applause. Slocum’s trio provided a variety of well put together pieces each with their own feel and story.

No two performances are the same.

“We’re playing songs but we have the freedom to express them and interpret them the way we want,” Stephens said. “It’s almost frowned upon to play it the exact same way as the record”.

Slocum added, “I like that it encourages the development of the individual creative voice.”

The trio is also not accompanied by a bass player making it “different” from usual jazz performances, Cotter said.

“That’s the vision with this trio,” Slocum said. To have internal dialog between an untraditional mix of instruments, with an “interactive approach and some collective soloing.”

Slocum’s trio’s well-performed song line up and jazzy nature with unusual instrument interaction gave the audience a unique afternoon with its own vibe.