I've always loved reading liner notes.  I read my favorite ones over and over again.  I can remember buying my first Blue Note record, which I believe was "Go", by Dexter Gordon, and loving gaining more insight into what the music  was trying to communicate.  Patchwork is my third collection of songs so far in my career.  For my first two records, David Adler and Russ Musto wrote the liners for me, and they did an incredible job.  But I've always wanted to write my own notes and who better to provide the listener with the inside track, so to speak, than the artist themselves!

This album has an incredible amount of meaning for me.  There are multiple ideas and concepts at work here and the music was written and arranged over a 15 year period.  The major driving force behind putting together this music was my relationships with my friends.  I'm not sure how it works in the corporate world, or other major careers out there, but some of my oldest and closest friends are also my colleagues.  I'm lucky enough to "work" with my friends on a nightly basis.  A lot of the people that I became friends with back in music school are still my friends, and are still making music with me.  My idea was to only use musicians on the record that are people that I've always made music with.  At the end of the day, for me, an exceptional musician is not enough.  After and during the gig, I want to be able to laugh with them, talk about music with them, and make them a part of the family!  This idea also spilled into the production of the CD itself.  Every person, from the producing, graphic design, to the photos, I know personally.  So many times in the music business, you play a whole gig and you never meet the other musicians.  Or you make a CD, and you send the tracks away to be mixed and you never even shake the persons hand.  I really loved the idea that every person involved has shared a physical interaction with me.     

Another concept for Patchwork was the choice of music.  Chronologically, the songs follow a timeline, and are divided into three sections.  The first set of songs were chosen because they represented early influences of my musical palette.  "Vincent", by Don McLean, is from an album called "American Pie".  When I was an infant, my parents used to play that record for me while I was in my crib.  If I remember correctly, it was on a Fisher Price record player!   I've been hearing that music for almost 35 years!  That song in particular always struck me, and I actually performed it instrumentally in college.  "How Can I Be Sure?", by the Young Rascals, represents a style of music that my father enjoyed listening to.  50's and 60's rock and roll was always on in the garage when I was in my teen years.  I listened to some music of my generation during that time, but I think I listened to more "oldies" than anything else.  Certainly not jazz though, not yet.  The third song in this section is an original of mine titled "Steppin Up (and Steppin Around)".  It is the first melody I ever officially wrote out and arranged.  It came to me while sitting in a class at the Purchase Conservatory of Music.  I told the teacher that I was leaving class early because I had an idea for a song.  I don't think he was as excited as I was!

The second section encapsulates the start of my more informed and serious composing attempts but also reveals the jazz influences on me from my college years.  "When Eyes Meet" was originally written for a ska/reggae band I was playing in called Reegal Beegal.  To me, I hear my heros in this melody and groove.  Musicians like Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and Dexter Gordon all come to mind.  The words only came a few years ago.  I always loved the title, but I thought the melody wasn't enough to project the reaction I was looking for, so I started to try to write some lyrics.  "Ceora", by trumpeter Lee Morgan, is a song I always loved to play.  I actually transcribed Morgan's and Hank Mobley's solos from that track and committed them to memory.  When I was writing the words, I tried to think of the story and life of Lee Morgan, along with countless other jazz musicians.  They make such beautiful music, but often times lead such tragic lives.  They are good people, but the world is unforgiving.  I hope my lyrics do the melody justice.  The last song in this section is another one of my originals that I call "Fall For Me".  There are two meanings in this title.  The first is that the spark of the melody came while walking around New York City on a sunny fall day.  But the real story with this song was to capture the situation men and women get into when they are trying to be friends, but one of them secretly wants a little more.  You hope the other person take the reigns and make a move, and you try to drop hints, but you just don't want to risk being blunt and losing what beautiful friendship is already there.

The final section of Patchwork showcases a more current and modern way I play and write music.  "Lonesome Tears", by the artist Beck, was one of the first songs I loved after absorbing jazz records for years during college.  I hadn't listened to much pop music for a long period of time, and Beck's album "Sea Change" was the first record that opened my ears to the current music of that time.  I loved the string arrangement on this track, and I wanted to try to do my version of that, but with horns.  At the suggestion of the producer, while we were in the studio, we played over a looping click track, which can be heard in a couple of different sections.  This really added a nice texture and ambiance to the performance.  "Open To Your Advances" was written only three years ago.  It is the first recorded example of me playing flute.  Some day, I may write lyrics to this song because the title is screaming at me for them!  Again, the title describes another situation between two people.  Sometimes, as a man, its nice to not have to work so hard, if you catch my meaning.  The final song of the record is called "First Flight" which I wrote in 2012.  It pains me to say it, but my first ever plane ride came in 2012 when I flew to California to record on Melissa Morgan's new album.  On the flight, I had music paper with me, a pencil, an iPad, and a piano app, and I wrote this mid air on the way out to the west coast. 

Patchwork is my most personal album to date.  I chose all the music, all of the musicians, and all of the artwork.   So many people helped me along the way though, and I am eternally grateful for their knowledge, insight, time, and love.  Making a record is hard work, and I believe the best creations in life come from collaborating with others.  Like I said before, so often in the music business, emails get sent, text messages are typed, and phone conferences are shared, but you never actually know the people you are working with.  Everyone who helped make this recording and album know Matt Garrison.