In the summer of 2001 Matt charmed Smooth Jazz fans with his independent debut release entitled Preservation. He expertly blended jazz, pop, blues, and soul with hip rhythms and enticing melodies.
On Preservation, Matt made sure there was a little something for everyone. From the funky beat of "BK Strut" to the smoothed out groove of "Friday Afternoon" to the slow sultry twang of "Da Blues", the album, with several radio friendly tracks, showcased Matt's versatility and tremendous talent. It also featured several veteran players eager to work with the young guitarist. Paul Simon bassist Bakithi Kumalo, Jaco Pastorius sax man Mario Cruz, Donald Fagan trumpeter Chris Anderson, and Wilson Pickett saxophonist Dan Cipriano all lent their talents to the project.
A Long Island, New York native, Matt Marshak knew at an early age guitar and music would be his life and passion. Initially blues and rock greats were his source of inspiration: Hendrix, BB king, Satriani were a great starting point to this young player. As he matured, he studied with NY teaching guitar guru Richard Rabatin who introduced him to the sounds of Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Cornell Dupree, and George Benson. After meeting Larry Carlton at the Blue Note in Manhattan he knew instrumental jazz/smooth music was his calling.
Matt soon realized he'd have to get involved in the NYC scene to advance himself. He converged on the city and began networking. Soon after, he found himself playing as a sideman to many songwriters looking for a supportive, soulful guitarist. He began working with some of NYC's greatest players... Matt realized it was time to work on his own project -- a guitar instrumental project!
As a fan of older players such as Larry Carlton and bands such as the jazz crusaders, Matt decided to preserve a bit of that... a tribute from the young player. He also targeted the smooth jazz styles as well. The project attracted the likes of Paul Simon Bassist Bakithi Kumalo, who co-wrote a tune entitled the BK Strut. Dan Cipriano from Wilson Pickett's band joined in and former Jaco Pastorius Sax man Mario Cruz shared his abilities.
For the last year, Matt has been has been playing in and around the New York area sharpening his technique and refining his sound and while he still retains his smooth recognizable sound, his playing has definitely evolved. Performing live for the last year with a variety of hugely talented up-and-coming artists as well as seasoned veterans has given Matt the opportunity to experiment and expand his sound, not to mention learn a trick or two.
His live shows have had considerable appeal to a wide market. Matt's band features a rotating lineup of diverse players that represent a wide variety of cultures, musical disciplines and ages. As the Smooth Jazz market evolves and new outlets crop up around the country, crowds are becoming incredibly diverse. Young and old, black and white, men and women, the list goes on and on, everyone appreciates good live music. Armed with talent and versatility; Matt is equally engaging on a midday festival stage at or a dimly lit midtown club.