Inspiration’s corner: Matt Smiley
I was laying in bed after a long day and feeling the pressures of social media knocking at my cerebral door–It was Matt Smiley’s birthday and I hadn’t sent him an oh-s0-very-important birthday message on the interwebs. While I lay there thinking about whether or not I should do the right thing and get up and send a damn message over FB, I was distracted by how much I have been inspired by Matt–his work ethic and his bass playing. It isn’t like it was the first time I had thought of it, but something about it hit me closer to the chest last night.
I have known Matt for about four or more(?) years now through a mutual friend Alex Nauman (also inspiring). They attended UNC in Greely, CO together with Matt attaining his Masters and Alex his Bachelors degree in music. Alex tries bring Matt up about once a year and over those years I have had the privilege to get to know Matt a little bit more with each visit. Social media also keeps me in contact even if it’s just keeping tabs on his many projects…which leads me to his projects… Matt plays around the Fort Collins/Denver area multiple times a week in his own groups and as a side man. He composes as well as transcribes large amounts of material for his own albums and frequently puts on album themed shows and records the performances (check out Matt’s Band Camp page). To my benefit, Matt also generously sends me more transcriptions of amazing music than I can ever play in a year! Matt really sets the bar high, but most importantly, he is very encouraging and kind in every interaction I have ever had with him–I have never been vibed by Smiley and I’ve never heard him boast–just a brief snippet of his bio, which is quite boastable:
Colorado-based bassist Matt Smiley is an excellent example of the virtues of musical versatility. His résumé includes performing internationally at the Montreux, North Sea, and Montreal Jazz festivals; premiering John Hilliard’s 2nd Piano Concerto at the Kennedy Center; presenting his own arrangements of bassist Dave Holland‘s seminal “Conference of the Birds”; playing with a funk band; experimenting with electronics; and providing music for silent films. Clearly Smiley is a musician with wide-open ears, and his expressive, inventive bass work is a welcome addition to all his musical ventures. (Check out the full run down of his album Quartet Art at AllAboutJazz.com)
I don’t think Matt has slept since putting out Quartet Art! He has put out these albums since 2012: Searching with his group Square Peg, His funk band Stone Cricket’s self titled debut album was released recently, a duet album with Alex Nauman titled Peaceful Contact Proven Elusive, and The Right Riot from the trio Good Rattle. And if that wasn’t enough, he also does some session work…
With out further ado, I really just want to give Mr. Smiley that proper social media shout out on his big three-oh and suggest you check out some of his work!