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Dr. Dan Matrazzo

2011 sees the return of jam godfather and fusion keyboard innovator Dr. Dan Matrazzo, co-founder of the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Fiji Mariners, and Winter (Jeff Sipe, Steve Vai).

As a new generation of jam fans emerges to discover the tradition of free form groove improvisation that was influenced and shaped through the years by the Doctor and his peers, Dr. Dan returns from the jazz scene to give his patients a check-up.

It's been over 6 years since the Doctor has performed the groundbreaking music from his album "Dan on the Moon" or the funky 70s covers that used to bring down the house at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, The Brandy House in Atlanta, or the Pour House in Charleston. Now, having explored modern jazz to his own liking with groundbreaking original material and innovative piano renditions of Pat Metheny and Miles Davis tunes (many available on YouTube), Dr. Dan is ready to return to high energy fusion and jam venues that fit so well with his funky brand of soul.

If you're a long time jam fan on the east coast and don't know who Dr. Dan is, then you're under 25 years old and haven't gotten around to digging a little deeper into the legacies of the artists you love quite yet. In addition to his partnership with Col. Bruce Hampton, he was also a member of the James Cotton Band, Taj Mahal, and Skydog Gypsy. His legendary recordings with The Allman Brothers are available on the web, and one of the albums he recorded with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was nominated for a Grammy. He's appeared on stage with Widespread Panic, Phish, Ween, Blues Traveller, Les Claypool, Leftover Salmon, Gov't Mule, Ween, Morphine and a text book full of others.

His professional journey began at age 16 playing sold-out stadiums with Japanese sensation Char, continued to the Berklee College of Music, and to many (outside of the underground jazz scenes of the East Coast) seemed to culminate in the supporting tours of his 2000 release "Dan on the Moon," produced by David Z (Prince's "Purple Rain") and featuring Sam Sims (Mariah Carey, Cher) on bass, Lil' John Roberts (Janet Jackson) on drums, and Warren Haynes on guitar. "Dan on the Moon" was considered by many to be the defining album of a new genre which jam fans immediately dubbed "space funk," though it explored many styles from fusion and funk to soul, blues, prog rock, and even classical piano.

Now, with his hunger for traditional jazz somewhat satiated, a new album on the way, and a new audience of burgeoning jam fans in need of a vaccination from all things dull and jaded, Dr. Dan Matrazzo joins world-renowned backing band and recording artists The Looters for a series of short tours throughout the Southeastern US.

The shows begin October 4th in Savannah, Georgia where Dr. Dan and The Looters will be hosting an after party jam for his long time friends Widespread Panic at the new music club Retro on Congress. Some very special guests are expected to appear, and the set list will include music from "Dan on the Moon" as well as Looters originals from an upcoming release and covers ranging from the 70s funk of Billy Preston and The Crusaders to fusion fueled standards by artists like Herbie Hancock and The Meters, together with the occasional nod to the band's various musical acquaintances such as The Allman Brothers, Perpetual Groove, Allgood Music Company, and Rosa King.

Dr. Dan -- Watch the sparks fly from ex-Col. Bruce Hampton sidekick Dan Matrazzo's hands as he kicks into infectiously funky Crusaders-style '70s jazz-rock with his tight band and enough talent to put him in a class with keyboard whizzes of the Corea-Hancock strata. Sun., 3 p.m., Main Stage

- Creative Loafing

Those of you who are fans of the jam, the freewheeling fusion of groove-oriented instrumentals and experimental music in general, will truly enjoy the style of this veteran.

...as legions of Deadheads long for a live show that can satisfy their need for groove and rhythm that remains unadulterated, Dr. Dan seems poised to be rediscovered for his contribution to the musical landscape.

- Indie-Music.com

..you need a piano player that understands the universal equations of all things funky. I suggest one Dr. Dan Matrazzo, a dazzling finger magician who can collectively ripple the body and mind.

...Be wary, intrepid music hall traveler, Doctor Dan is a thinking man's musician. His complicated jazz meanderings instill philosophical thought patterns while his grooves morph the body into one long muscle undulation.

- Hunter Pope The Smoky Mountain News

Aspiring to the title of "keyboardist supreme," once held by Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Dr. Dan Matrazzo releases a debut solo album, Dan on the Moon, that may well prove him to be that virtuoso. Dan begins his sonic journey with the medium groove "Prowler," where he explores a catchy rhythmic motif to its fullest with vivacious soloing. Band mates Lil John Roberts lays down an incredible percussion foundation as Sam Sims thumps out a funk-filled bottom end. Dan follows with "Rollin," where he and Mica Roberts provide some Metheny-style vocals and a breakdown that would send most jazz pros back to the practice room. The sophisti-funk jam called "Shock Treatment" picks up the beat with Dan's scat and an acoustic piano bridge that segues into a Hendrix-like turnaround featuring a blinding solo by Gov't Mule's Warren Haynes. Dr. Dan and Haynes then treat listeners to a trade-off exhibition that's supernatural in its might. "Uncle Hank" follows with moody jazz driven by cocktail-style electric piano, Moog bass and samples, while "Snap" offers extra-terrestrial funk mastery that harks back to the days of "Return to Forever." But moments like these are not about jazz-fusion tunes, in that the band seems to know inherently that they don't need to speed to get to where they're going. These cats are always right where they're standing. Later tracks feature more blazing guitar work by Warren Haynes, a "Sanford and Son"-style sax solo by Larry Jackson and an impressive rock song penned by Dan and his wife Nina Maria ("Move On"). And a late-album highlight, the R&B song "Timeless," could top the pop charts given the right exposure. Dr. Dan plays the Brandyhouse, Sat., August 5.

- Creative Loafing

Dan's Links
2011 Relix Article

Dr. Dan with the Allman Brothers on Pandora

Dr. Dan with Widespread Panic

Dr. Dan with the Looters on YouTube

Dr. Dan with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Fiji Mariners on YouTube

"Dan on the Moon" Album

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