San Francisco, April 2016 – San Francisco’s Studio Trilogy recently hosted sessions with 17-year old jazz virtuoso Matt Wong. A pianist/composer/arranger and San Francisco native, he developed an appreciation for jazz and blues at an early age and began playing piano at age six.
Wong began composing and performing his own material for small ensembles at age 11 and gained early recognition at the world-renowned Blue Note jazz club in New York City. In 2014, he received an ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award, given to jazz composers under the age of 30.
Trilogy engineer Justin Lieberman commented, “I’ve worked with Matt before and am familiar with his great ability to work through an arrangement with musicians. Based on those previous experiences, I knew that it was important to give the players maximum communication and that line of sight was critical for Matt to be able to adjust the performance and make sure it was feeling good musically.”
Accompanying him on piano were top players from the Bay Area: Tommy Folen, bass; Jeff Marrs, drums; Max Miller-Loran, trumpet; Thomas Occhiuto, sax; and Paul Hanson, bassoon. Lieberman added, “They are really an awesome group of musicians. In situations like this I try to do as much pre setup as possible, so that when the musicians get in the room they can get straight to hammering it out.”
In both 2014 and 2015, Wong won both the Gerald Wilson Award at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Composition and Arranging Award for big band composition at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival. In 2015, he was a winner in three categories of Downbeat magazine’s 38th Annual Student Music Awards, including Jazz Instrumental Soloist.
Lieberman explained the recording set-up, “For Matt, I put B&K omnidirectional microphones on the piano hammers and a Neumann 149 at the foot,” Lieberman continues. “ I used a large diaphragm Neumann M269 on two of the horns and a Royer 121 ribbon mic on the trumpet. For drums I had a Wunder CM7 on kick, a Shure 57 and a Sennheiser 441 on snare, with AKG 452’s overhead. Bass was a Neumann 269 at the bottom and a Royer 121 where the neck meets the body.”
Wong commented on the sessions at Trilogy, “Working at Trilogy was a blast for me. I went in to record and document some of my new compositions. It was really a treat and a great opportunity to get to work with some of my favorite musicians in such a great studio. Justin made the entire process of recording really easy, smooth and seamless, and allowed me to focus on the music and working with the musicians. I really like how the tracks came out and I definitely look forward to working there again.”
In 2015 at the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wong won the student composition and arranging contest. He was introduced by Wynton Marsalis and conducted the performance of his piece by the Jazz At Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He currently attends the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. http://www.toojazzy.com