Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Garrison, Matt (Matthew Justin)

Garrison, Matt (Matthew Justin), bassist; b. New York, NY, 2 June 1970. From an early age he would sing the bass lines to songs on the radio. His parents were bassist Jimmy Garrison (1934-1976) and dancer "Maya" Roberta Escamilla Garrison. Born in San Francisco, his mother at 5 years old began studying at the San Francisco Ballet School under the tutelage of Harold Christiansen. Moving to New York in '66 to join Jimmy Garrison, she studied there with Merce Cunningham, Dan Wagoner, and others. She also plays piano and guitar.

Matt's parents separated and then divorced, but they remained close and when Jimmy was dying of cancer they remarried just before he died on April 7, 1976. In 1978 or 79 Maya relocated with Matthew and older sisters Maia Claire (now an accomplished dancer) and Joy (a jazz singer) to Rome, Italy, where he began to study piano and bass guitar. In 1988 he returned to the United States and lived and studied with his godfather, Jack DeJohnette, for two years. He also studied with Dave Holland. In 1989 won the Louis Armstrong Award (Onteora, 1989) and received a full scholarship to Berklee College and soon began gigging with Gary Burton, Bob Moses, Betty Carter, Mike Gibbs and Lyle Mays. He has recorded with Pat Metheny, Joe Zawinul, Salif Keita, Steve Coleman, Bob Moses, Alex Acuna, Nando Lauria, Gil Goldstein, Lyle Mays, Jim Beard and Rashied Ali. He has traveled on world tours with Zawinul, Steve Coleman, Moses, Burton, Rashied Ali, Tiger Okoshi, Bela Fleck and Nando Lauria.

He has also performed, toured and recorded with Josh Redman, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Mike Gibbs, Roy Hargrove, Dennis Chambers, Ravi Coltrane, Bela Fleck, Kenny Burrell, Mike Stern, Joey DeFrancesco, Fareed Haque, Arto Tuncboyacian, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman and Richard Galliano.

His wife Veronika was born in Aarhus, Denmark in 1980 and was raised there and also for 5 years in Iceland (her mother's birthplace; her father was Danish).

He endorses Fodera Bass Guitars, Labella Strings and Epifani Speakers.

Articles/reviews in Downbeat, Bass Player, Pat Metheny Newsletter, Guitar Player, New England
Performer, Bass Magazine (France) and Guitar & Bass (France)

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