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Jazz Monthly: Yes, But yet I can also say, Mat, a great compliment I can give to you as a fellow drummer is, you know I remember as a kid, and I’m sure you do too. We’re probably contemporaries right…


MM: I was a kid so long ago I couldn’t remember anything. (Both Laugh)

Jazz Monthly: Back in the sixties I remember buying a new album, a lot of those Impulse Albums the ones that look like wallets… they open up.

MM: Oh sure.

Jazz Monthly: Yeah they were the first of their kind. And I remember buying an album for the drummer, whether it was Roy Haynes or Philly Joe, you know I loved it. But the problem is, as of late a lot of drummers have a tendency that it’s all drums. And here I am, a drummer, and yet it’s too much drums for me. It’s kind of like eating ten éclairs. You know what I mean?

MM: I understand what you mean exactly. I was in a drum shop yesterday and the guys were telling me about this young guy who’s on you tube and they said “he’s all over the place it’s ridiculous. He’s got so much chops, so much this and that… he’s burnin’… he’s like the number one guy on you tube.” But what I want to know is can he play a tune?

Jazz Monthly: There it is.

MM: Can he play music? Sure, a lot of guys can play the drums. That’s a physical thing. Can you play music? That’s what I want to know.

Jazz Monthly: That’s right.

MM: When I started listening to Jazz, as a drummer I wasn’t listening or buying it for the drummers. I got to know all these drummers like: Tony Williams, and Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes and Donald Bailey and Grady Tate, because I was buying Coltrane’s albums, and Miles’s albums, Jimmy Smith’s albums you know. I got to know Joe Morello because…


Jazz Monthly: Brubeck

MM: Yes, Brubeck albums. There were a couple of guys like Buddy Rich that you would buy because of Buddy Rich.

Jazz Monthly: Of course. There’s only one Buddy.

MM: Like, I went to the Drums from the music. Whereas today, a lot of guys who want to learn how to play jazz, went to the music from the drums. My first interest was the music and the melodic and harmonic parts of the music. Their first interest as kids was a drum set, and they want to learn and play the drum set. Play fast. Then later on as they got older and they start playing these gigs and they say, “Hey there’s got to be something more,” They hit a brick wall technically. And they realize they didn’t get the right training because they were too busy trying to just play the drums. They go to the music from the drums.

Jazz Monthly: That’s a great point Mat. You're right. So many drummers, I guess, have the tendency to put too much “Gravy” so to speak. Too much gravy on the tune when you don’t need all of those garnishes and they're going a hundred miles an hour in “park” so to speak. But the compliment I’m giving you, in listening to this CD “No Lesser Evil” is that NO, you’re making music, and there are times you laid back especially on tunes like: “I Can’t Get Started” or “You’ve Changed.” Where Mat Marucci is just grooving. Man he’s just locking in he’s letting the sax player, Doug Webb, blow over it.

MM: Gotta play for the music man. That’s all there is. You gotta play for the music.

Jazz Monthly: I know Mat that you're too modest to say it but for many years you’ve been a "first call" drummer in the Sacramento area and even out of LA. People would say “If you want to make the band better, if you want it to swing, if you want it to be musical, put Mat Marucci on the gig."

MM: Well Joe I try to do my best for the music, but at the same time my personality’s in there to. I can only play what I can play. You know the story of Jeff Porcaro one time when he was in the studio and he was trying to do something and someone said “Can you do the thing like Vinnie?’ And without any malice and very honestly and sincerely he said, “Why don’t you get Vinnie to do this track?”

So if you try to play like someone else, your not gonna be able to do it number 1, because you don’t have their head and secondly, you lose your own identity. So I try to play for the music, but I have to do it the way I hear it and feel it myself.

Jazz Monthly: Excellent point Mat. Now you have a new release coming out soon?

MM: Yes, It’s called “Partners In Crime” and it’s being release next week.

Jazz Monthly: Is that a Cadence release?

MM: Yes, Cadence Jazz Records.

Jazz Monthly: That’s great Mat, in closing, what’s on the horizon along with your CD. Are you teaching?

MM: Well I’ve been traveling and playing a lot, but when I’m home, yes, I’m busy teaching and I’m always willing to set up clinics. I have a new snare drum method that’s coming out with Mel Bay that I expect to be out this year. I also have a new Jazz Manuscript called “Jazz Drumming Essentials” and three articles with “Modern Drummer.”

Jazz Monthly: Outside of that you’re not doing anything, right?

MM: (Both Laugh) Outside of that I don’t have anything else to do, although I just wrote three new tunes last week.

Jazz Monthly: And that’s what really sets you apart, being a composer as well as a drummer. You know I say jokingly you’re a drummer, an author, a percussionist, an educator, and a clinician, the only thing you don’t do is catering and you probably could do that too, right Mat?

MM: Listen, I’ve got two kids in college, if you pay me enough… (Joe Caroselli and Mat Laughing)

Jazz Monthly: Listen, before we go, you were talking about the Mel Bay Books, that’s great, very prestigious. Mel Bay music publication has been around a long time. One of the books that jumped out at me, as a drummer, is it’s titled: “Fifteen Minute Warm Ups” for the drums. Now that’s great. That’s something that’s so needed to get you ready right?

MM: You know that was the original. The original was “Fifteen Minute Warm-Ups For Drums” and it was fifteen exercises that I put together as kind of like a Masterclass and it came with a CD of me demonstrating the warm-up exercises. It was developed, Joe, because it was the actual warm-ups that I do before a gig. But they expanded the book and now there’s another one called, “Drumming Facts, Tips and Warm-ups.” It includes that section with the CD, but it also has a lot of information on sticks and cymbals and drumheads… how to pick them out, what the difference is between them. How to smooth out the long roll and get that secondary accent. Playing over the bar lines and things like that. There’s a lot of information and the book is only I think, $7.95. And it comes with a CD. It’s such a great book. And it’s in their “Quick Guide” series.

And I also have that “Finger Techniques” book. Because I dug Joe Morello so much, I was always fascinated by the finger technique that he had, and so I just always searched out different finger techniques and tried to find as much information as I could on him and one day I put it al together in a book. So there are a couple of pretty good things on there that I’m proud of.

Jazz Monthly: Wow! You should be proud of everything and again, we talk about multi-faceted and … you sure are. So check out Mat Marucci’s latest CD coming out right now, “Partners In Crime.” Mat Marucci, thank you so much for being with us and being part of

MM: You’re welcome. And thank you for asking me to do this interview. It’s a real honor to be asked!

Joe Caroselli

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