Matt Marshak named best new artist in New York by CD101.9 & Absolut Vodka!

From an early age, Matt Marshak knew guitar was his calling. He would imitate Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley while his parents listened to the vinyl recordings. He took lessons as a kid, experimented with the instrument, and watched his older brother Chris play with local bands in their basement. But he didn't really get involved until he met an interesting teacher named Joey Casciano. Joey was the rare combination of fitness fanatic and guitar teacher. Intense practice regimen, dedication, commitment were stressed heavily. Now in high school, Matt would spend his high school weekends practicing 8-10 hours per day. Everything from Segovia to Satriani were his quest. He knew he had work to do. If he was going to follow his passion, he would have to dedicate his life to the instrument.

Out of high school, Matt began studying with Berklee Alumni Rich Rabatin. Rich introduced Matt to the approaches of Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, and various blues and Jazz players. Soon after in College at SUNY Geneseo, Matt joined a blues band called "promise of a new groove." He dug up the stylings of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, Wilson Pickett, Buddy Guy, BB King among others. His roommate at the time was a great straight-ahead sax player named Joseph Yoon. Joseph would get Matt to accompany him at small cafes. Music by Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis were all part of the set.

After college, Matt did what many kids on Long Island do--he joined a popular cover band. Playing out 5 nights a week, covering all the latest top 40 hits, rock n roll classics, and dance music too. After 3 years straight, Matt knew it was time to spread his wings. Original music, writing, the unknown all became the focus. Matt would spend countless nights in Manhattan soaking in blues, jazz, songwriters, and whatever else he could get his eyes and ears on. One night he had the amazing experience of hearing Larry Carlton at the Blue Note. Matt met Larry after the show, and was so blown away by his melodic bluesy jazzy sculpted sound, and his peaceful personality. This was sure a life changing moment. Matt also began writing with a great band called Miller Place, songwriters Jack Licitra, Lucy Bonilla, Theresa Sareo, and Leslie Mendelson. Clubs such as the Bitter End, Lions Den, Living Room, Village Pub, Sage Cafe were spots they performed. One night while performing, guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore entered the room and watched Matt's every move. Matt was afraid to even start a conversation, but it was Blackmore who pulled Matt aside and complimented him on his tone, feeling, and ability to restrain and play for the music. This proved to be Matt's turning point.

After some time playing as a sideman in many groups, singer-songwriter projects, Matt decided to do what he always wanted to do--an instrumental guitar project. The writing began, and then soon after the project attracted the likes of Paul Simon Bassist Bakithi Kumalo, Tower Of Power saxman David Mann, Phoebe Snow Keyboardist Dean Kraus, among others. Matt headed into the studio and the album to be was entitled "preservation." The album was a tribute to groups such as The Crusaders, Stuff, and Steve Gadd's Gadd Gang. Funk, modern shuffles, and tasty melodies were the underlying vision.

A dedication from a younger player to his influences. The album got some attention and Matt played 100's of gigs around NY selling his release. The album caught the eye of some of contemporary jazz’s biggest names.

Matt persevered, and while reflecting on the horrible tragedy in NYC, decided to really give back to kids, the community. He designed a unique program called "music with matt." Matt started visiting preschools, elementary schools, childcare centers spreading the joy of music. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Matt sought out to perform for kids and put smiles on faces. To this day Matt still makes time to give back to children and spread the joy of music.

While working on his album This Time Around, Matt and manager at the time Jenn Phillips heard of a contest that CD101.9 in NY was holding. A sort of take on American Idols search. Except they were looking for the "best new jazz artist in NY." Reluctantly and not much for contests they submitted their demo. Soon after the phone rang and Matt was in the running. Well, after a few rounds, the kid from Long Island was named "best new artist in NY." He got airplay on WQCD 101.9 and a special Sunday segment on his life and music. The airplay continued and he got a chance to open for Jeff Golub, Richard Elliot, Peter White, Steve Cole.

With the recent buzz, the group starting playing relentlessly across NY, slowly building a following. Stations across the globe started playing tunes. Ted Hasiuks Jazz Cafe in Canada, England's Echo Smooth Jazz, Jeff Charney's KC show, and others. With the momentum promoters asked Matt last summer to open for artist Peter White at a charity called "Jazz at Sunset" for MS. They raised $15,000 and Matt had a chance to play on stage with one of his influences--a truly joyful time. Since then, Matt has devoted much of his time to Multiple Sclerosis and performing to help find a cure. Matt was also asked by Long Island concert promoter James Faith to open for Spryo Grya and Stanley Jordan at the first ever Hilltop Jazz Fest. 2004 was quite a year Matt and the group.

Currently, Matt has been drawing nice crowds at a regular spot in Huntington Long Island called "Fiddleheads." On one specific night, super jazz group Fourplay was playing at the neighboring theatre. After their show let out, fans of Fourplay couldn't help from notice this guy next door pouring it out. The club owner opened the door, and literally 150 people crammed into the small cafe. Since that night, Matt has been generating crowds and selling out shows of 75-100 people per show at this small venue. The word is out in NY.