Montana State University

Matzinger to host evening with New York Jazz All-Stars April 17 at the Ellen Theatre

April 9, 2012 -- MSU News Service

Bozeman native Ryan Matzinger, who teaches saxophone at MSU, is bringing three friends and jazz greats to Bozeman April 17 in a concert he said will rival those at the top jazz clubs in New York City. The concert at the Ellen Theatre, which he calls the New York Jazz All-Stars, features Matzinger and bassist Nat Reeves, pianist Jeb Patton, and drummer Richard Sellers. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.    High-Res Available

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman jazz fans will benefit from relationships developed over decades when Ryan Matzinger hosts three friends and jazz greats in a concert set Tuesday, April 17, at the Ellen Theatre.

"I feel the best jazz music is born of resilient friendships and a shared desire to keep a uniquely American art form alive in every corner of the world," said Matzinger, who teaches saxophone at Montana State University's School of Music. The Bozeman native will share the stage with three of his "dearest friends and mentors," who form a group he calls the New York Jazz All-Stars. Other musicians include bassist Nat Reeves, pianist Jeb Patton, and drummer Richard Sellers.

"It's a new group, but an old friendship, and (jazz is) really about our friendships," Matzinger said. He said the Bozeman audience is in for a treat for the musicians are all "active in the current international jazz scene with bios that read like a guide to 20th century jazz."

Matzinger said the show will be one "you'd be lucky to see at a great club in New York," including ballads, bebop and blues, and a handful of original compositions.

Reeves, who is co-director of The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, is a close friend and longtime mentor of Matzinger. He has toured and recorded extensively with jazz legends such as Pharoh Sanders, Pat Metheny, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Garrett, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland and Jackie McLean.

"Nat took me under his wing (while I was )at Hartt; he would come pick me up in Fridays after jazz harmony class and take me to sushi(I had never been being from Bozeman), and then over to his house to jam or listen to records or just talk about jazz and being a musician," Matzinger said. "It was priceless, invaluable and sine of the best moments of my life. We have remained dear friends ever since."

Patton currently teaches jazz and classical piano, and musicianship courses at colleges in New York, tours and records with jazz luminaries the Heath brothers(Jimmy, Percy, and Albert "Tootie"), and was the last active piano player in the historical Modern Jazz Quartet. Matzinger and Patton studied under tenor legend Paul Jeffrey while at Duke University, but had met earlier at a summer jazz festival in Aspen. The two played in the Duke jazz ensemble together, as well as for guest artists at the North Caroline International Jazz Festival.

"Jeb is one of my musical heroes," Matzinger said."I can't wait for people to hear him play the piano."

Drummer Richard Sellers is currently touring with jazz trumpet master Terrell Stafford, while running a private teaching studio in San Diego. He and Matzinger have recorded and played extensively throughout Southern California.

"Richard and I ... used to hang at a local authentic Mexican place in San Diego to make the jazz jam session and keep our jazz 'chops' up while not on the road," Matzinger said.

Matzinger said the four friends have wanted to get together to perform in Montana for years.

"So through some creative thinking with Greg Young (interim director of the MSU School of Music) and the generosity of Montana State University and The Ellen Theatre, we were able to pull off this amazing get- together. It really is going to be an incredible evening. These are the real deal cats, straight from the jazz capital of the world!"

A pre-reception with beer and wine in the lobby of The Ellen will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the concert beginning at 7:30 PM.

Tickets are $12 for students and $22 general admission, and are available at The Ellen Box Office or online at:

Ryan Matzinger (406) 994-5743,