Blostein - Sperrazza Quartet

Blostein - Sperrazza Quartet

BandJazz

"Bona-fide jazz with an uncommon accessibility."

Biography

Matt Blostein and Vinnie Sperrazza met in 2002 at the Banff International Jazz Workshop, in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Roughly a year later they met up again in New York City and decided to organized an ensemble. Their group gathered a following through recordings and shows, but Matt and Vinnie quickly realized that to set themselves apart from the flock of groups nightly flooding the stages of NYC’s jazz clubs, they had to find their own approach.

That approach included a ‘diversifying’ effort as Matt and Vinnie describe it, in which they began assembling radically different ensembles for various one-off performances. As Vinnie put it, “Those shows and recordings were research and development, and we learned so much from them. They changed the way I thought about leading an ensemble, and they had a profound effect on how I composed.”

By early 2006, Matt and Vinnie had begun to settle on a musical concept, sound, and personnel for the ambitious album they were envisioning. The aim was to encapsulate all of the various musical experiences and interests they shared: the improvisational techniques and sound of jazz, plus the energy and power of rock music, with one eye always watching for a moment of pure free improvisation. To get all of these into one album was a tall order.

But after a long day of recording at Systems Two Studios in Brooklyn, Matt and Vinnie knew when they heard the rough mixes. It was all there, somehow. They had pulled it off.

MATT BLOSTEIN has been performing music since the age of four. He joined his father’s band at the ripe age of eight, playing keyboards and working several gigs a week. The saxophone became his focus when he began lessons in elementary school. Jazz gigs around Pittsburgh continued to nurture his creative pursuits, and in 1998, Matt moved to New York after being awarded a 90% scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music.

He attended the 2001 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In the same year Matt was selected for the Ravinia Steans Institute for Young Artists, where he worked with James Moody and Danilo Perez. In 2002 he was invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland as a competitor in the White Foundation Saxophone Competition. The same year he attended the Banff Centre Jazz Program led by Dave Douglas. In 2003 Matt participated in the Aspen Snowmass Jazz Academy led by Christian McBride. In 2004 Matt toured with the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Noveau and in 2005 he toured and recorded with the Tim Collins Group featuring Ingrid Jensen. This group is releasing an album in February 2007 entitled “Valcour” on Arabesque Records.

Matt has worked with internationally known artists including Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, Dick Oatts, Mark Turner, Kenny Werner, and New York musicians such as Jacob Sacks, Aaron Parks, Kim Thompson and Oriente Lopez. In addition to throughout the US and Canada, Matt has performed in Thailand, Switzerland and throughout the Caribbean.

Born and raised in a small town near Utica, New York, drummer VINNIE SPERRAZZA began studying drums with his father at the age of 8. After gaining valuable professional experience in the small jazz clubs of Utica, he went on to earn a BA in Jazz Studies from William Paterson University. While at William Paterson, he met world-renowned pianist James Williams, and in 2000 they embarked on a tour of Japan. These were the first performances of a relationship that lasted until Mr. Williams’ passing in 2004. Under the auspices of Mr. Williams, Vinnie participated in many memorable concerts and club appearances, and had the privilege of working with Clark Terry, Bill Mobley, Steve Wilson, Richard Davis, and Mulgrew Miller.

A resident of Brooklyn, Vinnie has recently been involved in a variety of creative projects including work with contemporary vocalist Yoon Sun Choi, singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer, a trio with pianist Jacob Sacks and Dave Ambrosio, and a marimba/woodwind duo with saxophonist/clarinetist Matt Renzi.

Discography

Blostein-Sperrazza Group - (full length album)

Set List

Sets are 45 minutes to 1 hour long. Depending on the venue and audience, we will play different mixes of traditional jazz standards and our original music.

Some of our originals you might hear are:

Red
Ursa Minor
Kuleet Enpark
Juniper
Triangle
Hey Jax
Lift Off
Conroy

A sample of some jazz standards we play are:

Without A Song
What Is This Thing Called Love?
Summertime
Green Dolphin Street
I Remember April