Matt Darriau

Matt Darriau is a composer, bandleader and multi-reedist. He first appeared on recordings of the Boston large ensemble Orange Then Blue in 1986. His interest in other musical influences than what is commonly regarded as jazz was evident even then. “Balkan Bounce,” a Darriau composition, was recorded in 1986. It can be considered the precursor to many of his later work over the next twenty years. Darriau can swing with the best (as can also be heard on recordings by the 30s and ’40s jazz-focused Bandin’ the Jack), but traditional Balkan and klezmer, Celtic and Gypsy influences have always been an important part of Darriau’s musical universe. OTB and Darriau’s New York-based Paradox Trio record Darriau giving traditional folk music a modern improvisational spin. He writes new songs that combine old-world and contemporary influences and shows masterful soloing skills on a variety of instruments, including saxophones, clarinets, pennywhistle and slide whistle. Darriau formed Paradox Trio (actually, a quartet) in 1991 after moving from Boston to New York. It was one of the first groups to give traditional ethnic music a distinct downtown feel. Darriau was certainly part of the first wave, which included Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, and Brad Shepik, who introduced Eastern European and Middle Eastern rhythms and melodies to the downtown scene. Source, the third Paradox Trio CD, was a fitting summary of the multi-cultural influences that have shaped much of Darriau’s recorded output. The 1999 album saw the group exploring music from the Ottoman Empire. This is where East and West meet and co-mingle, forever influencing art, culture, and society for most of the 20th Century. Source and other Knitting Factory discs by the band have been lost, but Paradox still existed in the mid-2000s with festival appearances and the 2005 release of Gambit on Enja. Darriau is not only a Paradox Trio member, but he has also performed with Orange Then Blue and the Klezmatics. They are a modern interpretation of Yiddish roots music and include the Celtic-influenced Whirligig, the polystylistic les Miserables Brass Band, and Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars. From

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