Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Journeying beyond jazz: Matt Von Roderick's "Hero's Journey"‏

Listening to trumpeter-rapper-visionary Matt Von Roderick’s “Hero’s Journey” is like entering into an entirely different world, a colorful sonic adventure unlike any other. Bopping through experimental jazz grooves, traversing imaginatively-textured EDM tracks and bouncing to vivid lyrical wordplay via deftly delivered raps and vibrant vocal harmonies, Von Roderick guides you to the precipice of pop music before brazenly pushing you over the edge, Cheshire grin upon his countenance, knowing full well that if you surrender to the sensual beats and electronic rhythms, and believe that the possibilities of musical alchemy are limitless, you will land safely after encountering soaring tales of love, hope, heartache, empowerment, spiritual thirst, revolution, raw ambition, desire and longing.

To take the genre-bursting journey, one previously taken by artists labeled “jazz” decades ago for their bravura, improvisational and independent spirit, is a heroic undertaking – one without the benefit of commercial airplay and Billboard charts let alone a corporate-presented concert tour. Von Roderick took the leap anyway. Making the twelve-song album that he wrote (except for an ambient take on Louis Armstrong’s classic “What A Wonderful World”), the award-winning artist used a series of videos to pave the way for the record release, clips that have generated over 4.5 million YouTube views. With the dream of mounting a national tour in the offing, Von Roderick has one big show planned for Thursday, March 17 in Hollywood at The Sayers Club where he will bring “Hero’s Journey” to life with an elaborate staging of music, dancers, costumes, choreography and visual effects in creative collaboration with Creating Arts Studios. 

Prior to relocating from New York City to Los Angeles where he changed his name and completely reinvented his sound, the New York Times, DownBeat and Huffington Post sung the praises of earlier works by Von Roderick who was then known as Matt Shulman. “Hero’s Journey” is the debut disc under his new name. 

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