Guitarist Matthew Stevens Talks About Stripping It Down, Musically Speaking, on The Checkout

Nov 4, 2017

Music may be one of the first modes of human expression. As Matthew Stevens also notes, about his latest album, Preverbal: “the need to express ourselves has existed far earlier than our need to make sense of it.”

In other words: stop overthinking, go back to basics, and try to conjure something authentic, which is usually a challenge for any modern-day jazz player. On this Checkout podcast, Stevens says that he takes his own advice on Preverbal. He throws away music notation altogether, embracing the process he once did in high school: creating music only by ear, with some of his closest friends, Zach Brown (bass) and Eric Doob (drums). 

Also in this show, Stevens provides insight on Esperanza Spalding’s Exposure project. Spalding recruited Stevens and several other A-list artists to a L.A. studio and posed a challenge: create 10 original songs from scratch within the span of 77 hours, and webcast that whole experience live. Below is one of the more magical moments from that marathon, featuring Stevens with Spalding, Robert Glasper, Ray Angry and Justin Tyson.

Matthew Stevens performs at this year’s So What’s Next? in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

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