Jazz clinic presents San Diego band, Neu Jazz Trio


San Diego based band, Neu Jazz Trio was invited to a Jazz Clinic at ARC to share with students about the music world, Monday Nov. 7. (photo by Lidiya Grib)

Lidiya Grib

American River College music department held a jazz clinic presenting bandleader Matt Smith and the Neu Jazz Trio to educate jazz students on the realities of pursuing a career in music on Monday.

Instrumental jazz students were given advice from the band on what to do after college in the music world and how to market their music during the jazz clinic.

The Neu Jazz Trio is a group from San Diego consisting of drummer Smith, bass player Mack Leighton and guitarist Horace Bray.

“People appreciate craftsmanship quality (brands)” explained Smith. “It’s about having your records and presenting it the right way”.

He explained that it was important for bands and musicians to build portfolios of their work.

“You need to have photos, videos, and CD’s,” said Smith. “Take hold of technology.”

Bray explained that to build a career musicians must get as many gigs as they can.

“You get to build your career, which is the fun part about this,” said Bray.

Smith explained their process booking their current tour from sending hundreds of emails of their concerts to making use of other technology means to spread their music.

Smith focused on building a brand, name, and image to successfully present and market a band in a way that will interest people.

Smith and his band were invited to ARC as one stop of their tour series, and will have three other gigs in Sacramento.

Smith, Leighton and Bray each composed a jazz piece that they combined with their musical instruments.

All students, including those studying music were invited to hear Neu Jazz Trio play their jazz pieces and learn how the band furthered their career in the music world.

After playing their songs, each musician gave background details into their lives and how they got to where they were.

Smith is a songwriter, teaches piano, trombone and drums.

Leighton studied for a major in geography and minor in music, and later went back to school to get his masters in jazz music.  

Leighton talked about his experience as a musician as he first began with getting gigs on ships playing ballroom dance, playing in nightclubs and slowly working his way up to Jazz gigs.

“I got to go all over the world by working on ships,” said Leighton.

Bray studies at the University of Texas where he now lives. Bray was in the jazz band One O’clock in Texas before joining Neu Jazz Trio.

Neu Jazz Trio play most of their gigs in 98 Bottles, a restaurant and bar in San Diego.

ARC will be presenting a Voice Clinic, a free master class in solo singing with Voice Professor Catharine Fagiolo on Nov. 18.

ARC vocal students are eligible to perform by audition, and observers from the community are also welcome. The event will be held in the ARC Music Department, Room 547.