The AMP Trio: Hot and Ready!
Adrianne Murchison, Staff Editor
The Velvet Note Acoustic Living Room
The musicians of AMP Trio have a global reach similar to that of The Velvet Note: Friends around the world with a love and appreciation for jazz artistry. In fact, the title of AMP Trio’s upcoming album, “Go-Naïve”is inspired by a friend who invited them to perform in Japan back in 2012.
AMP Trio, featuring vocalist Tahira Clayton, takes The Velvet Note stage on Saturday, September 7, performing tunes from four albums, as well as their soon-to-be-released fifth record.
“We are going to be coming pretty hot,” drummer Matt Young says. “We will all be in Atlanta and with our new music.”
Matt Young, Perrin Grace and Addison Frei met about seven years ago while attending the University of Texas and discovered they have a few important things in common. They’re fans of acoustic bands, and similarly influenced by the likes of Phineas Newborn Jr., Blue Mitchell and Oscar Peterson.
“We were probably sophomores in college and had been playing in a fusion band that was pretty much opposite of what we do in this band,” Matt says. “It was a loud, crazy intense energy and we missed playing acoustic music.”
So the drummer, pianist and bassist formed AMP Trio. Matt lives in Atlanta and the other band members reside in the New York City area. Before coming together each had received international acclaim.
First prize in the 2017 Parmigiani Montreau Jazz Piano Solo Competition is one of Addison’s numerous honors.
Germany, South Korea and The Netherlands are only a few countries where Perrin has performed.
And in addition to Matt’s globe travels, in 2015 he took part in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, a two-week international residency project at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.,
AMP Trio’s many collaborations with Tahira – whose rich harmonic voice captivates audiences – include top honors at the 2017 DCJazzPrix international band competition in Washington D. C.
“We push each other and share the same music morals,” Matt says. “We know that we can rely on each other, and represent each other in a way that we trust.”
The Velvet Note sets a high bar that the trio takes pride in reaching, Matt adds. For the upcoming show, the crowd can expect the band’s new music to be a little more groove driven than their previous albums, he says. “Perry’s [compositions] are definitely darker songs, tonally and texturally.”
Not too long after AMP Trio came together, the band received their first invitation to Ofunato, Japan, a port city shattered by the tsunami of 2011.
“We go back to Japan every summer,” Matt says. “Eiko Konno, the host, brought us over one time after finding us on the Internet and listening to our music. She’s a big classical music buff, and an incredible classical pianist.”
Eiko’s invitation was on behalf of a cultural program and government grant that would introduce AMP Trio’s jazz music to citizens of Ofunato.
“They had a newly built performance hall,” Matt recalls. “The tsunami was tough on them. It’s crazy because you go there now and everything is brand spanking new, ‘[with the exception of some structures] and artifacts that were on higher ground.”
It’s Eiko, who is the muse behind AMP Trio’s new album title.
“She and Perry had become pen pals, and when we visited she asked, ‘What did you think of me when I emailed you out of nowhere,’” Matt explained. “Perry said, ‘If that’s what it takes to come to Japan, let’s go naïve.’”