Matt Davis’ Aerial Photograph brings glimpses of New York City to Johnny Brenda’s on 1/4

Matt Davis' Aerial Photograph | photo via
Matt Davis’ Aerial Photograph | photo via

Guitarist/composer Matt Davis left Philadelphia in late 2008 to study at the Manhattan School of Music, but before making his exit he created a unique, kaleidoscopic musical portrait of his longtime home. “City of Philadelphia, 2008” was composed for a year-long residency at the late South Street club Tritone, where Davis determined to create a new suite of music each month for his chamber-jazz ensemble Aerial Photograph. He conducted a series of interviews with diverse communities in the city – senior citizens, immigrants, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, children – and wrote pieces inspired by those conversations, often incorporating audio from the recordings themselves into the music.

Five years later, having become somewhat settled in Manhattan, Davis set out to replicate the project in his newly adopted home. “City of New York, 2013” wrapped up just before the calendar did with a gig at Brooklyn’s ShapeShifter Lab, and now Davis is returning to Philly to perform music from both of the projects with Aerial Photograph at Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday night.

Founded to meld ideas from the jazz and classical worlds, inspired by Davis’ love for Ravel’s String Quartet in F major, Aerial Photograph joins string players with jazz musicians to form something between an adventurous chamber ensemble and an unusually intimate and impressionistic big band. Following a year of relative inactivity with the band in 2007, Davis was casting about for a way to work more with the band when inspiration struck during a haircut on South Street. Continue reading →