“Our older brothers had a huge influence,” says Jonathan Mattson, who is one-half of jazz duo the Mattson 2. “My brother Mike played in Kut U Up. They toured with, like, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, and Blink-182. They did the Pop Disaster Tour.”
But it was their father who introduced them to traditional jazz. Jonathan names 1960s icons such as Lee Morgan and Art Blakey. “It definitely was not smooth jazz.”
Jonathan and Jared Mattson are 24-year-old twins, both UCSD students who have already released two CDs and have toured the U.S., Japan, Brazil, and Europe. Jonathan describes their music in this way: “We follow in the jazz tradition with a head, a theme, and a solo.” In the end, he says, the sound of Mattson 2 is more like straight-ahead jazz but informed by an unlikely element: the vibe of surf culture.
“To be honest,” Jonathan says, “we didn’t listen to much surf music. But we have attracted a surfer audience over the years. At first, I was bummed. I didn’t really want to be called surf music. But after a while, I got more into it. It has a cool attitude.” A good thing, because Jonathan says their audience is composed mainly of surfers. “It all began when we started playing shows for Thomas Campbell.” Campbell makes surf films. “He had us play sets in theaters before his movie premieres.” Those shows were the first occasions that the brothers appeared in public as the Mattson 2.
Does being twins help when it comes to playing jazz, a live genre known for musical revelations made at something approaching the speed of light? “I definitely think so.” Jonathan says he and his brother do the musical equivalent of finishing each other’s sentences. “We can really read each other when we play. Just like when we’re talking,” he says, “there are moments when we say the same things musically.”
- Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 8 p.m.
- Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego