OUR ARTISTS

MATT EAKLE
Matt's first musical memories are of his mother, a piano teacher, playing Chopin and Debussy as he drifted off to sleep. As a toddler, his three older brothers (one played the guitar, one the clarinet and the oldest played the violin) would sing him musical phrases and he would mimic them back. That Matt Eakle would grow up to be a musician is no surprise, but no one would have ever predicted that he would become the first flutist in the history of dawg music.

"It's a quirky thing," said Eakle. "Through playing dawg music, I've gained a reputation as a flutist who can play virtually any style of music - jazz, classical, folk, bluegrass, rock, Brazilian, Arab, Klezmer, Japanese, you name it - I love it all."

Matt Eakle's flute has enriched and enlivened the sound of dawg music for nearly eight years. Matt, in addition to being a great soloist, is a true team player in the David Grisman Quintet, playing (and singing) percussion parts during Joe Craven's violin passages, and using the flute in countless innovative ways to support the other players.

"When Matt steps up to the microphone," says his boss, David Grisman, "I know that here's my chance to really lay that rhythm down, and when he and I play a tune together in unison, it's hard to tell us apart. In the DGQ, we're known as the Melody Brothers."

Matt got his start on the flute in the Roosevelt Junior High School Band in Richmond, California, where he grew up. He took flute lessons from a teacher who listed among his favorite musicians Bela Bartok and Jimi Hendrix. He studied classical flute off and on for 10 years, but instead of seeking a career in the symphony, Matt chose to pursue his eclectic musical tastes with his flute. That included everything from playing for tips on the sidewalk in front of Ghirardelli Square to forming a jazz ensemble with the great guitarist Davis Ramey, Matt's jazz mentor.

Matt met David Grisman through a mutual friend in 1985 and played his first gig as a DGQmember in November of 1989 at Yoshi's in Oakland at shows featuring the quintet and special guest Vassar Clements. "One of the nicest things about playing with David has been the opportunity to play music with his friends - Vassar, Tony Rice, Stephane Grappelli, Jerry Garcia, Frank Wakefield, Mark O'Connor and Bonnie Raitt..."

Matt is featured on four Acoustic Disc CDs: "Dawg 90," "Dawgwood," "Dawganova," "DGQ-20" and is a special guest on others: "Not for Kids Only," "Shady Grove" and "Latin Touch." Matt recently recorded "Flute Jazz," an Acoustic Disc project of his own. "It's my first feature album doing exactly what I want to be doing," said Matt. Flute Jazz is a collection of Matt's original compositions and jazz standards featuring Davis Ramey, who has been Matt's musical partner and teacher for the past 15 years, and Harvie Swartz, the fine bassist (Andy Statman Quartet, Stan Getz and others).