Ray Barbee Meets the Mattson 2

Ray Barbee Meets the Mattson 2
Galaxia Records
2007
Artwork by Geoff McFetridge
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Ray Barbee Meets The Mattson 2 is a rare creative collaboration that came into my life at just the right time. Ray Barbee first entered the public eye in the 80s as one of the first famous African-American skaterboarders. It wasn’t until 2003 when he released his home recorded debut EP, Triumphant Procession, on Galaxia Records that he gained a reputation as a musician. Now it’s hard to distinguish the musician from the skatboarder, and Barbee’s effortlessly smooth and improvisational approach to skateboarding could not be more apparent in his music.

Twin brothers Jared and Jonathan Mattson make music under the name The Mattson 2. The Southern California guitar and drum duo have a truly unique take on straight-ahead instrumental jazz. Their sound is only amplified by their innate talent and twin telepathy. Like Barbee, the Mattsons found an eager advocate in Thomas Campbell—filmmaker, artist, and co-owner of Galaxia Records. Campbell had been following and encouraging the Mattsons since they were 15. He slowly brought them into the Galaxia family, recruiting them to play art exhibition openings, movie premiers, and gigs with some of the Galaxia roster.

While recording their debut record in 2005, Introducing the Mattson 2, Campbell suggested Barbee guest on a track. Although Barbee’s part was just added to the studio recording, the collaborative potential was undeniable and the creative seed was planted. Not long after, Barbee was scheduled to play two nights at {open}, a bookstore in Long Beach. Not wanting to do the same performance twice he asked The Mattson 2 to play one of the shows with him. As expected, the rehearsal for the performance went exceedingly well and the three knew they needed to strike while the iron was hot and make a record as a proper trio. After 3 months of preperation they were ready. Ray Barbee Meets The Mattson 2

was recorded in August of 2006 at The Hangar Studios in Sacramento California, and aptly produced by Campbell. Melding the Mattson’s fluid musicianship with Barbee’s sunny guitar work, the record is a love letter to jazz and California summers.

Geoff McFetridge’s whimsical jacket artwork brings the endeavor together. McFetridge reinterprets the jazz LP cover, replacing the traditional portrait with a delightfully simple drawing of the three meeting represented by their hands holding tiny instruments.

I’ve listened to Ray Barbee Meets The Mattson 2 in headphones on the train, I’ve blasted it out of the boombox in my garage, I’ve listened to it in the car on road trips, and I’ve played it out of shitty phone speakers while cooking dinner. I haven’t listened to it the way you are supposed to listen to jazz records though. I haven’t pulled it off the record shelf, taken it out of the sleeve and put it on the turntable. This is my favorite way to enjoy music—archaic, tactile, intentional. I needed that experience with this record.

There are a number of sources for one off vinyl records. I recommend researching which method will work best for your needs. Our original goal was to press one copy just for us—the entire 52 minutes. This wonderful album is just too long for a single LP though. It’d have to be a double. An investment that would have to wait for the time being. Arbitrarily lobbing off a few track didn’t seem right, neither did a 4-6 track sampler. After a bit of research, we decided that a 12″ single would be the most natural choice. Two studio tracks on side A and a live recording exclusive to the Japanese CD release on side B.