By Michael Dunn
CALGARY – Leaving a city and scene you’ve developed a solid professional reputation in can be a daunting challenge for a young musician, but Matt Coldwell of Rotary Park is viewing his impending move to Toronto with a lot of optimism, and sees the move as an opportunity to grow as a player.
“I decided to move to further my musical studies at the University of Toronto,” says Coldwell, who, in addition to handling the upright bass in Rotary Park, has backed up a number of local singer-songwriters such as Mariel Buckley, Carter Felker, Amy Nelson, and Justine Vandergrift. “I figured it was a gamble but applied and got accepted for jazz bass. It was a tough choice to leave such an amazing music community, but with Calgary not having a university jazz program, I was forced to look elsewhere to develop my knowledge and skills further. Studying is the next step to becoming the player I want be and I look forward to my journey ahead.”
From their formative days busking throughout the city, Rotary Park developed a distinct style of bluegrass in Calgary, rearranging contemporary covers, learning the classic standards, and developing the sound that has made them one of Calgary’s best young roots groups. “Busking was a great experience, it allowed me to realize the possibility of a career in music,” says Coldwell. “We were able to practice together four hours a day, as well as promote our music. I noticed my playing and passion improved dramatically, and built friendships that have lasted years.”
As Coldwell prepares to head east, he’s gather–ed his mates in Rotary Park, and his experimental, improvisational group Mode to play one last gig at The Ironwood. According to Coldwell, Mode is “an improvisational ensemble with no boundaries genre wise. The idea is to have a project where I can play with any assortment of musicians, bringing a unique experience to each show. The music is mainly improvised but the line up at The Ironwood will feature Jeremy Gignoux, Nathan Godfrey, Gus Moberg, and Alex Ginella. Mode takes influences more from the gypsy jazz realm, while adding a good dose of blues, funk and free jazz.”
Matt Coldwell’s farewell show and live recording with Rotary Park and Mode is tonight at 8pm at The Ironwood Stage & Grill. $15Matt Coldwell, Rotary Park and Mode, the Ironwood Stage & Grill