New Jersey Stage

Friday, December 2, 2011


(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ)-— On the heels of a successful double album release this spring, Mike Montrey Band (The MMB) have teamed with In Focus Productions to produce the illuminating 20-minute documentary, Inside the Basket. The film takes a rare and penetrating look at the world of recording, amidst the evolving landscape of the current music industry. With older structures crumbling and new methods for creation and distribution emerging everyday, Inside the Basket is an intimate look at one band's determination to stay fresh, vital and authentic in a sanitized world that praises swift mediocrity over process and substance.

To record Weaving the Basket, released on April 30 -- The MMB's first studio album since 2008's A Perfect Reality -- the band decided to innovate by getting back to the source: art for art's sake and the visceral experience of music performed in front of an audience. On January 29, The MMB offered the public an opportunity to hear Weaving the Basket recorded live, in two two-hour sessions at intimate Retromedia Studios in Red Bank, N.J. With the live show presented in a recording studio rather than a club, in front a silent audience who influenced the players' spontaneity and showmanship through their presence, a special musical ambience was created, one trumping the isolated production atmosphere of typical recording and overlays.

It was The MMB's gift to their fans. Both showings played to a packed house, and the event was a critical and media darling throughout New Jersey. The In Focus Productions crew was on hand to capture the energy of the experience. Inside the Basket features a selection of live takes from the two sessions, as well as band interviews and raw footage. The documentary will be released online via The MMB's YouTube channel, with an accompanying release party at The Old Bay in New Brunswick on Saturday, December 17. Inside the Basket's celebration will double as a holiday bash, in the very seat of the band's loyal and diverse fanbase.

The MMB are long known as masters of innovation, both musically and in business savvy. With this, their first documentary, they've gathered the potential of several inventive avenues by which hardworking, independent bands might thrive outside of an outmoded, labeldominated system.

Hailing from central New Jersey, enigmatic frontman and lead guitarist Mike Montrey formed the nexus of what would become The MMB in 2008, and it's been a nonstop ride ever since. Members Rob Smith (drums), Anthony "Duke" Duca (bass), Karl Dietel (keyboards), Hayden Wright (tenor sax) and Adam Garnys (alto sax) spin a jazzy, zoukinspired mix of tender, emotive numbers and raucous improvisational tunes, simultaneously appealing to jazz aficionados, the contemplative singer-songwriter milieu and the jamband elite. Montrey's lyrics and vocal stylings are at once playful and reflective, offering, against the collective mastery of his players, a spine-tingling and distinct listening experience. The band's first studio effort, A Perfect Reality, enjoyed a nomination for Top Release of 2008 by the prestigious Asbury Music Awards (AMAs) and debuted at #29 on the radio charts. The single Tin Can was a Relix Magazine Jam Off! selection.

The MMB have been nominated at the AMAs for four years consecutively, where they were also asked to perform in 2010.

The band continues to garner accolades. Saxophonist Hayden Wright has been nominated, for the third consecutive year, for Best Multi-Instrumentalist in the 2012 AMAs. With a stream of successes at their side, The MMB have re-entered the studio to work on new material, and will release a highly anticipated EP and music video in the spring of 2012. It promises to be an exciting 2012 for The MMB!

Inside the Basket was shot and edited by Mike Pinchiaroli at In Focus Productions. Find more information about the December 17 release show and holiday party at The MMB's YouTube channel is