Born: March 15, 1959 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Guitarist Matt Richards is one of a few contemporary musical artists who effortlessly bridges musical styles while maintaining a unique identity. While many listeners and critics are familiar with his genre-stretching fingerstyle acoustic work, others associate him with straight-ahead jazz, playing both electric and fretless guitars. Though both identities may seem distinct, they definitely belong to this one musician.
Born and raised in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Matt grew up in the culturally fertile cross-currents of the late 1960s. His musical pathway opens in the mix of folk, rock and psychedelic music that defined that decade and eventually guides him into the hyperactive jazz-fusion of the 1970s. Initially a self-taught player, Matt began earnestly developing the technically advanced musical abilities necessary to be part of that highly-energized genre. (During his tenure with the jazz-fusion group New Light, Matt was dubbed 'the most originally creative guitarist on the Philadelphia scene' by the Philadelphia Bulletin. As his musicianship developed, he discovered straight-ahead jazz and classical music and began relying more on the acoustic guitar. He assimilated Spanish, Latin American and various world influences while developing his unique fingerstyle approach to solo guitar.
He has been featured as a solo artist on a variety of televised programs, including Miles of Music and Puerto Rican Panorama and performed in the independent film Smoke And Mirrors. In addition to a broad range of venues, Matt has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreal Guitar Show, Summer Sessions at The Grand, National AIDS Awareness Day, Daniel Pearl Day and SUNOCO Welcome America celebrations.
In addition to his solo work, Matt has performed in acoustic duets with guitarists Larry Coryell, Jim Goodin and Emiliano Pardo, bassist Bill Zola and flutist Katherine Barbato.
Matt has performed with a range of established artists, including Mike Clark, Starr Cullars, Joey DeFrancesco, Cafe, Kenwood Dennard, Essra Mohawk, Herbie Nix, Steve Oliver, Marlon Simon, Adrian Valosin, Elio Villafranca, and Bobby Zankel. Gospel vocalist Paul Middleton and rocker Nate Hawk feature Matt's electric playing on their CD releases.
Matt is a current faculty member at Cheltenham Art & Music Center and the Ambler Music Academy. He frequently conducts clinics and master classes in conjunction with his performances and is currently preparing instructional articles detailing his playing technique and his personal approach to performing and arranging.
Matt releases include: In This Single Moment (2000), Dayside (2004), One In Mind (2008) Trio (2009) and his solo retrospective As You Are (2011). He is currently working on a new solo guitar recoding, Balance.
Currently performing with Matt are Kenwood Dennard or Adrian Valosin (drums) and Steve Beskrone (bass) Matt does make guest appearances with other artists and includes all information on his calendar.
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Lafayette Hill, PA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
I am currently affiliated with two private music schools in the suburban Philadelphia PA area accepting students from teenage to adult. I also accept a limited number of private students. Please contact me for additional details.
Drawing upon over 38 years of playing music and 20 years of teaching guitar, Matt Richards conducts both workshops and masterclasses for groups and provides personal musical instruction for individuals at all levels of musical ability. In his workshops, Matt provides insight into the mechanics of playing the guitar and the factors utilized to create music. Depending upon the audience, the focus of his workshops will vary from more generalized (how a guitar produces sound, playing styles, components of music) to player-specific (technical aspects of the guitar, playing techniques, musical components, equipment). Regardless of the audience, Matt plays both technical demonstrations and complete performances during every workshop. Matt’s masterclasses are intended for individuals with at least a moderate level of musical experience. Conducted in small groups (two to six players with their instruments), Matt focuses on specifics of technique, sound, style and music theory with each participant playing and interacting directly with Matt. Through personal musical instruction Matt has worked with a sizeable number of individuals ranging in ages from 6 to 75 years of age, from complete beginners to seasoned players. As most programs held in conjunction with concerts are limited in time to one or two days, a player with at least a moderate level of ability will benefit the most from an individual lesson. Matt provides specifics regarding playing techniques, rhythm, scales and performance suggestions for contemporary electric, jazz, classical and modern fingerstyle players. Matt is currently discussing arrangements with Godin Guitars to coordinate educational activities. Please contact Matt for additional information.