Pianist Matt DeChamplain grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut. He originally learned about music from a player piano.
“My grandparents had a player piano, and I spent hours studying classic compositions, arrangements and solos by by Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, Jelly Roll Morton and others. These were masterful pianists, composers and arrangers & I was fascinated by their musicality. They showed remarkable creativity and innovation. They laid the foundation for a lifetime of studying stride and jazz piano.” He furthered his education, first attending The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, a performing arts magnet school in Hartford, CT. It was here that he met his wife, vocalist Atla DeChamplain. They’ve been performing together since Matt was 16 years old.
Matt obtained his Bachelors Degree from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School in 2010 and his Masters from the University of Toledo in Ohio in 2012. Matt has had the privilege of studying under jazz luminaries such as Jimmy Green, Andy LaVerne, Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Jon Hendricks, Barry Harris, Dr. Billy Taylor, Nathan Davis and Curtis Fuller.
Matt’s music is rooted in a profound love for the early jazz masters. What makes him unique is his application of early jazz piano devices created by Ragtime, Blues and Stride musicians as he fuses traditional elements with modern jazz concepts.
“I don’t want to box myself in. A list of my favorite pianists is really diverse, ranging from Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and Benny Green to Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner and Gary Versace. I want to learn everything I can, and incorporate the elements of music that are meaningful to me without constraining myself to one style, or opinion. I really love the challenge of combining musical languages of different styles including stride, swing bebop & hardbop…I intend to learn and grow as a musician for as long as I am able to play the piano.” In 2013, Matt recorded a solo piano album titled “Stride-Bop” that sought to fuse the Harlem stride tradition with swing and bebop language.