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Matthew Whitaker Matthew Whitaker

Born in 2001 in Hackensack, NJ, Matthew Whitaker grew up surrounded by music. His love for playing music first began at the young age of 3, after his grandfather gave him a small Yamaha keyboard. At 9, Matthew began teaching himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ. Four years later, he became the youngest artist to be endorsed by Hammond—in its 80+ year history. He was also named a Yamaha Artist at 15, becoming the youngest musician to join the stellar group of jazz pianists.

Matthew has had years of music instruction, currently studying classical piano and drums at The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music in NYC. It is the only community music school for the blind and visually impaired in the US. He also attended the Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege Jazz Program. He previously studied at The Harlem School of the Arts and was a member of both the Jazz House Big Band and the Organ Messengers at Jazz House Kids in Montclair, NJ.

Matthew has received the “Outstanding Soloist Award” from Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival and the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. He was also recognized by the Harlem International Film Festival, which named him “Most Remarkable Young Person on Screen.”

He’s already toured both here in the US and abroad, performing before The Youth Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in NYC, and on other world renowned stages, including: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC; SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival and at international venues in France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Portugal, Japan, Spain and Morocco.

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”Matthew Whitaker is only 18, and he’s also blind, but the musicianship, arrangements, and band leading skills displayed here would be equally impressive were this album made by someone with five times the experience.”  “Now Hear This” - Jeff Tamarkin, JazzTimes Magazine

“With plenty of buzz already behind him, 18-year-old Matthew Whitaker lives up to expectations on Now Hear This...” - Bob Doerschuk, Downbeat Magazine

“The Ronnie Scott's debut of Matthew Whitaker was an absolute beauty.  What a fantastic talent and a great musician he is at such a young age.  The kid turned the place up side down!” Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club - London England

“He's not extraordinary because he's blind.  He's extraordinary because he's extraordinary.”   Ray Chew - Musical Director/Producer 

 ”The two standouts of Saturday's performances were born 66 years apart.  Keyboardist Matthew Whitaker is likely the first bandleader born in the 21st century to play the festival.  Whitaker is only 17 and blind, but his consciousness of the crowd was stronger than the average jazz bandleader

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Marc Cary Marc Cary
piano
Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Dr. Lonnie Smith Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Art Tatum Art Tatum
piano
Rhoda Scott Rhoda Scott
organ, Hammond B3

Photos

Albums

Album Now Hear This by Matthew Whitaker

Now Hear This

Resilience Music Alliance
2019

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Album Outta the Box by Matthew Whitaker

Outta the Box

Jazz Foundation of America
2017

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