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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.

Matthew has performed with an array of outstanding musicians: Ray Chew, Christian McBride, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rhoda Scott, Cameron Carpenter, Regina Carter, Jason Moran, Jon Batiste, Cory Henry, Marc Cary, Arturo O’Farrill, James Carter, Roy Ayers, D.D. Jackson, The New York Pops Orchestra and with Hamiet Bluiett and his Bio-Electric Ensemble.

In 2010, Matthew was a winning participant in the “Child Stars of Tomorrow” competition, as part of Amateur Night at the Apollo. A year later, at just 10 years old, he was invited to perform at Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame. He returned to the Apollo for FOX TV’s revival of SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO in 2016, where he won the audience over with his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic “I Wish.” Matthew has been on national and international radio and television, which includes the TODAY SHOW documentary series "Boys Changing the World," HARRY CONNICK JR SHOW and an appearance on the syndicated TV talk show ELLEN!

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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

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

Photos

Concert Schedule

May 20 Sat

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Connections

Resilience Music
2021

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Now Hear This

Resilience Music Alliance
2019

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Outta the Box

Jazz Foundation of America
2017

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Videos

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