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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 toured both here in the US and abroad, performing on 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, Playboy Jazz Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival and at international venues in France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Portugal, Japan, Spain, Morocco, and South Korea.​

​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 an appearance on the syndicated TV talk show Ellen and a segment on the most-watched news magazine on television 60 Minutes

2019 & 2020, Winner of the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award for his original compositions “Emotions & Underground!"


The ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award" - 2019 for his original song 'Emotions!" The Harlem Stage Emerging Artist Award - 2018 7 Rising Stars - 201 Magazine - 2018  Young Futurist - The Root - 2018 20 under 20 as a performing artist. - Crain's Business New York breakout list  - 2017 17 people to watch in New Jersey - The Record - 2017 Visionary Excellence Award - Insightful Visionaries - 2017 Young Audiences NY 2017 Arts Honoree Award - 2017 International Goodwill Ambassador Award - City of Hackensack, NJ - 2017 Hometown Hero Award - Tri-Arc Community Development Corp - 2017 The ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award - 2017 Showtime at the Apollo - Winner - 2016 The ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award - 2016 Outstanding Soloist Award - Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival -  2016 Outstanding Soloist Award - Charles Mingus HS Competition and Festival - 2016 Most Remarkable Young Person on Screen - Harlem International Film Festival - 2016 Community Service Award - County of Bergen New Jersey - 2014  Joint Legislative Resoultion from The Senate and Geneal Assembly of The State of New Jersey -  2012 Dream Tree Foundation Scholarship -2012 African American Heritage Parade Cultural Award (Next Generation Jazz Musician)  Irwin Widelitz Scholarship – 2011 Bergen County Division on Disability Services Salute to Champions Award - 2011 Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders Salute to Champions Certificate of Commendation Award Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition Salute to Champions Award - 2011 Bergen County Special Services School District Salute to Champions Award - 2011


Yamaha Motif XF8 - Yamaha CP4 - Hammond B3 - Hammond XK5 - Hammond SK2 - Hammond XK3-C Yamaha 20" Stage Kit - Moog Sub 37 - Fender Rhodes 73 - Roland RD 800 - Roli Seaboard Rise 49


"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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Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Art Tatum
Rhoda Scott
organ, Hammond B3




Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Just Groovin'

Phaze II Publishing


Fade To Black

Afrasia Productions



Resilience Music


Now Hear This

Resilience Music Alliance


Outta the Box

Jazz Foundation of America



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