2019 debut album. Jazz.
The precocious 17 year old American Jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker is releasing ‘Now Hear This’. Musicians three times his age dream of playing on the same stage as Stevie Wonder, but Matthew Whitaker was only ten years old when he opened for the legend of jazz, pop and gospel at the Apollo Theatre in New York. Whitaker himself has often been compared to Wonder because of his talent, and also because he was born blind.
Whitaker has created a truly remarkable album combining original compositions and covers of songs that have influence him throughout his life - supplementing his virtuoso piano skills with soulful Hammond organ and coloristic synthesisers.
‘Now Hear This’ teams Whitaker with a stellar all-star band featuring guitarist Dave Stryker, bassist Yunior Terry, drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., and percussionist Sammy Figueroa. Keyboard great Marc Cary and flutist Gabrielle Garo also make special guest appearances. The album was overseen by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Brian Bacchus, who has worked closelywith the likes of Gregory Porter, Norah Jones, Randy Weston and Sullivan Fortner, among others.‘Now Hear This’ is a perfect summation of Whitaker’s evolution to date.
Having already appeared on the Today Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show as well as receiving praise from Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, Whitaker is quite literally the inspiration that resilience can have on a person’s life.
Endorsed by both Yamaha and Hammond, he’s enjoyed a remarkable career already, receiving the Harlem Stage Emerging Artist Award and the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award among other honors. His promise has only begun to be fulfilled, as he prepares to enter Juilliard as a freshman this fall as the first blind undergraduate student to join Juilliard’s Jazz Study program.