Guitarist Matthew Stevens (USA) is “a singular talent brimming with a strong identity” (DownBeat) who “navigates with ease among jazz, indie-rock, and soul” (NY Times). With his stellar trio of bassist Zack Brown and drummer Eric Doob, his second album Preverbal (Ropeadope, 2017) showcases his diverse stylistic mastery, at times warm, robust, fluid, and emotive, spurring a new path into a post-rock meets jazz crossover.
“You’ve got that excitement of improvisation but you’ve also got the thrilling style of composition that doesn’t fit into any kind of genre and I think that’s one of the beautiful things about it.” JAMIE CULLUM, BBC RADIO 2
"Less a song and more a total soul cleanse…undeniable virtuosity..." THE FADER
"…honest, heavy but soulful..." PITCHFORK
"This music advances the ideals of modern jazz..." NATE CHINEN, NPR/WBGO
Born in Toronto in 1982, one of Stevens’ earliest influences was Jimi Hendrix. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2004, Stevens began to show up everywhere, as an essential element of the important new work by strong young artists like Christian Scott, Terri Lyne Carrington, ERIMAJ, Sean Jones, Walter Smith III, Linda Oh and, notably, Esperanza Spalding, in whose Emily’s D+Evolution project Stevens is key.
His playing has been met with critical acclaim: In 2016 DownBeat Magazine included Stevens in their 25 for the Future issue and placed him in their Annual Critics Poll Rising Star Guitar Category. His performances have been continually lauded in DownBeat Magazine, NPR, PopMatters, Billboard, the New York Times, the Guardian, and more.
In 2015, he released his debut album as a bandleader under Whirlwind Recordings/Crystal Math. Titled Woodwork, it received enthusiastic reviews from DownBeat Magazine, The Kansas City Star, The Ottawa Citizen, Jazz Wise Magazine, Jazz Times Magazine, The Irish Times, Jay Z's Life and Times and more, and was described as “an amalgamation of modern jazz and neo-fusion elements which showcase…sonic versatility and savvy producing chops” in LA Weekly. Its iTunes feature review praises Stevens’ “immense melodic gifts and deceptively intricate playing.”
“Of the young guitarists on New York’s jazz scene, few are as highly tipped as Matthew Stevens.” – NPR
“Stevens is a singular talent brimming with a strong identity.” – DownBeat Magazine
“Matthew Stevens is a young guitarist who navigates with ease among jazz, indie-rock and soul. “– The New York Times
“Matthew Stevens has become one of the world’s most exciting up-and-coming jazz guitarists.” – iTunes Music Editor’s Choice
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