The New Orleans Jazz Revival
Steinway & Sons is proud to announce that Matt Lemmler has been added to the roster of Steinway Artists, a select and prestigious group including classical pianists like Lang Lang, jazz stars like Diana Krall, pop icons like Billy Joel and Randy Newman, and "immortals" like George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Sergei Prokofiev— more than 1,600 artists who make the Steinway their own. Matt is humbled by this honor: “I continue to be filled with awe as I envision the world’s greatest composers, pianists, arrangers, and conductors birthing America’s greatest classical and jazz music through your wonderful instruments – instruments created to channel music from the heavens through the spirits behind the keys. Steinway has always given me that spiritual place to flourish when I’m creating my music, as I seek to inspire and heal through music.”
New Orleans native Lemmler is an accomplished jazz pianist, vocalist, arranger, producer, and educator. Born and raised in the lower Ninth Ward, blocks away from the home of Fats Domino, Matt remembers a childhood where music filled the house. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Loyola University in New Orleans while studying with Steinway Artist Ellis Marsalis, and he received his master’s degree in Jazz Performance and Composition from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Shortly after returning home to New Orleans in 1994, he was hired as pianist for Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera, and toured the U.S. for four years. After touring, he came back to the Big Easy and sharpened his skills with some of New Orleans’ finest bandleaders: Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band (over 100 years old); Herb Tassin and the Blue Room Orchestra, and master clarinetist Pete Fountain.
In 2000, Lemmler set out to pursue his own projects and with the help of Tracey Freeman (producer for Steinway Artist Harry Connick, Jr.), recorded his first CD, Portraits of Wonder, a New Orleans jazz tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder. The music from this recording was performed to sold-out audiences featuring noted artists Brian Blade, John Ellis, and Nicholas Payton. The album garnered national attention from prestigious publications such as Downbeat Magazine and Jazz Times. “It takes remarkable ears to shape something altogether new out of tunes so deeply impressed in the public consciousness.” – Downbeat Magazine
Matt returned to the studio in 2006 to produce a compilation of New Orleans standards – and as a way to work through his grief over the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. The Music of New Orleans is a soulful and heartrending tribute to his beloved city and to all the New Orleans musicians --past and present -- who influenced him and his music. Most importantly, this CD is dedicated to his fellow New Orleanians who lost their lives and to those who have survived and continue to press on to rebuild a city like no other. “The jazz pianist was born and raised in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The city's traditional songs no longer sounded like clichés to Lemmler after the tremendous loss. 'I missed the musicians I played with and the music I grew up with,' Lemmler explains. I had four generations of family living in the Ninth Ward. None of that is there anymore, but those songs are part of who I am and made me the musician that I am.'" -Sara Cress- Houston Chronicle
After five years of exile in Houston, Matt’s spiritual awakening and musical path led him back to New Orleans to create his @NOLAJazzRevival, a fellowship of many great musicians and producers creating masterful recordings, original and educational show productions, and jazz masses and worship services. Matt and his @NOLAJazzRevival’s first mission was to release their inspirational UBUNTU cd which was inspired by hearing “Ubuntu” explained by Quincy Jones and Nelson Mandela as “the collective is stronger than the individual.” This unique name comes from the African humanist philosophy that describes interconnectedness in creativity and the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. “To record his new UBUNTU cd of reimagined religious hymns, spirituals and secular melodies, jazz keyboardist/vocalist and arranger, Matt Lemmler enlisted a community of internationally acclaimed musicians. Their common purpose was to realize Lemmler's vision of a program, inspired by his own spiritual awakening that could uplift listeners. 'Music, especially, is a very collaborative effort,' Lemmler said recently. 'Allowing artists to express themselves and not be limited is, in itself, a spiritual experience. All these energies come together to create something that is more powerful than just one person's concept.' That's why his main focus has been "UBUNTU."-Keith Spera-New Orleans Times Picayune
Currently, Lemmler serves as a Jazz Piano/Combo instructor at Loyola College of Music, and a guest clinician and featured artist, arranger and composer at schools and churches nationwide. When in New Orleans, Matt can be found producing and recording with artists and visitors to New Orleans (along with Lemmler's Steinway B) at Esplanade Studios. Matt Lemmler and his New Orleans Jazz Revival Band wants to UBUNTU with all like-minded spirits who want to raise their mission with the power of music, creativity and collaboration.
Official Steinway Artist
Check out our new website www.mattlemmler.com
Watch @mattlemmler on Steinway's Living Legends Tour