Growing up in rural New Hampshire injected Matt with a deep spiritual connection communicated by the simplicity, beauty and truth of nature. As a child he had the opportunity to visit extended family in Boston and with that cultural exposure, he fell in love with the musical styles of the African diaspora: Jazz, Blues, Reggae & Afro-Latin Music. Later as a young man with a penchant for seeking the deeper understanding of life, he became extremely interested in the spiritual-socio-political-economic conditions of human kind, always wondering why we couldn’t do better. This, combined with his intense creative drive, provides the bedrock for nearly all of Matt’s artistic output as a talented keyboardist, singer, composer, arranger and educator.
Just before the turn of the century, Matt completed a masters degree in Jazz studies at the New England Conservatory of Music and then began his professional career playing keyboards in the various Boston music scenes. Quickly noticed for his groove and ability to get funky as well as his arranging chops, Matt soon headed out on worldwide tours, most notably with the great blues guitarist Ronnie Earl. After making his mark on that scene, the maestro of New Orleans soul, singer Johnny Adams came knocking and Matt was again out on the road. The double barreled Blues and Soul Ph.D. he got from those two on the bandstand and on the road (as well as the steady bread), allowed Jenson to settle back in Boston and flush out some ideas he’d been having regarding his attraction to Caribbean music, especially his simmering love for Bob Marley and the extensive repertoire and styles of the iconic Latin pianist and composer Eddie Palmieri. The universe came with an answer to Matt’s musical loves and almost simultaneously he had the opportunity to study piano with Mr. Palmieri and to dive deeply into the music of Bob Marley.
In regards to the latter, Matt joined the piano faculty at the Berklee College of Music and created a smash hit performance studies class entitled “The Music and Life of Bob Marley.” Each semester he directs a select ensemble of talented young musicians and teaches them about the socio-policital circumstances around Bob’s life. This class has given Matt many opportunities to plumb the depths of Marley’s life and music, including numerous trips to Jamaica where he has connected with many who were in Marley’s inner circle. Most notably Matt has performed with Judy Mowatt and worked with Rita Marley taking part in the “Africa Unite” event in Ghana, West Africa in 2007.
Matt is a multi/culti/genre musician with unbridled passion and drive to positively transform humanity, just as he himself has been transformed by the music, humanity and socio-political message of his own mentors. He wishes to do the same for others through his own music and pass the message on. His arrangements and original compositions (including some very powerful lyrics) for Rebel Tumbao (a collaborative project with percussionist Jose Claussell bringing forth “Afro-Latin-Roots-Reggae”) and his soon-to-be released solo album “Dragonfly Taxi” (with his Liquid Revolution Band) mark two contributions to the long line of musical rebels who have helped to break barriers and spearhead essential resistance to destructive mindsets, policies and institutions.