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"Matt Lemmler is a pianist of rare originality and a point of view about standard songs that's always surprising and often quirky."
"His recurring, revolving-cast Jazz Revival Band presents an articulate overview of local music, his jazz re-imaginings of Stevie Wonder songs, and his own inspirational compositions, rendered with equal parts studiousness and spirit."
Keith Spera -New Orleans Times Picayune
“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
New Orleans Steinway Artist Matt Lemmler is a pianist, vocalist, arranger, composer, educator, and producer. Raised just blocks from the home of Fats Domino, Matt remembers a childhood in the Lower Ninth Ward where music constantly filled the house. After earning a Bachelor of Music from Loyola University and a Master degree from Manhattan School of Music in NYC, Matt toured four years with Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera. 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; Herb Tassin and the Blue Room Orchestra, and master clarinetist Pete Fountain.
In 2001, Lemmler set out to pursue his own projects and recorded his first CD, Portraits of Wonder, a New Orleans jazz tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder. The CD garnered national attention and was performed to sold-out audiences, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and featured noted jazz artists Brian Blade, John Ellis, Brice Winston, Leah Chase, George French and Nicholas Payton.
As a way to work through his grief over the tragedy of Katrina, Matt released his second CD, The Music of New Orleans. It is a soulful and heart-rending tribute to his beloved city and to all the New Orleans musicians, past and present, who influenced him and his music, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Pete Fountain, Ellis Marsalis and many others. The Music of New Orleans is a striking document which captures the spirit of creativity and freshness in Lemmler’s ensembles. Most importantly, it 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.
After five in Houston following Katrina, Matt’s spiritual awakening and music path led him back to New Orleans. His first mission was to release his inspirational UBUNTU cd which was inspired by hearing “Ubuntu” explained by Quincy Jones and Nelson Mandela as “the collective is stronger than the individual.”
To Lemmler, "Ubuntu" speaks directly to jazz and the mission of The New Orleans Jazz Revival Band. The recording features an all-star production ensemble with Brian Blade, Bill Summers, Sean Jones, Jon Cowherd, Jason Marsalis, John Ellis, Shane Theriot, Mark Mullins, Evan Christopher and many others.
Lemmler has been on tour recently in Hawaii and Portland, Oregon and is looking forward to upcoming tours in the coming months in Paris and Israel where he’ll be performing at Jazz Fests, Jazz Masses, as well as conducting clinics and workshops. When in New Orleans, Matt and his New Orleans Jazz Revival Band can be found producing and recording with artists and visitors to New Orleans, presenting the music of Stevie Wonder at Jazz Fest in April, as well as teaching and mentoring students at Loyola where he serves as an adjunct instructor.