Born and raised in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, guitarist Matt Richards grew up in the culturally fertile cross-currents of the late 1960s. His musical pathway opens in the mix of folk, rock and psychedelic music that defined that decade and eventually guides him into the hyperactive jazz-fusion of the 1970s. Initially a self-taught player, Matt began earnestly developing the technically advanced musical abilities necessary to be part of that highly-energized genre. As his musicianship developed, he discovered straight-ahead jazz and classical music and began incorporating the acoustic guitar in various projects. He assimilated Spanish, Latin American and various world influences while developing a unique fingerstyle approach to solo guitar.
With his acoustic performances, Matt gathers musical styles and influences together to create his unique approach to solo guitar. He has been featured at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival, NAMM Winter and Summer Shows, the Montreal Guitar Show, One Month Festival of South Korea, Twilight at the Barnes, Daniel Pearl Music Days and Welcome America celebrations. In 2015, Matt established the locally-based Solo Guitar On A Saturday Morning live series. He has been featured and interviewed on a variety of televised programs, including Cafe Improv, Miles of Music and Puerto Rican Panorama, and performed on-screen in the independent film Smoke And Mirrors.
In addition to his solo work, Matt has collaborated in duos with guitarists Larry Coryell and Tony Hughes, flutist Katherine Barbato and vocalists Jay Katz and Phyllis Chapell. Matt's Power Trio Project, his newest electric guitar-driven jazz-fusion trio, is a showcase for the energized, interactive talent of master improvisers. The group includes bass guitarist Tony Donato and drummer Paul Albrecht.
Matt has also worked with a broad range of musical artists, including Joey DeFrancesco, Mike Clark, Kenwood Dennard, Essra Mohawk, Herbie Nix, Adrian Valosin, Elio Villafranca, Bobby Zankel and Bill Zola. He has performed as support for Peppino D'Agostino, Richie Havens, Phil Keaggy, Dave Mason and Paco Pena. He's also worked as a mostly-anonymous session musician on innumerable recording projects.
A current faculty member at the Ambler Music Academy and Cheltenham Music & Art, Matt served as Head of Faculty at FrankfordStyle School for Creative Arts and as Music Program Director for Zanaras Music Stores. He conducts guitar-based workshops and masterclasses and has co-hosted a workshop on improvisation with Kenwood Dennard at Berklee College.
Matt received the Best of Lafayette Hill Bands & Musicians business award for 2016 and 2017.
Matt's sixth release, the solo-guitar recording Balance, was released in Spring of 2017. In May of this year he released the all-electric Power Trio Project, featuring bass guitarist Tony Donato and drummer Paul Albrecht.