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 Jazz Project, his current electric guitar-driven jazz trio, is a showcase for the energized, interactive talent of master improvisers. The group's current roster includes bassist Steve Beskrone and drummers Mike Clark, Kenwood Dennard or Adrian Valosin.
Matt has also worked with a broad range of musical artists, including Joey DeFrancesco, Essra Mohawk, Herbie Nix, Elio Villafranca, and Bobby Zankel. He has played in support for artists such as Peppino D'Agostino, Richie Havens, Phil Keaggy, Dave Mason and Paco Pena. Throughout the 1980s Matt 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.
Balance, an all-solo-guitar recording, was released in Spring of 2017 on Matt's FingerMusic label.