Matt Lemmler


Matt Lemmler is considered to be one of the most original musicians (piano, vocal, arranger, composer, educator, producer) to recently emerge from the birthplace of jazz. Raised just blocks away from the home of legendary New Orleans pianist/vocalist Fats Domino, Matt remembers a childhood in the Lower 9th Ward where music constantly filled the house. Matt, his brothers Richard, Jr. and Michael (also a great New Orleans pianist-bandleader), and his father, Richard, Sr., (a retired professional musician); played jazz and classical piano around the clock. After earning a Bachelor of Music from Loyola University and a Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music in NYC, Matt came back to the Big Easy and sharpened his skills with some of New Orleans finest bandleaders including: Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band (over 100 years old); Herb Tassin and the Blue Room Orchestra, and master clarinetist Pete Fountain.

Matt discovered his passion for arranging and composing at an early age. As a teenager, Matt studied arranging with Grammy award-winning Tony Klatka and jazz piano with Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the Marsalis family and John Mahoney, Jazz Department Head of Loyola University. While at Loyola, Lemmler arranged and composed for multiple ensembles, toured Eastern Europe with the Loyola Chamber Orchestra, performing his own composition Elegy for Jazz Piano and Chamber Orchestra. Later, while completing graduate work at Manhattan School of Music, Matt's arrangements, compositions, piano performance debuted at Carnegie Hall.

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.

After the huge success of Lemmler and Brillant's first collaboration, Matt (while still in Houston, TX) was hired once again by Brillant in 2006, to serve as his musical director/contractor for his next CD recording, Histoire d'Un Amour. On this project, Lemmler arranged & conducted for a 16 piece big band and 30 piece orchestra featuring 60's/70's pop cover tunes. Histoire d'Un Amour was one of the first major recording sessions tracked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. One year after the storm, New Orleans was still reeling from the devastation. However, instead of recording in Paris, New York or Los Angeles, Matt encouraged Brillant to record in the Big Easy. Lemmler hoped recording in New Orleans would bring new life and hope to his hometown.

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.

Matt Lemmler

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