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Matthew Stevens

An acclaimed, genre-bending guitarist, Matthew Stevens is known for his expansive post-bop harmonies and stylistic forays into post-rock, hip-hop, electronic music, and modern creative jazz. Building upon the pioneering approach of guitarists like Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, and John Scofield, Stevens initially garnered attention in the 2000s for his work with Grammy-nominated trumpeter Christian Scott, and has contributed to albums by such similar maverick artists as Esperanza Spalding, Ben Williams, and Harvey Mason. He has also issued his own cross-pollinated albums, including 2015's Woodwork, 2017's Preverbal, and 2018's In Common with saxophonist Walter Smith III and In Common 2 in 2020. The following year, Stevens released Pittsburgh, his first collection of solo guitar compositions, before reuniting with Smith for 2022's In Common III. Born in 1982 in Toronto, Stevens initially started out on the piano at age seven and switched to the guitar around age 11. He developed an interest in jazz and eventually graduated from Boston's Berklee College of Music in 2004. It was while at Berklee that he befriended acclaimed trumpeter Christian Scott. Following their time in college, the musicians began touring and recording together, working on albums like 2006's Grammy-nominated Rewind That, 2007's Anthem, and 2012's Christian aTunde Adjuah. Stevens was also a member of the modern hip-hop, jazz, and fusion group Next Collective, recording 2013's Cover Art. In 2015, Stevens released his debut album as leader, Woodwork, featuring Next Collective bandmate Gerald Clayton on piano, as well as bassist Vicente Archer, drummer Eric Doob, and percussionist Paulo Stagnaro. He also found himself working on projects with a bevy of forward-thinking luminaries, including Ben Williams, Harvey Mason, Linda May Han Oh, and more. In 2016, he contributed to bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding's album Emily's D+Evolution. Stevens returned to his solo work in 2017 with Preverbal, mixing his guitar with synths, sampling, and electronic programming, again working alongside drummer Doob and bassist Archer. The following year, he paired with saxophonist Walter Smith III for the inventive acoustic session In Common, featuring vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Marcus Gilmore. That same year, he again worked with Spalding, contributing to her Grammy-nominated effort Twelve Little Spells. Stevens reunited with saxophonist Smith for In Common 2 in 2020, this time working with bassist Linda May Han Oh, pianist Micah Thomas, and drummer Nate Smith. In 2021, Stevens realized an ambition by releasing Pittsburgh, his first set of original solo compositions for guitar. He then returned to his work with Smith for 2022's In Common III.
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