Matt Jenson

Assistant Professor
617 747-2835

“I am best known at Berklee for creating and teaching a class called The Music and Life of Bob Marley in which students not only learn the inner workings of Marley’s inspired music and the roots reggae idiom in general but they also learn about the deep sociopolitical roots of Marley’s life. I am constantly trying to engage the talented young musicians in the class to understand the powerful connection music has to social justice movements, and to challenge them to tackle current issues using Marley’s experience as inspiration.

"I hope that I am able to plant a seed in my student’s minds, hearts, souls, and music that will bring clarity, truth and healing to the planet and to humankind. Music has the power to do that! In addition, the Marley ensemble represents the college in many professional-level live performances, which gives students opportunities to hone their craft as performing musicians.

"My background is in jazz and blues improvisation and everything I teach is heavily influenced by the theoretical and practical understanding of what’s involved with learning these styles. That said, my biggest love is developing the discipline and teamwork of groove ensemble playing with the goal of unleashing an ecstatic communication with fellow band members and the audience. The music I love most is intimately tied to dance and movement!

"I teach private piano lessons, a Hammond organ lab, and a Latin piano lab that focuses on Afro-Cuban style. In each of these settings I work to tailor what I teach to the personality and interests of each individual and provide a well-rounded and disciplined approach that delves into topics such as improvisation (not just in jazz and blues, but in pop, rock, R&B, funk, reggae, and Afro-Cuban styles), technique, theory, groove and feel, songwriting, singing and vocal accompaniment, and arranging. I have developed very effective and creative techniques for getting an idea or concept across, and I have a great many well-developed handouts that are inspiring, fun, and get results!"

Career Highlights

 

  • B.A., University of New Hampshire
  • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
  • Leader of Matt Jenson and the Liquid Revolution, and Combo Sabroso. Member of Federator No.1 (Afrobeat) and Beantown Social Club (Afro-Cuban)
  • Performs with Johnny Adams, Los Pleneros del Coco, Mighty Sam McClain, Mambo Combo, and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters
  • Studied with Eddie Palmieri, Geri Allen, Ran Blake, and Dave Holland
  • Recordings include: One Drops, Spirituals and Riddim, This is Acid Reggae (2001), Dragonfly Taxi (Matt Jenson and the Liquid Revolution, 2013), Rebel Tumbao (2014-2015 self-titled debut album, songwriter and arranger)
  • Principal instrucment: Piano, Hammond organ, keyboards
    Secondary instrument: Vocals and drum set
  • Has performed or appeared with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, New Orleans singing legend Johnny Adams, blues singer Mighty Sam McClain, Judy Mowatt (one of Bob Marley’s backup singers), Cyril Lance, Johnny Neel, and Julien Kasper. Performed in the Harry Belafonte tribute concert at Berklee Performance Center (2014)
  • Guest speaker at Afrika Unite celebration of Bob Marley’s birthday via the Rita Marley Foundation, Accra, Ghana, West Africa (2005)
  • Guest speaker at the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition, Johannesburg, South Africa (2007)
  • Has made numerous research trips to Jamaica