Berklee's Witness Matlou Trio to Perform in Costa Rica

Nick Balkin
July 16, 2012
The Witness Matlou Trio. From left: Sang-ouk Jung, Patrick Simard, Witness Matlou.

The Witness Matlou Trio—a Berklee student group signed to the college's label, Jazz Revelation Records—was invited by the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano (CCCNCR) to perform at the Promising Artists of the 21st Century performance series in San Jose, Costa Rica, July 23 to 30. For over 65 years, organizers have brought talented students from prestigious universities in the United States to perform in the weeklong program of events. 

The Witness Matlou Trio—pianist Witness Matlou, drummer Patrick Simard, and bassist Sang-ouk Jung—performs on Friday, July 27 at the Eugene O'Neill Theater, in San Jose, as well as at clubs, public schools, and facilities for special needs children. The trip is presented by Jazz Revelation Records (JRR) in collaboration with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI). Accompanying the group will be BGJI Managing Director Marco Pignataro. "Many of the artists on our roster belong to both JRR and BGJI," says JRR Executive Producer Kevin McCluskey. "We thought it would be exciting to work with them on this project." 

Pianist Witness Matlou was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since his parents could not afford to buy him a keyboard, he took music lessons at a community center, and performed at his church. He went on to attend the Jazz Studies program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa. He received a four-year, full tuition scholarship to Berklee in 2010, through the college's Africa Scholars Program, and recently was accepted into the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz institute, founded by Grammy-winning pianist and composer Danilo Pérez. Prior to attending Berklee, Matlou studied at Drake University in Iowa, where he formed a trio and performed at Des Moines Arts Festival, and toured Europe with the Drake University Jazz Band. 

Patrick Simard, 20-year-old drummer and percussionist, was born in Hull, Quebec. Before he had any formal training, he experimented with different sounds, taking advantage of the remote location of his childhood home, in the middle of a forest near Ottawa. At Berklee, he has performed with Phil Wilson's big band and the Art Blakey Ensemble, and studied with Hal Crook, Terri Lyne Carrington, John Pattitucci, Danilo Pérez, and others. Simard is also an award-winning composer who has written for various competitions and commercials, as well as for his own group. 

Sang-ouk Jung, a native of Busan, South Korea, started playing bass at age 17. Prior to enrolling at Berklee College of Music in 2010, he studied jazz at Kyung Hee University, and toured Asia teaching jazz workshops with Juilliard Jazz Artistic Director, drummer Carl Allen, saxophonist Ron Blake, and others. Jung has performed at the Hi Seoul World Festival, and on various national TV shows.