Matt Jenson

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments

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Career Highlights
  • Keyboardist, composer, arranger, and performing artist with the progressive jazz-fusion reggae band Groundation.
  • Creator of the Music and Life of Bob Marley ensemble/class.
  • Recorded, performed, and otherwise worked with Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley, Chinna Smith, Ronnie Earl, Mighty Sam McClain, Johnny Adams, Julien Kasper, Cyril Lance, Harrison Stafford, Thaddeus Hogarth, and others.
  • Band leader: The Liquid Revolution (original reggae), Rebel-Tumbao (original Afro-Latin compositions and arrangements), Combo Sabroso (Latin and Reggae), Mix Up Mix Up (reggae-jazz), Federator No. 1 (Afrobeat).
  • Master's degree in jazz composition from New England Conservatory of Music.
  • Studied with Geri Allen, Dave Holland, Ran Blake, and Eddie Palmieri.
  • Has taken numerous cultural/musical immersion trips to Jamaica and leads an experiential trip to the island called "Inside Reggae."
  • Teaching private piano lessons, Hammond organ labs, Afro-Cuban piano lab and The Music and Life of Bob Marley class/ensemble (at Berklee).
  • Conducts clinics, master classes, and coaching ensembles in the San Francisco Bay area, Jamaica, New England, and elsewhere. 
  • Creator of and online reggae music educational membership website.
  • School Name
    New England Conservatory of Music
    Master of Music (M.M.)
    Field of Study
    Jazz Studies
    Date Degree Received
  • School Name
    University of New Hampshire
    State or Province
    New Hampshire
    Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
    Field of Study
    Date Degree Received
In Their Own Words

“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!"