Adrian Matte is an Ottawa saxophonist, guitarist, and music teacher inspired by the classic jazz of the 1960s. His music adds a current edge to that classic sound, combining flowing melodies with rhythmic drive and a hint of romance.
A graduate of McGill University, Adrian holds a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in theory and analysis. He started off playing guitar as a boy, and he cut his musical teeth at family gatherings where he accompanied his boogie-woogie, piano-playing grandfather. “That’s where I first learned to listen, to respond, and to follow the melody.”
Like so many musicians, Adrian fell in love with jazz as a teenager the first time he heard the classic Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue, and the Stan Getz collaborations with João Gilberto. Important teachers have included Howard Spring, Mike Gauthier, Greg Clayton, Terry Tufts, the late David Tinkoff, and Celso Machado.
A life-changing trip to eastern Europe and the Balkans in the mid-1990s led him to focus more on the human experience within music. He became one of the first Canadians to earn a professional qualification in Voice Movement Therapy (Dip VMT, 1999), studying in Boston with VMT founder Paul Newham and Dance Movement Therapist Anne Brownell.
Saxophone entered the mix when, in his mid-thirties, Adrian fell under the spell of American saxophonist Steve Lacy. He began to practice and play in earnest, and soon saxophone became his instrument of choice.
In addition to jazz, he has also been active in different types of music and bands, from Afrobeat to Reggae and Disco, Brazilian and Latin jazz in addition to freelance recording and transcription work.
For Adrian, music is all about playing with people. “Music is a very deep and very old part of what makes us human. It is a positive force that brings people together.”
In addition to his professional music activities, he has been a private instructor teaching guitar, bass, as well as jazz theory and improvisation at the Ottawa Folklore Centre from 2001 until its closure in the summer of 2015. He is the director of the long running Jazz Band program now held at Alcorn Music Studios and continues to teach privately at his home.