Bass player, Composer and Educator
ABOUT MATT RIDLEY
Matt Ridley began his musical journey on piano aged 6. By his mid teens he had gravitated towards bass guitar, and was gigging professionally at age 19. In 2001 he enrolled at Trinity College of Music, and it was there that he began learning the double bass. He performed his final recital entirely on this instrument, and upon graduating with a Bmus honours degree in Jazz Studies, he was awarded the Trinity College of Music 'Friends in New York' award. Since graduating, he has also made a comprehensive study of classical music under the tutelage of LSO bassist Jani Pensola, and in 2017 won a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music diploma in classical double bass.
A true devotee of his instrument, discernible influences on his playing span the last 70+ years of jazz history, to include Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Scott Lafaro and Miroslav Vitous, as well as more modern players such as Christian McBride and Larry Grenadier. Based in London, he has performed internationally and at many of the UK's most prestigious venues such as the Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, Ronnie Scott’s, King’s Place, the Barbican, and the O2 Arena.
As a band leader, Matt released his debut album ‘Thymos’ on Whirlwind Recordings in 2013. Featuring the talents of award-winning pianist John Turville, drummer George Hart, and guest appearances from saxophonist Jason Yarde, oud maestro Attab Haddad and percussionist Vasilis Sirikis, the album represents a substantial artistic statement of both compositional and improvisational chutzpah. Matt's follow-up album, 'Mettā', was released in February 2016. Building on the melodic, rhythmically inventive style of 'Thymos', and with Jason Yarde now a core member of the group, the album received 4-star reviews across the board. The quartet performed at jazz clubs and festivals across the UK and were hailed as 'One of Britain's very finest contemporary quartets' (Jazzviews).
In 2019, Matt formed a new band, 'The Antidote', a quintet featuring Alex Hitchcock (sax), Ant Law (guitar), Tom Hewson (piano) and Marc Michel (drums). The eponymous album was released in July 2021 to 4 star reviews in coveted music publications; Downbeat magazine, BBC Music Magazine, Jazzwise 'Editor's Choice', Presto Music 'recording of the week'
From 2011-2016, Matt also led the 'MJQ Celebration'. A band 'inherited' from the late Michael Garrick MBE, the band featured award winning vibraphonist Jim Hart, pianist Barry Green, and Steve Brown on drums. The group performed around the UK and released an eponymous CD in April 2014 (produced by Ridley), which received glowing reviews and was described by the London Jazz Blog as ‘an enormously entertaining project, already leaping on top of an early 'best of 2014' pile'.
Matt is an in-demand sideman, known equally for his work with younger musicians on the contemporary jazz scene, and with older, more established names. Since 2006 he has played with Darius Brubeck (eldest son of Dave Brubeck) in a quartet featuring Dave O'Higgins on saxophone. He played in Michael Garrick's various ensembles from 2009 until his death in 2011; Quartet, Jazz Orchestra, and 'Lyric Ensemble', and recorded several albums with him. Since 2013 He has worked extensively with guitarist Ant Law, both in his quintet and 'Art of Rhythm' trio with drummer Asaf Sirkis. In a more ad hoc capacity he has performed with a wide range of musicians at the vanguard of their movement including
Tim Garland, Nikki Iles, Gary Husband, Don Weller, Pete King, Jim Mullen, Jim Hart, Jason Yarde, Gilad Atzmon, Michael Garrick, Kit Downes, and many more. He has also performed with artists on the international scene such as Mulatu Astatke, and Trinidadian steel pan phenomenon Leon Foster Thomas.
Matt has enjoyed a performing career outside jazz, which has included a notable long-standing collaboration with award winning singer-songwriter Sam Carter, with whom he has recorded 4 studio albums, a live EP, and performed throughout the UK.
Matt is actively involved in education and has led workshops and masterclasses at conservatoire level, taught on residential jazz courses, and on Sound and Music's 'Young Composers' Summer school. He is Head of Jazz at the Brentwood School, where he teaches improvisation, musicianship, and directs the Junior and Senior jazz groups. He offers private tuition from his teaching studio and via Zoom, and welcomes tuition inquiries from students of all instruments, levels and abilities.
"It’s both Ridley’s excellent usage of his collaborators and his penchant for melody that is undoubtedly the main appeal of his music"
Presto Music 'Recording of the Week' (read full review)
"An architectural work of great strength; melodic, insistent, expressive and strong." 5*
Ivan Rod, (Denmark) (read full review)
"A beautiful and intelligent musical conversation between high-level performers, with a desire to favour the collective"
Jazzmania (Belgium) (read full review)
Matt Ridley must be one of the most dapper musicians in British jazz
London Jazz News (read full review)
"The Matt Ridley Quartet are an absolute 'must go and see' live experience"
Hifi Answers (read full review)
"A very good album by an excellent quartet"
All About Jazz (read full review)
"One of Britain's very finest contemporary quartets"
Jazzviews (read full review)