Matt Wigler
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"Epiphony, Matt Wigler"

Review: Epiphony, Matt Wigler
Jazz Blues Florida, February 2010, by Bob Weinberg


At age 15, blues and jazz pianist Matt Wigler displays the musical maturity of a seasoned vet. And no wonder: Before he could even drive a car, the Baltimore prodigy had already shared stages or opened for the likes of Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush, Marcia Ball and even South Florida’s own Joey Gilmore. On Epiphony, his sophomore release, Wigler showcases his natural fusion of slinky soul-jazz and butt-shaking boogie-woogie on acoustic piano, as well as Hammond organ and Wurlitzer. A disciple of fellow Baltimorean Deanna Bogart—who blows sax on few tunes and produced the album—Wigler penned six of the 10 tracks here. The talented teen also boasts
a jazzy, terrifically engaging vocal style, which can be heard to great effect on a version of Robben Ford’s “Lateral Climb,” sung in duet with Bogart. Wigler rips the ivory from the keys on his exuberant Charlie Parker update “Boogie Au Privave” as well as on his own spirited “High Five Boogie,” and his speedy Hammond runs on the self-penned “Mac and Cheese” further astound. Expect great things from this developing talent. BW
- Bob Weinberg, Jazz & Blues Florida


"Epiphony, Matt Wigler"

Jersey Jazz
January 2010 issue

Several months ago the great jazz pianist Hod O’Brien hipped me to a young keyboard player named MATT WIGLER who he predicts will be a big star in the jazz world. Well, I contacted young Mr. Wigler, and had a conversation with this 15-year old cat who sounds mature beyond his years in both his words and his music. His initial emphasis was on the blues, but he has been delving more and more into jazz. Epiphony (Vista Records 103), his second CD, mostly reflects his earlier blues orientation, but the chops are there, and there are hints of where he is headed. The program on the disc consists of ten tunes, including six original composed by Wigler. He plays piano and both B-3 and Wurlitzer organs, as well as vocalizing on a few tracks. This album calls attention to a blossoming talent who has the potential to achieve the kind of status that Hod O’Brien predicts for him. (www.mattwigler.com)

--Joe Lang
- Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz, January 2010


"Epiphony - Matt Wigler"

Blues Revue
February/March 2010 issue

Epiphony (Vista Records) marks the second trip to the studio for Matt Wigler—quite an accomplishment for the 15-year-old keyboard whiz. His interests favor jazz, but he tackles even such contemporary compositions as the title track with a bluesy approach to phrasing. Guitarist Dan Leonard does right by the blues ballad “Nothing’s Fair but the Weather”, while Wigler reworks “Since I Fell For You” into a funk study over loops. “Boogie Au Privave” is a storming solo piece. The scorching “Mac and Cheese” and Robben Ford’s swinging “Lateral Climb” show Wigler’s touch as a Hammond organ burner.

--Tom Hyslop
- Blues Revue, Feb/March 2010


"Matt Wigler XIII Billtown Blues"

I tend to shy away from the “child prodigies”, but after recently being blown away by Deanna Bogart’s performance at our local Blues Festival, I felt compelled to give this one a listen. Deanna produced his CD and performs on several cuts. She has stated that “there is a difference between being good for his age and simply being good.” Matt Wigler is exceptional. This young man could hold his ground regardless of the competition. Thirteen is a hot, sassy mix of Blues and Jazz styles that seemingly could not be possibly coming from such a young man. The band is superb and Wigler’s playing is phenomenal. With Deanna Bogart on sax, Mike Aubin on drums and Scott Ambush on bass, this is as solid as a unit gets… and they play together as a well-seasoned unit. I’m looking forward to seeing where this “kid”goes with his career. He could well go on to break new ground in the fields of Blues and Jazz. He is as good as anyone I’ve heard to date. With time and experience the sky is the limit. I recommend this one highly, not because “this kid is good”, but because this is one fine piano player and a great CD. – Bill Wilson.






- Billtown Blues Society, Fall 2007


"Matt Wigler XIII Tulsa"

Matt Wigler, 13, from Ellicott City, MD is a sensational keyboardist for any age and has already played on stage with Tab Beniot among other blues greats. Blues diva Deanna Bogart has taken him under her wing by producing this CD and written or co-written 3 of his tracks and plays sax on the album. She also lends her drummer Mike Aubin, with Spyro Gyra bass Scott Ambush rounding out the players. Whether Matt is playing the Steinway model B or Hammond XK3, this kid mixes a combination of originals and classics with his own brand of blues, jazz, fund and New Orleans styles. A very delightful instrumental album! – Bill Martin

- Blues Society of Tulsa, Sept/Oct 2007


"Matt Wigler XIII Pittsburgh"

A new piano player

If you put on Matt Wigler's first CD, "Matt Wigler XIII" (Vista) and listen to him trade bluesy licks with Deanna Bogart on the saxophone, and didn't know a thing about him, you'd probably say: "Wow, where has this guy been hiding."

Well he's been busy for a few years, getting to the age of 13 -- hence the XIII. It's funny, though, his fingers sound a lot older.
The album, produced by Bogart and co-starring her bandmates, shows off Wigler's considerable keyboard mastery. He's written some of his own tunes [listen to "Tension Boogie"], and tackles some standards, including a tasty take on Leroy Carr's "How Long Blues [listen to "How Long Blues"].
He's definitely got the chops for this line of work. And quite a feeling for it at this age. Give him some time, some more emotional sensitivity to an emotional music, and he'll be even better -- hard as that is to imagine when you listen.
- The Pittsburg Post Gazette


"Matt Wigler XIII BluesWax"

Prodigy

The kid with the prodigious piano chops and red hat (worn backwards) that I met on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in January of 2007 has a CD out appropriately titled 13. It’s his age!

Okay, that said, Matt Wigler has child-sized hands and still pulls off some amazing stuff. His stretch is impressive. I can’t wait till he gets a little older and those fingers elongate a wee bit more. His boogie hand, quite frankly, kicks ass. The piano bar and the baby grand in the ship’s lounge were rockin’ as Leon Blue (Piano Barkeeper that trip) and Wigler took turns having a blast with the always present throng of nodding and smiling heads. He played more than anyone on the cruise and was a paying passenger!

The picture I just drew is sadly absent from the CD. In my mind I can see Wigler’s facial expressions, the kind my son made playing video games when he was thirteen. A video should have been included to drive home how amazing this kid is. There was certainly enough room for an enhanced CD as the material weighs in at just over 41 minutes.

As for the CD, it is filled with a few obligatory standards so you have something to compare the kid to, although there’s nothing standard about the arrangements or the performance. For example: Gershwins’ “Summertime,” Jimmy Smiths’ “Back At The Chicken Shack,” and Hoagy Carmichaels’ “Georgia” are peppered through the disc keeping company with Dave Maxwell, Leroy Carr, and Alfred James Ellis compositions.

The real surprise, as if the initial one isn’t enough, are the songs he wrote himself or co-wrote with his producer and mentor Deanna Bogart (she also appears on three cuts). They are mature bordering on sophisticated for any pianist. My favorite is the first track, “Track Ten.” Just try to keep your foot tapping at that speed for the entire song. I put this high-energy CD on when I want to get some work done at home. It hasn’t let me down yet. Can’t wait to see what Wigler will cook up for us as he grows into his adult body.

Beardo is a senior contributing editor at BluesWax
- Blues Wax issue #368 on 11/1/2007


"Matt Wigler XIII Blues Source"

Remember the title of this CD; we’re going to get back to it later. An all instrumental CD, this for a freshman effort goes beyond good by a long shot. Produced by boogie piano maven Deanna Bogart, Matt seems to have soaked up her music along with Katie Webster, Professor Longhair, Jimmy Smith and more.

With a pleasant mix of originals and covers, Matt kicks the mule in the tail with the opening number Track Ten, then settles into a nice stride with David Maxwell’s Blues Don’t Bother Me. The classic Summertime starts with a rumba beat and then switches to straight jazz. Even the blues anthem, Back at the Chicken Shack has a playful fat Hammond B-3 sound to it, the way it’s supposed to be played. Bogart not only produced but slides in to play sax on most cuts. No matter if it’s jazz, fund or gut bucket ragtime, Wigler has a firm grasp on playing it right.

Matt Wigler is backed by Bogart’s band with Mike Aubin on drums, Scott Ambush on bass, Steve Wigler on trumpet (dad, brother?), and Deanna Bogart on sax and electric piano.

Now I can get back to the title and let you know that Matt Wigler is only 13 years old. While just starting out, Matt has the dexterity and vision of a seasoned artist. He has nothing but a bright future in front of him.

2007, Time Richards
BluesSource.com
- BluesSource.com, June 12, 2007


"Matt Wigler XIII Big City"

Baltimore/Washington-based Matt Wigler is a thirteen-year old blues and jazz keyboard sensation who has been playing piano since he was four. He has already shared the stage with the likes of Tommy Castro, Bobby Rush, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Sir Mack Rice, and appeared at the DC Blues Festival, Virginia’s State Theatre, The Columbia Festival for the Arts as well as at sea on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.

His new CD, produced by blues great Deanna Bogart, reveals Wigler’s musical approach as a personal, nicely seasoned gumbo of blues, jazz, funk and New Orleans flavored styles with the blues definitely at the core. Accompanied by the alert, deep-grooved playing of Scott Ambush on bass and Mike Aubin on drums, Wigler not only re-invents and re-arranges jazz standards like “Summertime” (with outstanding dynamism and colorfully creative tempo shifts) and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia” (with Bogart sitting in on tenor sax) but plays blues piano like nobody’s business on “How Long Blues”, “The Chicken”, and David Maxwell’s easy rolling “Blues Don’t Bothe Me” and even brings one blazing original, the came-hopping “Tension Boogie” to the table.

Also noted are a couple of Bogart covers. “Track Ten” (co-authored by Wigler) roars along with a barrelhousing abandon while the set-closing “Thrash Boogie” is exactly what the title implies. WIgler also demonstrated his deftness on the Hammond XK3 organ on a good ‘n’ greasy cover of Jimmy Smith’s “Back At The Chicken Shack.” Hopefully, we’ll be checking out this talented teenager’s career progress for a long while. More info is available at mattwigler.com and vistamusicstore.com and be sure to mark your calendars when he comes your way. I know I will. – Gary von Tersch
- Big City Rhythm and Blues, Oct/ Nov 2007


"Matt Wigler XIII Crossroads"

The title of this disc refers to the current age of keyboard prodigy Matt Wigler. I had several opportunities to watch this young man play on the Legendary R&B Cruise in January and let me tell you that he is indeed the real deal. One night he was on stage during a jam with the Tommy Castro Band and a number of other talented players including Deanna Bogart on sax. Wigler wasn’t nervous or star-struck. He simply sat down and played like a veteran, even switching from piano to organ at one point.

Bogart is a neighbor of Matt’s and the two have been practicing together for a couple of years. An accomplished keyboard player herself, Bogart has been a mentor to Matt and serves as the producer of the disc. Her sax playing adds some texture to two tracks on this disc of instrumentals.

The disc gets off to a rousing start with “Track Ten”, a boogie piece that quickly demonstrates the keyboard dexterity that Wigler has already developed. He doesn’t have any trouble with the faster tempo or with negotiating the changes. Bogart takes a brief solo on sax. And Matt’s dad, Steve adds trumpet on the track. The second cut was composed by another fine blues keyboard player, David Maxwell. Supported by Scott Ambush on bass and Mike Aubin on drums, Wigler shows he has the abilities necessary to hold your interest when all of the focus is on his keyboard work in the trio format.

One of the highlights of the disc finds Matt venturing into the jazz realm for an inventive rendition of the classic “Summertime”. We have all heard this song hundreds of times but Wigler’s approach features him improvising on the theme over a strong backbeat. His inventive playing has the sense of swing that is a staple of fine jazz performances. The fadeout at the end came too soon for my tastes.

“Tension Boogie” is a Wigler original that provides some interesting variations on the standard boogie keyboard patterns. It will be interesting to see if Matt can continue to compose pieces that extend and expand the tradition, rather than simply recreating it. Bogart switches to electric piano for a duet on the “The Chicken”. If this cut is any indication of what it’s like when Matt and Deanna get together, I want to be there for the fun. Using a Nord Electro keyboard, Bogart lays down some funky licks in contrast to Wigler’s piano, the two are very comfortable trading off lead lines.

Despite Bogart’s soulful sax, Wigler’s take on another classic, “Georgia”, never catches fire. He follows that track by switching to the organ for a brief workout on “Back at the Chicken Shack”. The pace slows down for an outstanding version of “How Long Blues” that simmers with intensity. Wigler again surprises listeners with a creative approach to a blues standard.

That track quietly segues in the closing number, which came from Bogart’s pen. “Thrash Boogie” clocks in at over six minutes and serves as launching pad for Wigler to strut his stuff. The performance comes to a complete halt right in the middle. After several seconds of silence, the drummer hits it and Matt jumps in to prove once again that he can handle the faster tempos without a problem.

You might think that a thirteen year old can’t have enough experience to be the main focus of an all instrumental recording. In this case, you would be wrong. As the producer, Bogart didn’t try to surround WIgler with additional musicians. She knew who she was working with and provided Matt with the space to display his ample talent. Give this one a listen and get to know Matt Wigler. I’m sure that we will be hearing a lot more in the future about this excellent musician.

Reviewed by Mark Thompson
Posted by Steve Jones at 4:14 PM
November-December 2007 Newsletter
- CrossRoads Blues Society, Nov 6, 2007


Discography

Other Mammals (release spring 2011)
Epiphony (July 2009)
Matt Wigler XIII (June 2007)
Available at mattwigler.com and vistarecords.net

Played Hammond B3 organ on:
Deanna Bogart's Eleventh Hour
Rick Dempsey's Home Run Holiday

Photos

Bio

Matt Wigler is a jazz and blues pianist, composer, organist, and singer from Baltimore, Maryland. At age 17, Matt has performed at notable venues in Washington DC including The Kennedy Center, Strathmore Music Center, and Blues Alley. In 2010, Matt was selected as an Artist in Residence at Strathmore, a renowned music center in the Washington DC area. The Matt Wigler Trio was nominated this year for best jazz group by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA).

Matt’s second CD, Epiphony, was released in July 2009 (Vista Records). With six original compositions, it “honors the past and looks to the future with his mature, inventive, and fresh approach”, says producer Deanna Bogart. Epiphony was nominated for best jazz CD by the Washington DC Area Music Association (WAMA). Matt’s debut CD, Thirteen (Vista Records), was released in June 2007 and received outstanding reviews. Matt also played Hammond B3 organ as a sideman on Deanna Bogart's Eleventh Hour and Rick Dempsey's Home Run Holiday. Matt's latest CD will be released in late spring 2011.

Matt has performed at festivals throughout the US and Canada, including the Monterey Bay Blues Festival (CA), Beaches International Jazz Festival (Toronto), Telluride Jazz Festival (CO), North Atlantic Blues Festival (ME), Motor City Blues and Boogie Woogie Festival (MI), and Artscape (MD). Matt has also opened for blues guitar greats Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa.

Matt began playing piano at age five, and even then revealed his talent for improvisation. At age eight, Matt met a musician at a camp who introduced him to jazz and blues, and that is when he discovered his passion. This gifted, young artist has maturity, skill and versatility well beyond his years.

Critics see a bright future for this rising star. “Matt’s music is far beyond his youthful years, very sophisticated, and complex, yet extremely accessible"(Bob Putignano, President, New York Jazz and Blues Society and WFDU radio host). “When I see Matt play piano, I see the future.” (Chip Eagle, Publisher, Blues Revue)

For more information please visit www.mattwigler.com