Matt Otten started playing guitar at the age of 10, took lessons in classical guitar for seven years, during which he already became interested in jazz, started listening to the great jazz pioneers, and began to study the art of improvisation. In the years that followed, he continued to teach himself, hooked up with musicians and soon started to be recognized as a serious jazz player.
During the Nineties he met singer Maria Harp and they ended up producing several albums together. For the second album, Matt wrote and arranged the music, and the album was recorded with a crew of internationally renowned guests, such as (the late) Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Gary Willis, Pino Palladino, and Amina Figarova. Their third album together was an intimate album of just guitars and voice. Matt has also taken part in several other CD albums as a sideman, and has released his own 'Secret Combination'. Matt has become known for impeccable taste and tone, and a fluent style that appeals not only to jazz lovers, but a wide audience of music lovers; Matt effortlessly crosses over from straight ahead jazz to smooth jazz and back.
Around 2005, Matt started posting some videos for fun, and these became incrediby popular. He went on to produce educational materials, CD's and Dvd's, which are now helping guitarists all over the world to develop their improvisation skills.
Matt Otten is an endorsee of Peerless Guitars.
In the age of online video, his numerous YouTube videos became quite popular, and his playing- and teaching experiences led him to produce some unique lesson material that can be found here. There are free lessons and solo examples, as well as a more extensive packages of Jazz Exercises, and smooth jazz and mainstream jazz solos, which will get you into the ''jazz thing''!
If you prefer video: there are four DVD-ROM (DVD for your computer) available:
- DVD Loop Fun: with 10 video lessons based on guitar loops. You learn to play the loops and to solo over the chords. You get lots of tips on accompanying and improvising!
- DVD Talking Jazz Guitar: lessons based on full (original) tunes, chords, scales, comping, improvisation, it's all covered in the 2 hours of lessons with backing tracks. In-video fretboard animation shows everything in detail.
- DVD Private Sessions: the latest offering is a set of video lessons in a very informal setting; the next best thing to having private lessons, talking about tunes, jazz standards, techniques, theory etc. This DVD contains nearly 4 hours of jazz guitar instruction.
- Blues Forms for Jazz Guitar: everything from basic 3-chord blues to advanced jazz blues.
Photograph by Jean-Jacques Abadie
Music from Matt Otten, and Matt with Maria Harp.
Listen to Matt Otten, or Matt and Maria together in a variety of settings, jazz, fusion, and pop.
The song Lift Me Up can be downloaded for free from Soundclick.