Matthew Whitaker has announced a new album, Now Hear This.
Whitaker plays piano, Hammond organ and more on the record, synthesizing influences from bop to R&B and Latin music. He’s backed by guitarist Dave Stryker, bassist Yunior Terry, drummer Ulysses Owens Jr and percussionist Sammy Figueroa. The album was overseen by Grammy Award-winning producer Brian Bacchus.
The 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist will release Now Hear This before he enrols at Juilliard as a freshman in the fall. The first blind undergraduate student to join the prestigious institution’s Jazz Study program, Whitaker lost his sight as a newborn: Born premature, he was given oxygen to survive, which cost him his vision.
Now Hear This arrives August 9 via Resilience Music Alliance and will include a trio rendition of Ahmad Jamal’s “Tranquility,” which you can stream below: