Matt Jenson

Professor Matt Jenson is heading to South Africa to take part in the sixth annual Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition.

Jenson will bring his unique insights as assistant professor of piano at Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as his hugely popular performance studies class ‘The Music and Life of Bob Marley’ and his own music experience to Moshito.

Jenson will take part in the discussion around opportunities for South African music in the US.

A pianist, Hammond organist, composer, arranger, singer and educator, Jenson earned a Masters degree in Jazz Composition and performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (1991) before pursuing his talent for soul, blues and rock influenced piano and Hammond organ, working with such greats as Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, legendary R&B singer Johnny Adams, Mighty Sam McClain, Cyril Lance, Johnny Neel, and Julien Kasper.

Over the years Jenson has also been influenced by Afro-Cuban styles, studying the rhythmic basics of Salsa styles on the timbales before playing piano with the 17-piece Salsa/Plena Orquesta, Los Pleneros del Coco. In 1998, Matt assembled top notch Latino musicians from Boston to form the popular Latin dance septet, Combo Sabroso (formerly known as Mambo Combo) and since then he has worked with Eddie Palmieri and his Octet as well as Conrad Herwig, trombonist with the Eddie Palmieri group and Palmieri’s timbale player, Jose Claussell.

Since joining Berklee in 2001 (in the piano department, teaching studio piano and a Latin piano lab), Jenson has become renowned for creating a performance studies class ‘The Music and Life of Bob Marley’.  This led to Rita Marley inviting Jenson to be a guest speaker at the Africa Unite 2006 event in Ghana, West Africa celebrating Bob Marley’s 61st birthday. While there he gave a talk on Marley and education at the symposium associated with the massive event and also auditioned young Ghanaian musicians to receive scholarships to Berklee’s 5-Week Summer programme.

Jenson is also a recording artist – among his releases is the 1997 album ‘One Drops, Spirituals and Riddim’ – and he is part of the Acid Reggae Xperience band. More recently he has pursued a project that merges Marley’s music (and some of Jenson’s original compositions) with Afro-Cuban arranging. Called”Rebel Tumbao.” (Rebel “GROOVE”) it sees Jenson work with Jose Claussell to bring this inspired project to an international audience!

* The sixth annual Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition takes place at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg from Wednesday 2nd September to Saturday 5th September.