-Matt Lemmler's Story-

Matt Lemmler is considered to be one of the most original musicians (piano, vocal, arranger, composer, educator, producer)  to recently emerge from the birthplace of jazz. Raised just blocks away from the home of  legendary New Orleans pianist/vocalist Fats Domino, Matt remembers a childhood in the Lower 9th Ward where music constantly filled the house. Matt, his brothers Richard, Jr. and Michael (also a great New Orleans pianist-bandleader), and his father, Richard, Sr., (a retired professional musician); played jazz and classical piano around the clock. After earning a Bachelor of Music from Loyola University and a Master degree from Manhattan School of Music in NYC, Matt toured four years with Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera. After touring, he came back to the Big Easy and sharpened his skills with some of New Orleans finest bandleaders including: Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band (over 100 years old); Herb Tassin and the Blue Room Orchestra, and master clarinetist Pete Fountain.
Matt Lemmler-Solo Artist &
Musical Director for the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band
-Photo by Elizabeth Perrin

Matt Lemmler-Solo Artist & Musical Director for the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band -Photo by Elizabeth Perrin

"Matt Lemmler is a pianist of rare originality and a point of view about standard songs that's always surprising and often quirky."
-Dave Frishberg


Performed Nightly with New Orleans Clarinet Legend Pete Fountain

Matt enjoyed performing and touring with Pete Fountain at his nightclub inside the Hilton Riverside Hotel.

Matt enjoyed performing and touring with Pete Fountain at his nightclub inside the Hilton Riverside Hotel.

4 Years Touring with Phantom of the Opera

Matt played the Phantom's Organ 8 shows a week for 4 years

Matt played the Phantom's Organ 8 shows a week for 4 years

Matt discovered his passion for arranging and composing at an early age. During high school at Holy Cross, music directors began giving him more responsibility to write for school bands. As a teenager, Matt studied arranging with Grammy award-winning Tony Klatka and jazz piano with Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the Marsalis family and John Mahoney, Jazz Department Head of Loyola University.  While at Loyola, Lemmler arranged and composed for multiple ensembles, toured Eastern Europe with the Loyola Chamber Orchestra, performing his own composition Elegy for Jazz Piano and Chamber Orchestra. Later, while completing graduate work at Manhattan School of Music, Matt's arrangements, compositions, piano performance debuted at Carnegie Hall.
In 2001, Lemmler set out to pursue his own projects and recorded his first cd, Portraits of Wonder, a New Orleans jazz tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder. The CD garnered national attention and was performed to sold-out audiences, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival,  and featured noted jazz artists Brian Blade, John Ellis, Brice Winston, Leah Chase, George French and Nicholas Payton.

Matt's studio arrangement with members of Harry Connick, Jr's Big Band-Dany Brillant Music Video-Un Jour

Lemmler was commissioned in 2004 to arrange, conduct and record for French pop star, Dany Brillant. Brillant’s fascination with New Orleans inspired him to record A La Nouvelle Orleans featuring members of Harry Connick, Jr.’s Big Band. A La Nouvelle Orleans went Platinum Gold in Europe.
In 2005, Lemmler was recommended by Ellis Marsalis to replace him upon his retirement as full-time Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of New Orleans. One week later, after accepting the tenure track position at UNO,  Hurricane Katrina flooded his city and changed his life. He relocated to Houston, Texas where he found like minds, kindred spirits, and a special chemistry among the community of musicians.

-Post Katrina-

After the huge success of Lemmler and Brillant’s first collaboration, Matt (while still in Houston, TX) was hired once again by Brillant in 2006, to serve as his musical director/contractor for his next CD recording, Histoire d'Un Amour. On this project, Lemmler arranged & conducted for a 16 piece big band and 30 piece orchestra featuring 60’s/70’s pop cover tunes. Histoire d'Un Amour was one of the first major recording sessions tracked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. One year after the storm, New Orleans was still reeling from the devastation. However, instead of recording in Paris, New York or Los Angeles, Matt encouraged Brillant to record in the Big Easy. Lemmler hoped recording in New Orleans would bring new life and hope to his hometown.

Also in 2006, Matt accepted the position of Musical Director at Tommy’s Seafood Steakhouse and under his leadership the premier jazz venue won the Houston Press’ award for “Best Jazz Club in Houston.”
As a way to work through his grief over the tragedy of Katrina, Matt released his second CD, The Music of New Orleans. It is a soulful and heart-rending tribute to his beloved city and to all the New Orleans musicians, past and present, who influenced him and his music, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Pete Fountain, Ellis Marsalis and many others.

The Music of New Orleans is a striking document which captures the spirit of creativity and freshness in Lemmler’s ensembles. Most importantly, it is dedicated to his fellow New Orleanians who lost their lives and to those who have survived and continue to press on to rebuild a city like no other.

Shortly after leaving his position as musical director at Tommy’s Seafood Steakhouse, Lemmler accepted the prestigious position as musical director at Trinity Church/Houston for the Sunday Jazz Mass services. He was honored to hold a creative position that allowed him to arrange and compose hymns and spirituals for weekly services.

In January, 2010, he helped produce the 9th Annual Trinity Jazz Festival/Jazz Mass which featured Kirk Whalum, Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Roland Guerin and Kim Prevost. The festival concert featured both Whalum’s and  Lemmler’s music.At the culmination of the Trinity Jazz Fest weekend, Lemmler composed and premiered his first Jazz Mass, “ A Tribute to the Music of New Orleans."

Matt's First Jazz Mass-Trinity Church/Houston/TX-Ode to Joy-with Jason Marsalis & Herlin Riley

-UBUNTU and The New Orleans Jazz Revival Band-

After five years in exile in Houston, Matt’s spiritual awakening and music path led him back to New Orleans. His first mission was to release his inspirational UBUNTU cd which was inspired by hearing “Ubuntu” explained by Quincy Jones and Nelson Mandela as “the collective is stronger than the individual.”
To Lemmler, "Ubuntu" speaks directly to jazz and the mission of The New Orleans Jazz Revival Band. The recording  features an all-star production ensemble with Brian Blade, Bill Summers, Sean Jones, Jon Cowherd, Jason Marsalis, John Ellis, Shane Theriot, Mark Mullins, Evan Christopher and many others.

Matt Lemmler and The New Orleans Jazz Revival Band is a fellowship of many great musicians and producers creating masterful recordings, original and educational show productions, and wants to UBUNTU with all like-minded spirits who want to raise their mission. This unique name, UBUNTU, comes from the African humanist philosophy that speaks about interconnectedness in creativity and the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. For Matt and the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band, UBUNTU summarizes in one word his experiences in creating inspirational & healing music performances, recordings and educational shows.
Recently, Lemmler's New Orleans Jazz Revival Band has premiered many original shows including “Right On! The Music of the 70’s”, "The History of Jazz," "Tribute to Mahalia Jackson," "Songs of the Southern States," "A Healing Celebration featuring Inspirationalist Dan Caro" and "Matt Lemmler’s Southern Sonatas & Songs, Live at the Ogden,” featuring all original compositions by Lemmler dedicated to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s permanent collection.
The New Orleans Jazz Revival Band has presented master classes, educational shows and workshops for Loyola University, University of New Orleans, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the National Jazz Historical Park  and most recently to Ridgeview Charter Middle School from Atlanta, GA.  Under the direction of Lemmler, the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band collaborated with  265 middle school musicians- choir, band and string orchestra all were able to perform alongside the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band as one ensemble-UBUNTU Education.

New Orleans Jazz Revival Band's UBUNTU live performance of "Wade in the Water" featuring Brian Blade, Bill Summers, John Ellis, Steve Masakowski, Kim Prevost, Chuck Perkins, Gavin Bell.

-UBUNTU Education/Studio Recordings with Matt Lemmler and the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band-

Currently, Lemmler has been touring his Jazz History/Healing Shows & Jazz Masses with his New Orleans Jazz Revival Band and serving as guest clinician/artist/band for middle & high school bands, orchestras & chorus. When in New Orleans, Matt & the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band can be found producing and recording with artists and visitors to New Orleans along with Lemmler's Steinway B piano at Esplanade Studios, and mentoring our future musicians throughout the world.

UBUNTU Education with Matt Lemmler's New Orleans Jazz Revival Band.

Lemmler's other recent accomplishments include serving as GRAMMY Governor for the Memphis regional chapter from 2011-2013. In 2013 he toured Russia performing solo concerts for Moscow’s 866th Birthday Celebration. He has also acted & composed music for HBO's TREME television show series. Finally, Matt is a current member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.