Matt Richards at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, 12/18

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On Sunday evening, December 18th, guitarist Matt Richards will be featured in a solo performance at World Caf Live, 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Sets begin at 7:00pm. There is no cover charge.

Drawing upon nearly 30 years of jazz, classical and world music experience, Matt has evolved an eclectic but highly musical identity, what one listener calls “solo guitar with a world of influences". Improvisation, a trademark element in his effortless blend of styles, is present in each arrangement. “I always maintain a sense of spontaneity," he says, “which keeps each performance unique, both for the audience and for myself."

As a soloist, Matt has appeared in festivals, events and concert venues throughout the country. In addition to performing (in the role of a guitarist) in the film Smoke And Mirrors, he has been featured on the cable-televised music program Miles of Music with Bob Miles, the broadcast television cultural series Puerto Rican Panorama and numerous news features. Matt has also earned impressive credentials working with a broad range of jazz and contemporary artists, including Mike Clark, Larry Coryell, Starr Cullars, Joey DeFrancesco, Kenwood Dennard, Essra Mohawk, Marlon Simon, and Bobby Zankel. He is featured on the CD releases of popular artists including rock vocalist Nate Hawk (Snakeskin Boots) and gospel vocalist Paul Middleton (Keep The Faith).

During the past seven years, Matt's primary focus has been on the solo acoustic guitar. In early 2004, he released his second all-acoustic album Dayside which earned critical comparisons to guitar legends Pierre Bensusan and Ralph Towner. In addition to his own third solo album, Matt is featured, as both musician and producer, on the upcoming Language of 3 Live album scheduled for release in early 2006. Matt also works with his jazz trio (featuring bassist Bill Zola and drummer Adrian Velosin) playing fretless glissentar.

Growing up in the culturally fertile cross-currents of the 1960s, Matt's musical pathway begins with the mix of folk, rock and psychedelic music that defined that decade. “The radio programming at that time included so much variety; I would hear Jimi Hendrix, the Four Tops, Simon and Garfunkel and even Tom Jones in the course of one hour without changing the station. My young ears just accepted it all as music that belonged together without emphasizing stylistic differences." Eventually drawn into the electronic-laden jazz-rock of the 1970s, Matt began developing the technically advanced skill and abilities demanded by those styles. As his talent grew, Matt was drawn into straight-ahead jazz, classical and world music, and actively sought out the players and artistic environments that would add to and expand his own experience.

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