"Kendrick is an extraordinarily talented bassman-composer."
--Durham Herald Sun
“Matt Kendrick...[keeps] expressive dreams, youthful enthusiasm and the tug of musical structure in perfect focus, perfect balance."
--The Raleigh News & Observer
Matt Kendrick is an award-winning jazz bassist and composer. From bebop, to swing to avant-garde, he moves audiences with his music. Whether it’s listening to Matt’s original songs or those by Duke Ellington, George Gershwin or Charles Mingus, audiences come away refreshed and enriched by Kendrick’s soul-stirring compositions and heart-felt musicianship.
Matt Kendrick and his groups entertain audiences locally, regionally and around the southeast at a range of venues, including private events, festivals and clubs.
When not leading his own groups, Kendrick has played with the greatest, including jazz legends Marian McPartland, JoAnne Brackeen and Archie Shepp. When not playing, he’s composing; he’s one of the few musicians to have won the NC Jazz Composers Fellowship twice.
Kendrick’s performances and compositions reflect his musical journey. After attending the NC School of the Arts in his hometown of Winston-Salem, he moved to New York City. His musical career took off as he played in a number of avant-garde groups. When the chance arose to study with renowned jazz educator Jerry Coker, Kendrick returned south to Tennessee, where he honed his technique and performed with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. In 1981, Kendrick headed home to Winston-Salem and emerged a leader in North Carolina’s jazz scene.
Critics from around the country have applauded Kendrick’s CDs, which have appeared on national radio charts. His CDs—four on his own label, Suitcase Music—feature over forty original works.
Kendrick also scores music for films. His credits include The Dark Power, Weather or Not and The Darien Gap, which won second place at the Sundance Film Festival.
Devoted to music education, Matt Kendrick is on the faculty at Wake Forest University. He’s also the Musical Director of Carolina Music Ways, a non-profit group that performs in K-12 schools. Dedicated to giving back to his community, Kendrick is co-artistic director for Music Carolina an arts presenting non-profit.
Matt and his wife, jazz pianist Karen, have four children: David, Sarah, Madeline and Liza. They share Matt’s passion for music.