PHAZE II: “Over the years, Washingtonians have been fortunate to witness with pride the extraordinary number of outstanding jazz groups that have sprung forth from our area. We have another bright star to get excited about, PHAZE II.” Bob Jenkins, Smooth Jazz 105.9. Since 1997, PHAZE II has been providing Smooth and Funky Jazz sounds on the local music scene in the Washington, DC area, by honing its craft of delivering quality music to their listeners. PHAZE II has embarked on a journey to show the world the many talents that this jazz band has to offer. Determined to broaden their vision, PHAZE II entered the 13th Annual Capital Jazz Festival2005 Capital Jazz Challenge Competition. Phaze II was chosen the winners of the competition received a monetary contribution and had the opportunity to open the next day on the Capital Jazz Festival’s main stage. This jazz ensemble has also been fortunate to back up various national artists such as; Regina Belle, El DeBarge, MeL’isa Morgan, Frank McComb, Conya Doss, Paul Taylor, Jackiem Joyner, Marcus Anderson, Ken Navarro, Lori Jenaire, Althea Renee, BK Jackson, Cindy Bradley, Bob Baldwin, Shelby Brown, Gail Jhonson, Tony Exum Jr, Lynn Fiddmont, Dee Lucas, Kevin Whalum and Lin Roundtree just to name a few.
In 2001, PHAZE II released its first CD entitled, Options, which Smooth Jazz 105.9 radio personality, Al Santos, described as a very credible debut CD.
In 2010 they released Live N Uncut a CD/DVD set. This project gives one a visual along with the audio of what a Phaze II live performance is all about. Their latest CD Live in Anaheim was recorded at the 2013 NAMM Show. Phaze II is currently working on their fifth CD project set to be released later on this year.
Born in 2001 in Hackensack, NJ, Matthew Whitaker grew up surrounded by music. His love for playing music first began at the young age of 3, after his grandfather gave him a small Yamaha keyboard. At 9, Matthew began teaching himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ. Four years later, he became the youngest artist to be endorsed by Hammond—in its 80+ year history. He was also named a Yamaha Artist at 15, becoming the youngest musician to join the stellar group of jazz pianists. Matthew has had years of music instruction, currently studying classical piano and drums at The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School of the Lighthouse Guild in NYC, the only community music school for the blind and visually impaired in the US. He also attends the Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege Jazz Program.
He was also recognized by the Harlem International Film Festival, which named him “Most Remarkable Young Person on Screen.” He’s already toured both here in the US and abroad, performing before The Youth Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in NYC, and on other world renowned stages, including: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC; SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts & Ali Cultural Arts in Florida, and at international venues in France, Italy, Morocco, and Japan. In 2010, Matthew was a winning participant in the “Child Stars of Tomorrow” competition, as part of Amateur Night at the Apollo. A year later, at just 10 years old, he was invited to perform at Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame. He returned to the Apollo for FOX TV’s revival of SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO in 2016, where he won the audience over with his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic “I Wish”.