““To warm up the crowd for the main event, 13-year old Apollo organ player veteran Matthew Whitaker started off with Michael Jackson’s “Baby Be Mine” on the keyboard. This boy may be young, but his skill exceeds many older musicians. His sense of rhythm and his style of performance made the audience fall in love with him right out of the gate. He then played “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross and was just as amazing. Afterwards he performed Sergio Mendez’s “Mas Que Nada” which got the crowd all jazzed up....... and then finished his performance with his own piece entitled “Matt’s Blues.” The amazing thing about this young and talented musician is that he is also blind, but that didn’t stop him from giving the performance of his life during this pre-show opening.””
“Also performing that night with host Wayne Brady was a 13-year-old blind keyboard phenom named Matthew Whitaker, who played like the second coming of Ray Charles."”
"The real draw, though, was the music....Despite his young age, Mr. Whitaker was one of the more sought-after guests; older musicians came up to him to praise his performance and to introduce themselves." - Jazz Foundation of America Loft Party
"He hears music and he hears the entire picture right from the start. He innately understands the structure and how the cords are there and has that whole picture in his mind. .....he's so happy when he's doing music." Dalia Sakas - Lighthouse Music Program Coordinator and Classical Music Instructor
"This young man is a genius! I love the way he's mastering those keys.....he will go far....watch out!"
"Matthew Whitaker is music. To see and hear him play is to know that divine talent exists. Beyond his innate musical abilities is a sheer joy and passion to create music. You can expect great things on the horizon from this remarkable and lovable young musician."
“If you could imagine what Ray Charles and Jimmy McGriff looked like at age 13 but played like at age 30, then you will discover Matthew Whitaker."”
“At the Jazz Foundation of America’s “A Great Night in Harlem” benefit concert at the Apollo last week – a show that played host to stars like Elvis Costello, Macy Gray, Quincy Jones, Morgan Freeman as well as Jazz ringers like Steven Bernstein and Nicolas Payton – 12-year-old Matthew Whitaker stole the show...., Matthew Whitaker is quickly becoming one of the promising young talents in jazz." ”
"Young Matthew Whitaker, who played the piano and also happened to be blind, stole the show as he jammed and improvised. He garnered probably the loudest ovation of the night after he finished his solo, and conductor Steven Reineke, (NY Pops orchestra), was blown away by how good the 11-year-old was. “I was just told that the young man on the keys is only 11 years old. Are you kidding me? That's ridiculous!”- on performance with Ozomatli and NY Pops at SummerStage.
"I caught wind of this genius child over the weekend and I am truly astonished at his talent and love of jazz. He has amazed everyone who hears him play. Not only does he burn it up on piano and Hammond, he kills it on the drums too! " Go Matthew!
“We have just fallen in love with Matthew because of his love for music, his enthusiasm, his energy. "Here is this very gifted child, but he’s not going into hip hop or rock and roll, he’s playing jazz music." ”