About

Matt Owens is a bassist, composer, arranger and producer based in Manchester, UK.

His debut album The Aviators’ Ball incorporates elements of jazz, world, classical and folk music. Much of the material was taken from his suite of pieces Ten, commissioned by The Manchester Jazz Festival, which combined jazz quartet, wind quintet and tuned percussion.

Matt premiered a new suite Keys at the 2014 Manchester Jazz festival. Written for two keyboard instruments (combinations of piano, Hammond organ, Rhodes, synthesiser and church organ) alongside voice and double bass, the music was conceived to take advantage of St. Anne’s church’s wonderful acoustic.

Matt has been a long time collaborator with singer/songwriter Kirsty Almeida, playing double bass and bass guitar in her live band as well as co-writing with her and arranging much of her music. Songs they have written together have appeared in the films Albatross and Patagonia and on the American TV series Arrow.

In 2009 Matt got to work with legendary producer Youth (Pink Floyd, U2, Primal Scream, The Verve, Beth Orton and one half of electronic duo The Fireman with Sir Paul McCartney) for Kirsty Almeida’s debut solo album Pure Blue Green (re-issued as DejaVoodu), originally released on Decca. Matt provided brass and string orchestrations for many of the songs.

Matt and Kirsty first collaborated in the salsa band Descarga that toured the UK extensively with their theatre show Cubanite. Their album Llanita was released to critical acclaim in 2004 with Matt’s arrangement of I Heard It Through The Grapevine being licensed to several compilation albums.

In 2007 the band evolved to La Gran Descarga, a 22-piece Latin big band with Matt arranging for the colossal ensemble. La Gran Descarga performed at The Lowry Theatre, Salford and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester as well as the Wigan Jazz and D-percussion festivals.

Playing with Descarga led on to Matt playing with many Latin luminaries including Larry Harlow (Fania Allstars), Jimmy Bosch, Ray de la Paz, Luisito Carrion, Mariano Civico, Sexteto Café, Nacho Sanabria, Roberto Lugo, The Roberto Pla Latin Ensemble, Alex Wilson and Grupo X. Other performance highlights include The Herbaliser and Aim, Soweto Kinch, Jay Phelps and Bobby Wellins.

Baked A La Ska is another long-standing project of Matt’s. He has produced the oddball band’s four albums as well as contributing several original pieces and writing the majority of the arrangements.

Notable performances with various bands have included The Big Chill Festival, Glastonbury Festival, V Festival, The Secret Garden Party, Lovebox, Kendal Calling Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Festa Do Avante (Portugal), Bankso Jazz Festival (Bulgaria), Breda Festival (Holland), The Gibraltar International Jazz Festival as well as recent concerts in Slovenia and India.

Matt also runs the independent record label All Made Up Records. Releases have been played on national and international television and radio.

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