Matt Carrillo

 Matt Carrillo is only twenty-one years old, but you’d think that he’s been on the scene for years, as he has been a frequent visitor to the local jam sessions since he was fourteen and fifteen. Or maybe it’s his no-nonsense classic tenor style that is rooted in the masters from generations ago.

 At the tender age of four, Matt got into music following in his older brother’s footsteps. He tool piano lessons till he was eight, violin and trumpet during elementary school, and got his first taste of jazz in junior high school in an after school jazz band where he played the alto sax. During high school at Shawnee Mission North, and due to the absence of a tenor sax player, Matt found his instrument. For about a year each, Matt studied with Hal Melia and Kerry Strayer but did most of shedding by listening to recordings and playing along trying to figure out what they were doing. He did a semester at UMKC under the direction of Bobby Watson when he was introduced to Everette DeVan.

Soon, Matt became Everette DeVan’s permanent sax player with his quartet. Musically, Matt is old, way beyond his years. He’ll tell you he’s an “old soul.” Despite the youth, there aren’t any situations that he can’t handle. He reads, writes charts, and of course plays. And he’s not easily intimidated. When tenor giant Houston Person joined the DeVan band one weekend at Bobby’s Hangout, the only players that Houston would allow to sit in were Bobby Watson and Matt Carrillo. Everette calls Matt “Cool Breeze” because he’ll take in what’s going on, join in, and tear it up!

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