Rick VanMatre is one of the most exploratory saxophonists and conductors in the world of jazz and progressive music, and has presented solo recitals and jazz club performances in the US, Europe, Israel, Brazil, China and Thailand. In addition to leading his own quintet with original compositions, he has been featured as a soloist with groups like Roland Vazquez’s Latin ensemble, the Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Mercer Ellington, and the Woody Herman Orchestra directed by Frank Tiberi.
Some of his many recordings include the PsychoAcoustic Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra with Manhattan Transfer and John Pizzarelli, and the New Third Stream Quartet. He has commissioned unique crossover jazz concerti and performed them with orchestras including the New York Repertory Orchestra, Sichuan Symphony Orchestra (China) and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. As a conductor he has directed programs on American Jazz Radio Festival, NPR, and for artists like Kenny Garrett, Slide Hampton, Joe Henderson, Ahmad Jamal, and Joshua Redman. He retired from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music in 2010 but remains involved as an emeritus professor. As director of CCM’s Jazz Program and Concert Series, he conducted over 250 concerts, created the Master’s degree in Jazz Studies and the Doctorate in Saxophone, established the Jazz Recording Studio, and produced numerous CD recordings for Sea Breeze Records, one of which received a first round Grammy nomination and was described by Cadence magazine as a “necessary part of any big-band enthusiast’s library. He has been named a “reed titan” by Midwest Jazz magazine, and “technically superb and musically inventive” by the Cincinnati Enquirer. His newest CD Lines Above was recently released on Summit Records. He is an endorsing artist for Selmer Saxophones.