Matt Otto is currently the Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Kansas (KU) teaching Jazz Theory and Performance, Jazz Combo 1 and private lessons. Matt is also an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University teaching online courses in jazz improvisation, theory and performance.
Matt Otto studied music performance and composition at Indiana University , Berklee School of Music, New School of Jazz, (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA). Having lived in Japan for 5 years, New York City for 7 years and Los Angels for 6 years, he has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony Wilson, Larry Koonse, Rashid Bakr, Ben Monder, Wadada Leo Smith, Willie Jones III, Alan Ferber, Mark Ferber, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Gregory Hutchinson, Jonathan Kreisberg, Charlie Haden , Joe La Barbera, Leroy Vinegar, Jimmy Smith, Paul Jackson, Ari Honig, Ben Street, Mike Moreno, Sara Gazarek, Josh Nelson, Danny Weiss, William Parker, Matt Wilson, Steve Cardenas, Bobby Watson, Bob Weir, Deborah Brown, Larry Goldings, Jerry Bergonzi, Eric Harland, Sheryl Bailey, Darek Oles, Erik McPherson, John Stowell, Ralph Peterson, Alan Pasqua, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Reggie Workman and many others.
While in Los Angeles, Matt co-founded of the Los Angeles Jazz Collective. The mission of the collective (LAJC) is to help create opportunities for creative jazz composers and performers to showcase original artistic work and to set up an ongoing Jazz outreach program for young jazz musicians in and around Los Angeles.
Matt currently performs his original compositions with his Kansas City based septet with members Gerald Dunn on alto saxophone, Jeff Harshbarger on acoustic and electric bass, Shay Estes (vocals), TJ Martley on Piano/Keys, Mike Warren and/or Brian Steever on drums and Hermon Mehari on trumpet, as well as traveling several times per year to NYC and LA to perform and record with various jazz artists.
Matt has recorded and performed with the Grammy nominated Anthony Wilson Nonet (The Power of Nine, Groove Note 1035, 2006), and performers frequently in Los Angeles with the Grammy Nominated Alan Ferber Big Band as well as having recorded on over 50 CD’s as both a leader and a side man.