Matt Silver


Matt Silver is a writer and broadcaster who has been performing, in one way or another, since his grandparents told him as a toddler that singing "Sunrise, Sunset" in rooms full of strangers was the cool thing to do.

His love of jazz comes from his father, Ken, an accomplished clarinetist, bandleader, and educator, who's passed on his extensive knowledge of the Real Book and an abiding love for jazz tunes with Broadway origins.

In addition to writing for WRTI's Arts Desk, Matt can frequently be heard hosting on the jazz side, whistling Gershwin or Bernstein with gusto, or trying to replicate the sounds of Stan Getz and Larry McKenna on his saxophone, which he's found is a good deal harder than it looks.

He is a proud member of that group of hardy souls who got their start at WRTI hosting Jazz through the Night.

Ways to Connect

August 2, 2021. In addition to being a supremely talented musician, Roni Ben-Hur is a smart man. The veteran guitarist, Israeli born and raised, not only understands how to craft tunes; he understands how to build an album that reflects the essential touchstones of his musicality.

August 2, 2021. Elisabeth Remy Johnson sensed an imbalance: While there were plenty of female harpists playing in prominent symphonies, there seemed to be disproportionately few works composed by women within the “standard” repertory for solo harp. So Remy Johnson, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s principal harpist since 1995, set out to rectify that imbalance.

July 26, 2021. Frankie Valli and the vast catalogue of popular hits he’s produced over six decades are an American treasure. Nobody does nostalgia-with-substance better. Bob Gaudio, who wrote so many of the Four Seasons’ hits, created an aesthetic for which Valli’s distinct alto was the perfect fit; in time those songs became so beloved that Valli’s voice, for all intents and purposes, became the only fit.

July 19, 2021. Louis Armstrong is so often framed as a jazz forefather that it becomes easy to lose sight of how much music—really good music—he recorded in the late '40s, '50s, and even well into the 1960s.

July 12, 2021. In Philadelphia, we’ll always go nuts for the Orrin Evanses and the Christian McBrides and the Joey DeFrancescos of the world—as jazz goes, they are our big-ticket cultural exports, and deservedly so. 

July 5th, 2021. There’s a very simple concept that’s too often lost in contemporary public discourse: Two seemingly conflicting concepts can be true at once.

June 28, 2021. With Christian McBride, the question isn’t what can or can’t he do; the question is, rather: What hasn’t he done yet? On For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver, the latest from the Christian McBride Big Band (CMBB), the do-everything bassist teams up, incredibly for the first time, with another locally-sourced, larger-than-life contemporary jazz icon.

June 21, 2021. In 2019, Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon lost her husband Phil, the man she called her soul mate, after a years-long battle with ALS. They’d been married for 40 years. Phil was a renowned architect and had been one of the lead executives at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. They shared a love of music— of jazz, soul, and R&B. Of The Sound of Philadelphia, of Thom Bell and Linda Creed, of Sonny and Cher, of Bacharach and David, Arlen and Mercer, Styne and Cahn.

photo courtesy of the artist

There’s a lot you can do with a sense of rhythm, a way with words, and a knack for telling a good story, but you have to be willing to persevere. Allow Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon’s story to illustrate.

In jazz, as in life, you are the company you keep. Perhaps unfair at times, it’s a truism that works out nicely for pianist Keith Brown. Casual jazz fans might not know him by name, but they might very well know him by sound; he played on acclaimed records led by big stars this past year—names like trumpeter Charles Tolliver, saxophonist Greg Tardy, and vocalist Jazzmeia Horn.