Matthew Roche is a freelance guitarist, composer and music teacher living and working in Naarm (Melbourne). Deeply grounded in the African-American traditions of jazz and improvisational music-making, his musical output is centered around creating immersive connections with physical space, community, and zen practice. A passionate performer and supporter of original music, he is strongly embedded within the local scene as a player, teacher and volunteer.
He is the bandleader, guitarist and composer of post-rock jazz band Soft Power who have released three full-length albums and toured Australia twice. Their latest album “Bucolica” was released independently in 2019 at the Jazzlab in Melbourne, their second album “Easy Listening” was distributed via Melbourne record label Newmarket Music in 2018 and was launched in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart with a performance at MONA. He is also bandleader, composer and guitarist for bebop jazz band Joying which formed in 2018. His other long-term projects include middle-eastern jazz band Shayan, jazz/indie-pop band Lilly Tunley Sextet, new-wave punk band Hydra Fashion Week and he has played with indie-rock singer-songwriter Gena Rose Bruce and toured Australia with experimental pop artist Biscotti.
Over the years he has shared the stage with Vince Jones, Reuben Rogers & Eric Harland, Julie O’Hara and has performed at Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Stonnington Jazz Festival, Paradise Music Festival, Adelaide Festival, MONA – Museum of Old and New Art, Golden Age Cinema & Bar, The Jazzlab, Uptown Jazz Cafe and countless music venues around Australia.
In 2016 he attended the Australian Art Orchestra’s Creative Music Intensive and studied with Bae Il Dong, the Wilfred Brothers from Arnhem land and faculty from the AAO. In 2014 he travelled to New York and attended the NYU Summer Jazz Improv Workshop which featured Joe Lovano, Adam Rogers and Kenny Werner.
In 2014 Matthew completed his Honours in Jazz Performance at Monash University, was awarded a study assistance scholarship and won best paper at the International Conference of Undergraduate Research for “Musical space in Alban Berg’s Lulu” – an excerpt of his honours thesis on temporality and timelessness in Alban Berg’s 12 tone opera “Lulu”. He completed his Bachelor of Music at Melbourne Polytechnic in 2013 with his guitar teachers including Stephen Magnusson, Tom Fryer and Doug De Vries.
A passionate volunteer, Matthew has been co-director of non-for-profit musical collective Lebowskis since October 2019. He is also curator of The Guitar Lab, an local initiative he started to showcase the diversity of Melbourne’s guitarists in a series of improvised and low-key performances.