“Controlled passion.” Those words were used by W. Royal Stokes of Jazz Times to describe the instrumental style of jazz trombonist Matt Haviland, known for his vibrant tone and adventurous melodic improvisations. He has been in demand as a performer and featured soloist with some of the top names in jazz, including the Illinois Jacquet Big Band, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Maria Schneider, Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra, and the Mingus Big Band, among others. He is a regular member of several New York-based groups, including the Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra, Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, Diane Moser’s Composer’s Big Band, Peter Leitch’s New Life Orchestra, and Frank London’s Shekinah Big Band. Other freelance work has included Blood Sweat & Tears, Deodato, Manny Oquendo & Libre, and Broadway pit orchestras (Swing, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Color Purple, and others).
Haviland also has a reputation as a gifted composer and arranger. His writing features prominently on his own recordings Beyond Good & Evil (2006) and Something to Say (2020), in each case interpreted by stellar musicians he has developed a close musical rapport with over the years. Haviland’s compositions and/or arrangements can also be heard on recordings by the Harper Brothers, Charli Persip, the Composers Big Band, and vocalist Shirley Crabbe. Other credits include arranging commissions (Illinois Jacquet, Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Frank London, Vincent Herring), an extended work for big band plus chamber orchestra, an NEA composition grant, and participation in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop under Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam.