Matt Otto

Matt Otto
  • Associate Professor of Jazz Studies

Contact Info

115 Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3103


Any student considering pursuing any degree at KU can email me for a

free Skype Lesson ( 

During this lesson we can talk about your goals as an artist, performer, composer or hobbyist and how I might be able to help you reach those goals.  We can also discuss KU's amazing music program and what it can offer you while you get a degree in whatever field interests you.  




Matt Otto performing with the Grammy Nominated Alan Ferber Big Band in Los Angeles:


M.F.A. California Institute of the Arts; B.A. The New School

Assistant Director in Jazz Studies, directs Jazz Combo I, teaches jazz Theory and Performance, private lessons in jazz saxophone and improvisation. Saxophonist Matt Otto studied music performance and composition at Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, The New School for Social Research (BFA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA) during which time he studied under Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Billy Pierce, Don Hawkins, Charlie Haden and many others. Having lived in Japan for five years, New York City for seven years and Los Angeles for six years, he has performed with a variety of artists including Anthony Wilson, Larry Koonse, Rashid Bakr, Ben Monder, Willie Jones III, Alan Ferber, Mark Ferber, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Gregory Hutchinson, Joe La Barbera, Leroy Vinegar, Jimmy Smith, Ari Hoenig, Ben Street, Mike Moreno, Jonathan Kreisberg, Danny Weiss, Steve Cardenas, Larry Goldings, Eric Harland, Sheryl Bailey, Darek Oles, Erik McPherson, John Stowell, and many others. He currently performs his original compositions with his Kansas City-based quartet. Matt Otto has recorded with the Grammy Nominated Anthony Wilson Nonet, the Rashid Bakr Quintet, the Joeless Shoe trio, and the 3-ish trio and over 10 CDs recorded as a leader on Origin, Noir and Jazz Collective Records. He has also appeared on more than 50 CD projects as a side man.

CD Recordings of note:

Xose Miguelez, Ontology (Origin Records 2019)

Peter Schlamb, Electric Tinks (PS 2018)

Matt Otto, Iberica  (Origin Records  2017) 4.5 stars All About Jazz.

Matt Otto, Andy Ehling Reunion (JCR 2017)

Matt Otto, Soliloquy (JCR 2016) 4 stars All About Jazz

Tim Fischer, Due Due South, (Tim Fischer 2014)

Joeless Shoe, Midsole (Kansas City – JCR 2014)

Brian Swartz, Gnu Sextet, Portraiture (Summit, 2014)

3-ish, Events (Jazz Collective Records 2014)

Justin Morell, Subjects and Complements (Sonic Frenzy Records 2013) – w Alan Ferber

Roger Wilder Quintet, Stretch (Artist Recording Collective 2013)

Nancy Sanchez, Ruby in LA (Big as Records 2013)

Matt Otto Sextet, Broken Waltz (Jazz Collective Records 2012) Four Stars in Downbeat Magazine. – w Sara Gazarek

Matt Otto, Leonard Thompson Duo, Anima (JCR Records 2011)

Joeless Shoe, Outsole (Jazz Collective Records 2010)

The Music of Tom Waits, Innocent When You Dream (Jazz Collective Records 2010) w Greg Leise

Matt Otto Sextet, La Commune (JCR Records 2010)

Ed Neumeister, ENJO, Live at the Jazz Bakery (Meistero Muisc 2009) w Peter Erskine

3-ish, Baobab (Jazz Collective Records 2009)

Josh Welchez Quintet, Lost and Found (Jazz Collective Records 2009) w Mark Ferber

Anthony Wilson, Nova (Goat Hill recordings, 2008) w Darek Oles

David Ashkenazy Quartet, Resonation (Los Angeles – Posi-Tone Records 2008)

Matt Otto, Andy Ehling Quintet “Returning” (Jazz Collective Records 2008)

Roger Cairns, Let’s (Roger Cairns, 2008)

Q Trio, Vol. 1 (JCR Records 2008) – w Qasim Nakvi

Los Angeles Jazz Collective Sampler Vol.1, (LAJC, 2008)

Brandon Bernstein, Solitude (Brandon Bernstein, 2008) – w Putter Smith and Tim Pleasant

Anthony Wilson Nonet, featuring: Diana Krall – The Power of Nine (Groove Note Records 2006) w Alan Ferber

Evan Stone, Sticks and Stones Vol.1 (Red Jazz 2006) – w Josh Nelson, Sara Gazarek

Roger Cairns, A Scot in LA (Roger Cairns, 2006)

Matt Otto Quartet – Red (Origin Records 2005) w Qasim Nakvi

Glen Makos, Now and Again (Stop Time Records, NYC, 2005)

Joeless Shoe, Joeless Shoe (Jazz Collective Records 2005)

CalArts Jazz 2005 16th Annual CD Track 8 (California Institute of the Arts 2005)

Erik Jekabson, Intersection (Fresh Sound Records, Spain, 2004) w Ben Monder and John Ellis

CalArts Jazz 2004 15th Annual CD Tracks 1, 4, 9, 10 (California Institute of the Arts 2004)

Rashid Bakr, Live at the Old Office (Knit Media, New York, 2002)

Push, Live at the Knitting Factory (Knit Media, New York, 2002)

Nick Demopoulos, Exegesis, The Order of Chaos (Demopoulos Music Records, NYC, 2002) w Mark Ferber

Rashid Bakr, Earth Native (Majic Records, NYC, 2001)

Peter Montgomery, The Road Back Home, Featuring Kenny Garret (PB Production, 1999)

Peter Montgomery, Evia, (PB Production, 1999)

Speak, Buddha (Big as Records 1997)

Matt Otto Quintet, 52 West 19th (Noir Records 1996) w Willie Jones III

Melodie Sexton, Melodie Sexton (Columbia Records, Tokyo Japan 1996)

Sharaku, Movie Sound Track (Avex Records, Tokyo Japan 1996)

Odo, Tokyo Calling – Haywire (Sony Music Compilation, Tokyo Japan 1996)

Odo, Universal Language (Matt Otto, 1995)

Dig, Impressions (Crown Records, Tokyo, Japan 1994)

Fahrenheit 451 Vol.1 Compilation, Cole Scotch (May 1992)

Dig, Dig (JMJ Records, 1991)

Fullerton Jazz Orchestra, Live in Montreux (Cal State Fullerton, 1989)

Matt Otto Quintet Matt Otto Debut (Matt Otto, 1989) w Darek Oles and Dave Scott