There is a playful spirit of curiosity and exploration in Matthew Whitaker’s approach to the keyboard, whether he is tackling bebop, electric fusion, R&B, or Latin rhythms as part of his omnivorous approach to jazz. A child prodigy on piano and organ, Whitaker joined an elite group of jazz pianists when he was endorsed by Yamaha at age 18, and went on to win the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award two years in a row. Now, he’s released his third acclaimed recording, which reflects on his musical and personal connections and features music by Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, Duke Pearson, and Duke Ellington. “It is astounding. The fleetness of finger, the touch and taste, the grit and grime when he needs it, the lightness and airiness when it’s called upon—Whitaker has it all” (Downbeat).