“My teacher, Mr. Schulman, is a USC grad, and he’s recorded a lot of music. He’s helped me enormously with my improvisation.”
He was definitely in one of those ‘pins and needles’ situations. “I’ve applied to USC, and now I just have to wait until the end of April to see if I made it,” said a very hopeful Matthew Purpura. “Their jazz guitar program is really good; outstanding, in fact. And if it all works out, I’ll have a career in both performing and teaching.” When you call Matthew on his ever-present cell phone, you reach a San Francisco number. “Yeah, I’m from San Francisco, but the community colleges up there just aren’t very good at all. And when a friend of mine told me that SMC was such an incredibly enjoyable place, I just checked it all out. And here I am!”
Matthew says, “The new Music Academy at the SMC Performing Arts Center makes everything so much better for us musicians. They have these great new practice rooms, and you just always feel good about going in there to play.” He cites the immortal Joe Pass as one of his idols on jazz guitar. But then he mentions—with a note of awe in his voice—the name of Pat Martino. “He’s an incredible guy,” says Matthew. “I mean, he had an aneurysm and completely forgot how to play. So, he learned guitar all over again by listening to his own recordings. Incredible….”
If you ever want to personally experience Matthew’s musical talents, all you need do is to swing by the Main Campus Concert Hall on any given Monday night. “We’ve got an SMC jazz band going, and I really like playing with that group. There are a lot of very talented people at this school, and somehow they’ve helped me to stretch and grow as a musician.” Matthew: Good luck with USC!