The instrument Riggen is the most renowned performer on and possesses a focus in
as a consequence of his JSOM '16 BM Jazz Studies. It is also the one that has given him the most trouble in its learning.
However, it has allowed him to travel to Cologne (Germany), Graz (Austria), Dubai (UAE), Los Angeles CA, New York City NY, and many other cities across the planet, so it's not leaving his arsenal anytime soon.
His personal improvising style is consistently remarked upon in album reviews and represents the successful synthesis of several schools of jazz-based improvisational thought, combined with a fundamentally superb approach to high brass fostered by the method of Carmine Caruso (via Pat Harbison).
While in Indiana, Matt Riggen performed on trumpet with
the Liberation Music Collective, the Sean Imboden Quintet, and Durand Jones and the Indications.
In Illinois, he performs on trumpet with his own Quartet, his Orchestra, and in various configurations of improvisers, jazz groups, classical groups, and wedding bands.
Initially forced to learn valve trombone in order to participate in a university big band ensemble as a non-major, Riggen took to excelling at it anyway, and has completely supplanted his reliance on valves with a strong knowledge of the more conventional slide trombone.
On valve trombone, Matt is heavily indebted to Bob Brookmeyer, Warne Marsh, and Dewey Redman.
On slide trombone, however, he is aggressively pursuing the style codified by David Baker in his writing and playing,
putting Riggen more directly in the lineage of his late mentor.
Matt Riggen has performed on trombone with the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Octet, Tommy Carroll, the Soda Jerks, Brian Berger, and OGC.
Learned as a way to improve his writing for big band, Riggen has become a serious drummer over the years.
His work on drumset displays a strong bent towards investigating free jazz,
the avant-garde idiom, and aspects of noise music.
He is currently working on an ongoing series of pieces featuring his drumset work with juggler and movement artist David Chervony as a part of Chervony|Riggen.
Additionally, his drumset work is featured heavily in his collaboration with comedic improviser John Schnorrenberg as part of Sonata Di Spettacolo.
His style is heavily indebted to Rashied Ali, Elvin Jones, and Clyde Stubblefield.
As Riggen's time as director at Marquette Park and fruitful partnership as a part of Chervony|Riggen become more a part of his professional life, he frequently finds himself branching out into other instruments to expand what he is able to do as an individual in these contexts.
Particular favorites include but are not limited to horn, bass clarinet, and tarogato.
As a part of Sonata Di Spettacolo, he frequently finds himself on upright bass as well as drumset.
In his own brass quartet, Riggen holds down the tuba chair.
The general knowledge of Riggen's proficiency on these is quickly spreading, and he has been called for gigs and recordings on saxophone, upright bass, and the like. All of his recordings made at home during the COVID-19 crisis were made possible through his multi-instrumentalism.