Lupri is no underaged phenom, but rather a still-young though experienced adult who has not rushed his journey into jazz's deeper waters. He was born in Germany in 1964, and came to North America with his family a year later. After four years in Kansas, the Lupris moved to Alberta, Canada, where Matthias studied drums and began playing professionally as a teenager. "I was a drummer for 15 years," he reports, "playing blues, rock and country music. But jazz fascinated me, and I went to college to learn more about it. That's where I was introduced to the vibes, which was a mandatory instrument for drummers; and that's where a teacher told me to check out Gary Burton. So I bought his Times Square album with Tiger Okoshi, Steve Swallow and Roy Haynes, and it totally changed my whole approach to music. For the next five years, while I was still on the road with rock bands, I would practice my vibes every day in my hotel room."
One major change for Lupri was a newfound urge to compose music as well as play it. "I always felt that I was missing something by just playing," he recalls. "I wanted to add more melodically." He also took note of how Burton, in his Times Square period, was working without piano or guitar, and a Lupri ensemble concept also began to take shape. "I love playing with sax and no other comping instrument," he explains. "It gives you more freedom, and without the richer piano sound the timber of sax and vibes together tends to float more."
Finally, Lupri decided to commit himself fully to jazz. He enrolled at Boston's Berklee College, where vibists Burton, Ed Saindon and Victor Mendoza all helped him find his own voice. Around the time of his graduation in 1994, he met fellow student drummer Sebastiaan DeKrom (Jamie Cullum), who toured and played on Matthias' first few CD's. Matthias has since then gone on to tour consistently and play at major jazz festivals such as Atlanta, Litchfield, Rochester, Jacksonville, Lake George, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Clearwater, Boston, Ottawa, etc.