b. 6 June 1911, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA, d. 1997. As a young man Matthews studied music in Oklahoma and Chicago. He became proficient on alto and tenor saxophones and also developed skills as an arranger. Caught up in the swing era, he played (mostly alto) with Ben Pollack, Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. In 1939 he left Goodman to go with Harry James who had formed a new band. Matthews contributed some fine swinging charts for the band and over the next few years continued to write for and also play with (now mostly on tenor) bands led by Hal McIntyre, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton and Charlie Barnet. With the latter, his admiration for the stylings of Duke Ellington were allowed to go unfettered. From time to time he led his own bands but it was as an arranger that he became best known during the 50s. Skilled though he was as a player, and with original thoughts on the occasions when he performed solos, Matthews was usually content to remain an anonymous sideman in the bands in which he played and that he helped to achieve popularity through his writing.
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