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MAT MATHEWS

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Mathews live

Period

18-06-1924 - 12-02-2009

Genre

bebop, jazz

Mat Mathews

In 1952 Hubert Mathieu Schwarts (The Hague, 18 June 1924 – Rotterdam, 12 February 2009) moves from the Netherlands to the States. Under his stage name Mat Mathews he becomes one of the best known jazz accordionists of New York. He records with great jazz musicians, including singer Carmen McRae, ...
Full biography

Mentioned in the biography of

1945   Stido Alström
1953   Tonny Nüsser
1957   Rita Reys

Biography Mat Mathews

In 1952 Hubert Mathieu Schwarts (The Hague, 18 June 1924 – Rotterdam, 12 February 2009) moves from the Netherlands to the States. Under his stage name Mat Mathews he becomes one of the best known jazz accordionists of New York. He records with great jazz musicians, including singer Carmen McRae, flutist Herbie Mann, trumpeter Art Famer, pianist Hank Jones, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Kenny Clarke. In the mid sixties he returns to the Netherlands and joins The Millers, de band with which he performed prior to his stint in America. In 1994 he returns to the US once more to record an album.

Played in

Millers   accordeon

1942 - 1952

Because the German occupier doesn’t imposee forced labor on to cultural trades the young accordionist Mathieu Schwarts decides to become a professional musician. In 1944 he makes his recording debut in a band which also features guitarist Peter van Houten (who would later score triumphs in Italy as Van Wood). Towards the end of the war he is arrested by the Germans after all, and ends up in a concentration camp, where he manages to escape. He goes into hiding in the attic of his mother’s house. After the war he hears the American accordionist Joe Mooney playing jazz during an AFN radio show. It inspires him to form a quartet, with which he can heard on Radio Luxembourg and even the BBC. Between 1947 and 1950 he works with the Millers, but early 1952 he emigrates to New York with his American wife Paulette Rubinstein. He adopts the stage name Mat Mathews and manages to gain a reputation in the New York jazz scene.

Millers

1953 - 1955

On 29 April 1953 the Mat Mathews Quintet makes its recording debut for the Brunswick label. Tenor saxophonist and flutist Herbie Mann, guitarist Benny Weeks, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke are the sidemen. Mathews gets good reviews, according to Leonard Feather in his Encylopedia of Jazz: ‘[H]e was hailed as the first musician to produce modern jazz and an attractive new group sound with the accordion.’ In 1955 he is even featured on a full-page photo in the Metronome Yearbook Jazz, with Herbie Mann in the background. The caption reads: ‘Mat Mathews, a Holland born master of the accordion, is a comparative newcomer to worldwide jazz, has brought to his instrument a subtle distinction, a new light sort of sound, and a modern style, and a fine, young flutist, Herbie Mann, with similar praiseworthy attributes.’ In 1954 and 1955 Mathews can be heard on three albums by singer Carmen McRae: Carmen McRae Sings Great American Songwriters, Here To Stay and You’d Be So Easy To Love.

1956 - 1960

Mathews records the album The Modern Art Of Jazz By Mat Mathews for the Dawn label. With a quintet and a sextet he performs original compositions and arrangements of standards. Bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Kenny Clarke form the rhythm section, the quintet line-up features Herbie Mann, and the sextet trumpeter Art Farmer, alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce and pianist Dick Katz. In the same year The Gentle Art Of Love is released, again featuring Farmer and Pettiford, plus vibraphonist Joe Roland and French hornist David Amram. The latter is also one of the four French hornists on the unusual LP Four French Horns Plus Rhythm Conceived By Mat Mathews. The other three are Julius Watkins, Fred Klein and Tony Miranda. Bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Osie Johnson form the rhythm section. In May 1957 Mathews accompanies his fellow countrywoman, singer Rita Reys during a recording session in New York, in four pieces that are released in the States on the Dawn LP New Voices (featuring Reys, Sylvia Pierce and Peggy Serra), and in the Netherlands on the Philips EP When The Blues Come On. In July of the same year the accordionist performs at the Newport Jazz Festival with a quartet featuring pianist Hank Jones. Verve releases recordings of the concert on the LP The Eddie Costa Trio, Mat Mathews And Don Elliott At Newport. In the late fifties he forms the New York Jazz Quartet, with his mate Herbie Mann, guitarist Joe Puma and bassist Whitey Mitchell. Between 1957 and 1960 the group records four albums.

1964 - 2009

In spite of all the favorable reviews Mat Mathews doesn’t manage to achieve real commercial success in the States. He is forced to accept all kinds of studio jobs. He returns to the Netherlands in 1964, and between 1966 and 1968 he records two albums with violinist Frans van Bergen (Such Sweet Swinging and Violet On Velvet). In 1968 he rejoins The Millers. He can be heard on eight LPs by this band until it disbands in 1984. With vibraphonist Coen van Nassau he records the album Swinging The Mallets in 1969. To make a living makes music for films, radio and television. In October 1994 he returns to the States one more time to record an album: Meditation. He spends the final years of his life in Rotterdam, troubled by the infirmities of old age, and dies on 12 February 2009.

Coen van Nassou Frans van Bergen

Discography Mat Mathews

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Mat Mathews

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