May 27, 20172:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Blue Room Stage
Kansas City native Will Matthews has been playing the guitar since age thirteen. By age fifteen Matthews began playing in church and performing in R&B bands, taking regional tours during the summer months when school was not in session. During these formidable years Matthews started listening to all the great pioneers of the jazz guitar, from Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery and George Benson to Grant Green, Pat Martino and others. By age eighteen Matthews was traveling and touring with groups internationally and making a career in the music business.
During the 1970’s – 80’s Matthews was performing with such notable artists as Arthur Prysock, Carmel Jones, Jimmy Witherspoon, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Jay McShann, Queen Bey, Luqman Hamza, Ahmad Alaadeen, The Bloodstones and The New Breed Orchestra, while in the 1990’s he also worked with Freda Payne, Carmen Bradford, Charles Earland, Ronnell Bright and others.
In 1996 Matthews joined the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of former Basie band lead trombonist Grover Mitchell, to fill the coveted chair of the late legendary guitarist and composer, Freddie Green, who performed with the Orchestra for over fifty years.