|Mathieu Hubert Wijnandts Schwarts|
June 18, 1924|
The Hague, Netherlands
|Died||February 12, 2009(aged 84)|
|Musician, arranger, record producer|
|1947 - 1993|
Mat Mathews, born Mathieu Hubert Wijnandts Schwarts (June 18, 1924 - February 12, 2009), was a Dutch jazz accordionist.
Mathews was born in The Hague and learned to play accordion while the Netherlands was still under the Nazi rule during World War II. After hearing Joe Mooney on a radio broadcast after the war, he decided to play jazz.
He married his first wife in 1947. From 1947 to 1950, he played with the Millers in Netherlands. He then moved to New York City on March 1, 1951 with his second wife, Paulette Girard. They were married in Tripoli, North Africa, at the consulate when they were there performing for the troops from 1950-1951. They moved into her mother's home in Brooklyn, New York. "Owl Eyes" was one of their co-writes, which they gave to Jazzbo, a disc jockey who played late-night jazz. Mathews performed for the Arthur Godfrey Hour and at Carnegie Hall.
In 1957 Matthews recorded a several records in Toronto, Canada, where he met, Wilhelmina (Billie) Bailey. She was a model who also performed on radio shows in Canada. They moved to New York and got married in 1958, settling in Fairlawn, New Jersey. Mathews found it difficult to balance a career in jazz with the demands of being a father and husband. The accordion wasn't considered a jazz instrument, and jazz was being eclipsed by rock and roll. In the 1960s, he moved his family to the Netherlands and worked as an arranger, session musician, and record producer.
In 1971, Mathews and his wife returned to the U.S., settling in Rochester, New York. He worked with Charlie Byrd, Doug Duke, Marian McPartland, and Clark Terry. In 1979, they moved to Atlanta, where Mathews had a recording contract with Delta Air Lines for in-flight music to Europe. He also played regularly at the Westin Peachtree Plaza and in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Mathews and his wife separated and reunited several times before she died in 1989. His health began to fail in the 1990s, and he lived in a nursing home in Rotterdam until his death in 2009.
With Carmen McRae