In 1975, Dave was playing Monday nights at the Five Spot cafe in New York, with a 12-piece combo band, when Creed Taylor offered him a position as house arranger for CTI. Dave would work for CTI as Chief arranger through until 1978, and record both modern jazz and some of the CTI jazz funk, disco classics. I’ll spend more time looking at Dave’s contributions when we cover some of his specific work.
Dave Matthews has had a stellar career in music, arranging, producing, performing and recording on many jazz, jazz funk, and soundtrack albums. He has worked on some fascinating live music events as well.
He is the son of a Methodist minister, was born in Sonora, Kentucky on March 4, l942. He was educated at the University of Cincinnati where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from its’ Conservatory of Music.
He began his musical professional career as leader of dance band in the late 60’s. Off the back of this work, Matthews joined James Brown Productions in 1970. He moved in 1971 and first came to New Yorkers’ attention in the early Seventies, playing cleverly arranged big band R&B at various clubs in Greenwich Village. He contributed some fantastic arrangements for James Brown including These Foolish Things and When The Saints Go Marching In for the Hell album.
He worked on albums, singles, radio and TV commercials and film scores. He arranged or composed albums or tracks for Buddy Rich, Mark Murphy, Bonnie Raitt, T Bone Walker, Blue Mitchell, the J.B.’s, Starland Vocal Band, Stephanie Mills, Earl Klugh, Phoebe Snow, Donald Bird, Crystal Gayle, David Sanborn and Paul Simon. Among Dave’s live musical highlights, he was the musical director for the original Simon and Garfunkel Reunion Concert in Central Park. He was also arranger the Radio City Memorial Concert for John Lennon by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Later in his career, Dave spent his time recording for both music and TV for King Records and other Japanese companies. Variously the music was by the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra or similar. Dave’s discog artist page has an almost complete list. They are well worth exploring for more modern jazz vibes.
It starts out with ‘Concierto De Aranjuez’, from a 1992 Jim Hall and David Matthews Orchestra album, so not produced by Creed Taylor. I much prefer this arrangement to the one from Jim’s Concierto album on CTI, even if perhaps Hall’s guitar is better on that. Next up comes Matthews ‘Sandstorm’, from the Dune album on CTI; then Daves’ classic disco, dance and tite track from his 1976 album Shoogie Wanna Boogie ; and finally wrapping up with another David Matthews big band/orchestra special, Urbie Green’s ‘I Wish’ from the Señor Blues. [Read on for background on Dave, but turn up the volume and press play!]