Kansas City native Will Matthews is the guitarist for the world famous Count Basie Orchestra, joining the group in 1996 under the direction of trombonist Grover Mitchell to fill the coveted chair of the late legendary guitarist and composer, Freddie Green who was with the band for over fifty years. Matthews has traveled and toured all over the world and has played on many studio recordings with the group, including two Grammy-winning recordings, Count Basie Orchestra Live at Manchester Guild in 1997 and Count Plays Duke 1999, as well as the Grammy-nominated recording Swing Shift in 2000.
Matthews has played every major festival, concert hall and theatre in the world and has also had the opportunity to play one-nighters with a variety of artists coming through Kansas City such as Charles Earland, Freda Payne, Arthur Prysock, Jimmy Witherspoon, Carmen Bradford, Kevin Mahogany, and Bobby Watson. In 1996 Matthews was invited to perform at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand for King Bhumbibol, along with other members of the Basie Orchestra, Benny Carter and Frank Foster. In 1997 he performed with the group for President William J. Clinton's second inaugural.
During his tenure with the band, Matthews has performed with a who's who of artists such as Joe Williams, Frank Wess, Curtis Fuller, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Jimmy Cobb, Hank Jones, Rufus Reed, John Faddis, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Lou Donaldson, Dorothy Donegan, Tom Scott, John Pizzarelli, Regina Carter, Nancy Wilson, Patti Austin, Rosemary Clooney, Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, Marlena Shaw, and Ledisi to name a few.
Matthews also holds the guitar chair with the 18th Vine St. Big Band lead by Watson.