Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ron Mathewson - Shetland's forgotten genius of the double bass
It was my old friend and colleague Ian Leask (drummer and philosopher) who first mentioned the name 'Ron Mathewson' to me, and since then I've been tracing his incredible jazz career through various websites. Best to start with Wikipedia, but if I say that he played or recorded with, to name just a few, Ronnie Scott,Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Ben Webster, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Tubby Hayes, Dick Morrissey, Ian Carr and here with Johnny Griffin....that should give some indication if his ability. I've ordered a couple of the albums he plays on (just to show my son James, in-house bassist, what it's all about).
Details of Ron's current activities are difficult to find. I had heard he no longer played, indeed, no longer had a bass, but gave occasional lessons in London. If anybody can help with information, without trespassing on his privacy, I'd appreciate it.
In the meantime, this is just unbelievable, thrilling stuff. It's the Ronnie Scott quartet, plus (in the first video) Johnny Griffin. On Green Dolphin Street features, at about 2.35, an astonishing bass solo.