Matt graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1988. He has appeared with Bucky Pizzarelli, John Colianni, Humphrey Lyttelton, Georges Arvanitas, Helen Shapiro, Don Weller, Bobby Wellins, Dusko Goykovich, Duncan Lamont, Ian Shaw, Norma Winstone and Peter King. He has recorded with Paz, Roadside Picnic, Itchy Fingers, NYJO, the Michael Garrick Big Band, Sax Appeal and Jamie Cullum. The Matt Wates Sextet has recorded nine albums on the Audio-B label. He won the Rising Star award in the 1997 BT British Jazz Awards, and the Matt Wates Sextet won the Best Small Group award in 2001.