Viewing: Listening - View All Posts


In the spirit of today’s THANKSGIVING holiday, I want to express my gratitude to all our supporters, friends and fans for helping to make JAZZ NOIR a reality.

Here’s an update:

We’ve finished all four recording sessions (twelve selections in all), and are now mixing the album!

Last night’s downtown photo shoot — under neon lights, in the shadowy streets — was a cinema-worthy thrill.

Soon we’ll ship the music and images to our art director, annotator and mastering engineer so they may begin their creative work.

We’re on track for a February 20 release and can’t wait to share it with you.

Watch our teaser trailer and pre-order yours HERE.

JAZZ NOIR, in the words of Sam Spade, is “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Thanks for making our dreams come true!



Part One


I'm a young man, proud to be a member of the prestigious Philosopher's Forum. 


Our meeting place is a stately hall with white columns, not unlike a Roman temple, perched atop a steep hill.  


The names of the great philosophers, our wise elders, are chiseled on the marble wall.  


There's a grand salon where the elders speak and an archive where their lectures are recorded for posterity.


Our favorite days are when the elders visit to share their life experiences and ideas.  


My friends and I gather in the grand salon, listen attentively and ask many questions.  


Afterward we meet in the archive to read the great lectures of the past. 


We passionately debate the nuances and meaning of every phrase.


Part Two


It's now decades later. 


I'm honored to have been invited to speak at the Forum, but when I arrive, it is not as I remember.  


The columns are crumbling and the marble wall is covered in graffiti.  


The names of the elders, long dead, are barely legible beneath the chaotic scrawl.


The grand salon has been carved up into dozens of tiny rooms. 


There are too many speakers and everyone is shouting.


I struggle to communicate with a restless young audience. 


They seem distracted and have no questions.


Afterward, I ask if I may visit the archive. 


“Yeah, we don't really have that anymore,” I'm told. 


“It's a Chipotle now.”


If you're serious about the flugel, don't sleep on ACK VAN ROOYEN.
To my ears, now that AF and CT have passed, Ack may very well be
the greatest living practitioner of the Big Horn. Such subtlety,
style, soul and finesse. And what a gorgeous tone!
If I ever have occasion to return to Holland,
I'm definitely going to inquire about
getting a lesson from this
master musician.


(L-R) Dave Ellis tenor saxophone, Dmitri Matheny flugelhorn, Orrin Keepnews producer,
Bill Douglass bass, Kenny Wollesen drums, John Heller guitar


The good news is more young people are coming to our concerts.
The bad news is most of them rarely look up from their phones and hand-held devices.

It saddens me to look out at them from the bandstand, to see them there in the audience, sitting in the darkness,
looking not to the stage but downward, their expressionless faces illuminated by cold blue light.

I want so badly for them to experience—truly and without distraction—the gift of a soulfully crafted melody.

I want to share with them the thing I love most: the pure emotional power of instrumental music,
without the need for lyrics, explication or visual spectacle.

Am I naive? In today's world, is it even possible?

Michigan Tour Diary — Day 3 

Dmitri Matheny Group JAZZ NOIR
Michigan Tour Diary — Day 3
April 12 Traverse City MI

On a rainy Saturday night in the warehouse district of Traverse City, Michigan,
a killer jazz band plays classic film noir themes for a roomful of attentive, enthusiastic listeners.

The atmosphere is alive. Everyone feels it.
The musicians, audience, sound man, bartender, everyone.

The bandleader, a big, bespectacled, beret-wearing horn player,
looks around the room and smiles.

'This is it,' he thinks.

'It doesn't get any better than this.'

Photo by Myrna Jacobs