WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING
ALBUQUERQUE ALIBIThe Dmitri Matheny Group is back with Penumbra, featuring a host of music inspired by the shimmering disk we call the Moon. Broad, airy and a little mysterious, the Matheny sound is complemented well by this celestial theme. Matheny's is a sound that won't be overshadowed.
After training under the eminent flugelhornist Art Farmer, renown has come for Matheny with the release of his debut CD, a collection of "sound paintings in jazz" that not only showcases Matheny's sculptural performance but also many of his own compositions. Red Reflections has quickly become one of the best selling releases on the Monarch label and has been praised by some as "the best jazz title of the year."
ALBUQUERQUE JOURNALGrant & Matheny are equal partners. They accompany one another while improvising energetic solos over jazz standards, chamber music and African-American spirituals. They play spirited, swinging shout choruses just like a Big Band, but they never lose the warm intimacy of a classically trained duo. An exciting and satisfying performance.
ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNEMatheny's Hard Work Produces Silky Jazz
Listen to "Starlight Cafe," Matheny's latest album, and it will sound seductively familiar, like you've been listening to his ebony tones and molasses rhythms all your life. These are loose and easy tunes, liquid silky, and yet Matheny' s improvisations—with Darrell Grant on piano and Bill Douglas on bass—still press the limits of standards like "Stardust" and "When You Wish Upon a Star."
His third album is an intimate confection imbued with the warm delicacy, mellow lyricism and lazy elegance of a midnight jam session playing in another room. That fat sound which draws a line directly to mentor Farmer, moans wiith the expressiveness of a doomed chantuese...one of the best new artists on the jazz scene.
ALL ABOUT JAZZDmitri Matheny: Starlight Café (November 1, 1998)
Dmitri Matheny seems on the verge of establishing himself as a major new jazz star. His third release on San Francisco's Monarch label may just put him over the top. The 34-year-old Nashville native, now a stalwart on the Bay Area jazz scene, is a velvety smooth player who favors the lyrical and poetic side of jazz over the fire and brimstone side championed by many of his contemporaries. His tone and overall approach bear the strong influence of his mentor, the impeccable Art Farmer. His ballad playing also recalls that of another master of California romanticism, Chet Baker. Matheny and his talented cohorts have made a highly enjoyable album of late-night jazz that proves you don't need to make a lot of noise to make a strong impression.
Dmitri Matheny: Starlight Café (November 1, 1998)
The trio’s members form a cohesive seamless unit made up of equal parts soulful expression, caressing phrases, imaginative asides, and dedicated lyricism. A sensitive and expressive new voice on today’s jazz scene, Dmitri Matheny is preaching smooth sounds without losing sight of the quality in music. Recommended.
Monterey Jazz Festival (September 29, 2004)
Dmitri Matheny (flugelhorn) and Darrell Grant (piano) have played together for years, and it showed particularly on Bill Lee’s “Little Jimmy Fiddler” where they sometimes shared the lead or finished each other’s phrases during four-bar interchanges. Both players have refined their instrumental techniques to the essentials, and their music had a relaxed, uncomplicated sensibility that made it fun to listen to. Not surprisingly the audience loved them.
Dmitri Matheny is an excellent flugelhornist whose style and sound are mellow and whose bop-based improvising is melodic.
ALL MUSIC GUIDEPenumbra: The Moon Sessions (Fall 1997)
Dmitri Matheny, the head of the Monarch label, is also an excellent flugelhornist. His style and sound (softened by his decision to play flugelhorn rather than trumpet) are mellow and his bop-based improvising is fairly melodic. For this date, he performs a variety of songs that have “moon” in their title. Matheny utilizes his regular group, a pianoless quintet with tenor-saxophonist Dave Ellis (formerly with Charlie Hunter), guitarist John Heller, bassist Bill Douglass and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Produced by veteran Orrin Keepnews (for whom “Moon Rocks” was subtitled “Keepnews Blues”), the emphasis is generally on slower tempos although there is enough variation to keep one’s interest. Matheny contributed three pieces (including three-part “Moon Song Trinity”) and there are also pieces by Tom Harrell, Lee Morgan (“Desert Moonlight”), Neil Young, a traditional Chinese melody (“Autumn Moon”) and the standard “Moonlight In Vermont.” An added touch is the inclusion of Rob Burger’s accordion on the tangoish “Sea Of Tranquility” (the first part of “Moon Song Trinity”). Matheny’s light tone blends well throughout with Ellis’ slightly heavier sound. This “sleeper” is well worth investigating, both for the fine solos and the fresh material.
Dmitri Matheny's recording career got off to an impressive start with his highly introspective debut album, Red Reflections. One could hear the influence of Chet Baker, Art Farmer and Miles Davis in Matheny's playing, but while the flugelhornist clearly admires their lyricism, it's also obvious that he's very much his own man. Except for Michael Brecker's "Take a Walk" and Horace Silver's "The Outlaw," Red Reflections emphasizes Matheny's own compositions, which include the complex "Myth of the Rainy Night," the contemplative "Like a River," and the evocative title song. Another high point of this pianoless date is "Sketch," an impressionistic, cerebral number that recalls Davis' mid-1960s output. This is an excellent album that is as cerebral as it is rewarding.
Flügelhornist Dmitri Matheny's Christmas jazz album mostly features his regular group (with Kenny Brooks on tenor and soprano, guitarist Brad Buethe, pianist Darrell Grant, bassist Ruth Davies, and drummer Jason Lewis), although various numbers also feature the French horn of Mark Taylor; Rob Burger on accordion; and vocals by Paula West, Clairdee, and Brenda Boykins (who is a bit annoying on "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"). Other than the latter piece, the performances all work quite well. Highlights include happy versions of such songs as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Winter Wonderland," and "Let It Snow." The closing "The Christmas Song" is taken as a brief, unaccompanied flügelhorn solo. A recommended acquisition for one's Christmas jazz collection.
Flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny is a jazz treasure. The lyrical Matheny, whose influences include Chet Baker, Art Farmer, and Miles Davis, has impressive chops, but it's his warmth and soulfulness that win you over.
AMERICAN JAZZ COUNTDOWNI have followed Dmitri's music career closely. With the release of each new CD, as his notoreity has grown, so has his heart. As the parent of a young jazz trumpeter, I'm impressed by the commitment the Dmitri Matheny Group has shown to music education. And as the son of one who defined the genre, I'm encouraged that the future of jazz is in such good hands.
—Clifford Brown, Jr.
ARIZONA DAILY STARKnown for his warm tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, flugelhorn artist Dmitri Matheny searches for poignant moments of jazz noir with four fellow explorers in the Dmitri Matheny Group.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC | AZ CENTRALAlong with a crew of some of the San Francisco Bay Area's most cutting-edge players, Matheny pulled off a set of chilled-out meditative sounds that engage the listener...a shadow world of alluring mystery and captivating intrigue. A true artist.
ASPEN TIMESDmitri Matheny is a damn good flugelhorn player.
BERKELEYSIDEOne of the most visible jazz musicians in Northern California, the Berkeley Hills-based flugelhornist combines a beautiful, lustrous tone with a love of elegant, singing melodic lines. By approaching his career like a non-profit arts organization, presenting a home season, hosting guest artists, and regularly unveiling well publicized premieres, he became a real force who leveraged his high profile to support music education (particularly Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program).
Few horn men in America enjoy such universal acclaim as Dmitri Matheny.
CARSON COUNTY DIVERSIONSGrant & Matheny achieve a level of heartfelt communication rarely experienced in larger ensembles. They take listeners on an inspired musical journey, capturing the playful, spontaneous spirit of American jazz, reinventing European art songs and interpreting sacred and secular works from around the world.
CONTRA COSTA TIMESEvery March, flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny organizes a series of Bay Area concerts before he sets out on a long road trip. This year's Home Season schedule features an especially impressive, disparate array of performances.
Dmitri Matheny's third album, Starlight Cafe, is a ravishingly beautiful session with bass master Bill Douglass and the superb young pianist Darrell Grant.
Dmitri Matheny's second release, Penumbra, is an exquisitely rendered, moody and reflective suite of music based around musical moon themes.
A noted composer who has received many commissions. Matheny is one of the most lyrical and creative musicians on the Bay Area jazz scene. His latest recording, Penumbra, is a ravishingly beautiful album of standards, pop tunes and his own finely crafted pieces, all linked by the lunar theme.
Flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny's music seems to have found the best of both worlds—it's as warm and appealing as Chuck Mangione's most commercial ventures, yet bares all the mastery of his mentor, Art Farmer.
Hornman Comes Home: Flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny spends much of the year on the road, so he makes sure he has something special up his sleeve when he's working in the Bay Area. The noted composer has lined up a series of seven concerts in March, billed as his Home Season. Looking to the heavens for inspiration, Matheny will perform a repertoire of linked lunar themed compositions in a series of starkly beautiful sonic vistas.
DOWNBEAT MAGAZINEPenumbra: The Moon Sessions
3-1/2 Stars (out of 4) — With resonant, soft-toned flugelhorn lines, Matheny casts a silvery blue glow over his radiant sophomore CD conceptually linked by a lunar theme. He and his group (featuring rising-star tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis) swing into a luminous version of Lee Morgan’s “Desert Moonlight” and render Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” with exquisite beauty. The strongest tracks are Matheny originals like the alluring moonscape trilogy, the show-stopping title number and the spry finale, “Moon Rocks (Keepnews Blues),” which briefly alludes to Van Morrison’s “Moondance” and pays homage to album producer Orrin Keepnews.
Dmitri Matheny Starlight Café
It's unusual that such a wondrous jazz moment gets caught on tape. But that's the story behind the captivating Starlight Café, CD number three by rising star flugelhornist-composer bandleader Dmitri Matheny. Working with his remarkable trio of pianist Darrell Grant and bassist Bill Douglass, Matheny embarks on an exquisite ride through the cosmos, romancing and musing on his horn with balladic delicacy and gorgeous ebullience. This is dimmer-switch and candlelight music, best savored when the lights are low. Rich with improvisation and played to perfection, Starlight Café gleams with rapturous jazz radiance.
EAST BAY EXPRESSA wonderfully lyrical flugelhornist whose clean, thoughtfully sculpted lines and warm tone bring to mind those of Art Farmer and Clark Terry.
EUGENE WEEKLYIn their solos Grant & Matheny favor the "Stan Getz, less-is-more" style, striving to create a mood rather than displaying hot licks. It's hard to imagine any music more perfect for a warm, romantic summer evening.
EXAMINER.COMA horn player of uncommon wit and power.
The Dmitri Matheny Group is an all-star jazz band featuring some of the most accomplished musicians in the western United States.
THE GAVIN REPORTSay you're a thirty-year-old flugelhorn player, and Art Farmer, the legendary master of the big horn, says your debut release "sounds so good I wish I'd made it myself." You must might have to pinch yourself. Red Reflections, the excellent debut from Dmitri Matheny, has a little bit of everything, from a serene, floating calypso reminiscent of Tony Williams' "Sister Cheryl," to burning bebop, a mid-tempo Horace Silver tune, a free association mosaic, film noir ballads, and a strutting Michael Brecker number.
GOOD TIMES SANTA CRUZDmitri Matheny's lyrical approach to the flugelhorn has earned him a legion of fans.
INSIDE NAPA VALLEYCelebrated for his warm romantic tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, Matheny has performed with a "who's who" of jazz luminaries.
JAM MAGAZINEDmitri Matheny has the kind of flugelhorn sound that has inspired this Metheny to start spending an extra hour each day in the woodshed. It's as gorgeous and soulful as a sumptuous full moon on a breezy summer night. And that's not to mention a level of technique and fluidity that will probably end up adding another hour to this admirer's new regimen...one of the jazz world's next important flugelhorn players.
JAZZ BEAT FORUMPlaying a whole gig without a drummer takes a special kind of musicianship. This threesome pulls it off brilliantly.
JAZZ EDUCATION JOURNALIt is a giant joy to soak and bathe in his virtuosic lyricism, clarity, savoir faire, sensitivity, and integrity. Dmitri Matheny sings on his horn, illuminating the fresh vocal quality of his instrument and improvising with imagination, witticism, and emotion. Remember his name.
—Dr. Herb Wong
As the past President of the International Association of Jazz Educators, I'm warmly gratified that the Dmitri Matheny Group has made jazz education a prominent and vital part of their busy touring season. As a veteran jazz media producer, author and historian, I'm particularly proud that this world-class group of artists is based right here in my home, the San Francisco Bay Area.
—Dr. Herb Wong
JAZZIZ MAGAZINEJazzIz International Readers Poll 1999
Best New Artists: Brad Mehldau, Dmitri Matheny, Stefon Harris, Ravi Coltrane
Dmitri Matheny hardly plays an unpretty note on his flugelhorn throughout Starlight Cafe. Matheny essays ballads and mid-tempo pieces with a winning, natural lyricism...unquestionably a master.
The debut CD of flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny is an intricate, colorful, slowly whirling vortex that draws you in deeper with each listening. The entire CD is steeped in the shadowy mood of a rain slicked city street at night. The five original songs on Red Reflections show him to be a major talent as a composer.
JAZZ NEWSMatheny's composition "Whisper, Muse" adopts a reflective attitude. Its minor key and somber melody create a sense of subtle beauty.
The subdued sonority of the Wallace Stevens poem in the liner notes is a reflection of Matheny's similar qualities—understated, understanding, assured and explicative elegance. Legendary producer Orrin Keepnews lends decades of expertise to this fine album. The title song is especially beautiful. Penumbra offers innovation, maturity of style, an ensemble sensibility, a deference to influences, wit, controlled and masterful technique and evident joy.
JAZZ NOWDmitri is a very laid-back player with a gorgeous tone who speaks the language of jazz in measured eloquence.
JAZZ NUDmitri Matheny, the acclaimed jazz flugelhornist and composer, has been recording for over a decade, but Nocturne, his latest release on the Papillon Recordings label, outdoes them all.
Here, Matheny reveals his passion for the night and takes the listener to a place of serene contemplation. With its romantic yet innocent melodies, rich orchestral harmonies, and the heartbreakingly lyrical sound of Matheny's flugelhorn, this album is surely his greatest musical achievement to date.
Matheny takes a wonderfully subdued approach to his enchanting collection of melancholy originals, whose subtle, intimate qualities may surprise those of his fans who best know his more lively and popular concert fare. More than simply expressing romantic love, Matheny has created a mysterious and compelling world where songs that touch the heart combine with the atmospheric texture of violins to provide an escape from life's ups-and-downs and allow us to re-connect with our true spirit. Nocturne is a winner.
JAZZTIMES MAGAZINEDmitri Matheny Penumbra: The Moon Sessions (September 1997)
Matheny is a glowing alternative to today's fiery, chops-parading brassmen. In his and the quintet's playing, he demonstrates a firm jazz perspective that incorporates lyrical predecessors such as Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter, Chet Baker, Kenny Wheeler and Tom Harrell.
Dmitri Matheny Red Reflections (March 1996)
Matheny’s approach to the flugelhorn is lyrical, lean and often lithe, and his varied compositions are open to myriad possibilities. The tunes groove mightily and the players are clearly listening to each other, evident by the ensemble interaction and the various ways they key off of each other’s solos...the group is long on sound and spirit.
LA JAZZ SCENEDmitri Matheny Penumbra: The Moon Sessions
Flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny and Dave Ellis are tight. They complement each other well, offering harmony, color, and tonal variety. With a theme album that refers to the majestic beauty of the Moon, the flugelhornist offers a set of beautiful, interesting pieces...a set that demonstrates well the variety and sensitivity evoked by the composer and performers. Recommended.
Dmitri Matheny at the Jazz Bakery
Matheny’s talent, deserving wider recognition and focused solely on the flugelhorn, lies in his ability to quietly charm an audience with subtle nuances that include cohesive teamwork, rhythmic variety, and individual virtuosity. He uses a lot of notes in the Dizzy Gillespie tradition; he has developed a unique and pensive tone in the Miles Davis tradition. This flugelhornist deserves to be heard by a larger audience.
Dmitri Matheny at the Jazz Bakery
Flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny was joined by pianist Bill Bell and bassist Tom Wakeling on Sunday, January 10th, for a set of acoustic mainstream jazz before an appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Matheny's seamless phrasing and warm, full tone made the set both informal and spontaneous. Up-tempo jaunts and lush ballads balanced the leader's presentation.
An artist who seems to love appearing before an audience, Matheny employs natural eye contact with his listeners. That trait carries over through the horn, as the flugelhornist turns from side to side during the performance. The Jazz Bakery's acoustics are just right for that kind of intimacy; no microphone was needed for Matheny or his guests.
After contrasting a ballad and a bossa nova, the flugelhornist introduced tenor saxophonist Chuck Johnson, who joined the trio for Herbie Hancock's "Empty Pockets." Solos from each of the artists led to fours from saxophonist and flugelhornist, who remained loose with spontaneous quotes from other tunes.
It was the kind of spontaneity that brings a smile to the faces of fans and performers alike. "Soca Nova," from Matheny's most recent album Starlight Café, invited fours between piano and flugelhorn, as the trio presented the tune via a happy calypso arrangement. Throughout the CD, the leader offered glimpses of his unique style as he employed a personal touch through adaptations such as half-valve growls and playing directly into the piano strings for a faraway sound.
Born in Nashville on Christmas Day in 1965, the artist and his family moved to Tucson, Arizona when he was thirteen. It was there that he picked up the trumpet and learned to appreciate the myriad sounds available to a performer. After graduation from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, Matheny enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston while still a teenager. By the time he graduated (Magna Cum Laude), the trumpeter had turned to the flugelhorn for a darker, more melancholy sound. Study with Art Farmer and performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival led the flugelhornist to move to the Bay Area.
Since he recently won the “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” award in the 46th Annual Down Beat Critics Poll, word of Matheny's ability and stage presence may start to get around.
It's about time.
LA WEEKLYCritics' Pick: Dmitri Matheny at the Jazz Bakery
Don't miss flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny, who hails from Northern California, as he leads a quintet at the Jazz Bakery this week. More concert space than club, the Jazz Bakery (brainchild of singer Ruth Price) offers the best big name performers for those of us who really like to listen to music rather than talk through it. We like the cool tones of flugelhornist Matheny's new release Red Reflections, and we're not alone. The disc has drawn praise from Art Farmer, perhaps the reigning master of jazz flugelhorn.
LOS ANGELES TIMESDmitri Matheny Penumbra: The Moon Sessions (August 10, 1998)
There is no faulting the quality of their playing. Matheny's compositions and arrangements exploit this group with a loving concern for fine detail. The music ranges from boppish blues to a surprisingly vigorous 3/4 romp through "Moonlight in Vermont," from Tom Harrell's "Moon Alley" to "Autumn Moon," a traditional Chinese melody. A substantial number of the new jazz albums released every week are locked into repetitive sequences that move predictably from written theme to improvised variations. So it is a particular pleasure to hear an outing that mixes solid straight-ahead blowing with thoughtful composition and a subtle understanding of the crucial musical balance between sound and silences.
METROACTIVE | SF METROPOLITANThis guy blows a flugelhorn so cool it'll run a shiver through your martini.
People to Watch: Who's Going to Do Great Things This Year?
Dmitri Matheny, Musician
Few horn players dedicate themselves exclusively to the flugelhorn, a first cousin to the trumpet, but Dmitri Matheny has found a soulmate in the mellow-toned instrument. With his gift for soaring lyricism, Matheny plays jazz that's emotionally open but full of mystery. His latest album, Starlight Cafe, showcases his talent as a composer and features pianist Darrell Grant and bass virtuoso Bill Douglass. Though he's spending more and more time on the road, Matheny is scheduling a series of Bay Area concerts bringing together some of the region's top improvisors.
People Who Will Change San Francisco and the World in the Coming Year
Dmitri Matheny, Musician
As one of the jazz world’s most talented horn players, Dmitri Matheny may not be a household name...yet. With three excellent albums under his belt, he is a rarity in the music world: a rising star free of ego and hubris. Matheny’s mild mannered appearance belies the smoldering passion that oozes from his horn. His recent CD, Starlight Cafe, shows off Matheny’s prodigiously versatile talent and promises that San Francisco’s jazz scene is well-stocked for the future.
Dmitri Matheny Penumbra: The Moon Sessions
Surrounding himself with players comfortable with the cool jazz idiom, flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny is as unhurried as a full moon rising.
On his new album, in addition to his own songs, Matheny assays tunes composed by hot bopper Lee Morgan and rocker Neil Young.
Penumbra is a thematic set obsessed with moon-age daydreams. Tom Harrell's "Moon Alley," the traditional Chinese composition "Autumn Moon" and Young's "Harvest Moon" all glow with Matheny's imaginative arrangements.
On "Desert Moonlight," the saxophone is employed to fine effect as a foil for Matheny's own taciturn flugelhorn. "Moonlight in Vermont" boasts some slippery bass, Jim Hall like guitar and more saxophone warbling.
With veteran jazz producer Orrin Keepnews at the boards, it is no surprise that the production values are crystalline; even on tape you can discern every sweep of the drummer's brush, every "step" the bass takes on its myriad "walks" as it escorts a tune to its conclusion.
With his gift for soaring lyricism, Matheny plays jazz that's emotionally open but full of mystery.
MONTEREY HERALDDmitri Matheny's Santa's Got a Brand New Bag crossed my desk a few weeks ago, and I can't seem to keep it off my desktop CD player. It's downright refreshing. That’s probably due to Matheny, a rising star in the jazz firmament, whose warm tone, playful nature and lyrical sensibilities add an extra dimension and freshness to this collection of tried-and-true holiday tunes.
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIOThis is music to touch your heart. A twilight mood for lovers of leisurely paced music. Dmitri Matheny's warm pellucid sound truly encapsulates the essence of jazz.
—Marian McPartland, Host of "Piano Jazz"
NEW ENGLAND MONTHLY MAGAZINEThe new voice in Boston jazz: Matheny and company have been heralded throughout New England for their spirited performances.
NEWPORT NEWS-TIMESCritics' Pick: Grant & Matheny
As part of a three-week, 18-city tour, Grant & Matheny will bring their intimate chamber jazz sound to the Oregon Coast this weekend. Grant & Matheny have appeared together on major concert stages from Carnegie Hall to the Monterey, Telluride and San Francisco jazz festivals. The classically trained duo blends the intimacy of chamber music with the spontaneous spirit of American jazz to take listeners on an inspired musical journey.
NORTH BEACH NOWStarlight Cafe is a real winner. Matheny mixes soulful, torchy ballads and inventive uptempo numbers with deft ease.
OAKLAND TRIBUNEThe Ten Best Jazz Releases of the Year: Dmitri Matheny Starlight Cafe
Recorded live in Berkeley, Starlight Cafe is an exquisite, soft-spoken album of standards and originals, ideal for quiet nights. In the company of bassist Bill Douglass and pianist Darrell Grant, Matheny savors a relaxed, reflective mood through a handful of nocturnes and standards. Matheny's velvety horn glides effortlessly above the sympathetic, sparse accompaniment of Douglass and Grant, weaving a spellbinding tapestry of sounds.
Jazz Under the Stars in Golden Gate Park
Imagine settling back into a soft, reclining chair as the sky darkens and the stars begin to twinkle and dance overhead. Swirling tones of flugelhorn, bamboo flutes and piano fill the night air, gently coalescing into a sweetly celestial music. That was Tuesday night's "Celestial Jazz," featuring five jazz luminaries under the starry canopy inside the Morrison Planetarium in Golden Gate Park, part of the Dmitri Matheny Home Season.
Critics' Pick: Dmitri Matheny Home Season
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the publication of On the Road, the magnum opus of seminal Beat writer Jack Kerouac, is a special performance by innovative San Francisco jazzman Dmitri Matheny. The flugelhornist will present his new “Visions of Kerouac” a three part suite based on the writer’s work. He’ll be backed by some of the top jazz talents in the Bay Area modern jazz community.
Under the guiding hand of flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny, the Dmitri Matheny Group has earned a reputation as one of the most eclectic and daring groups on the jazz scene. As likely to borrow from classical chamber music structures as Bebop or blues, Matheny and his cohorts treat music as a fertile landscape without boundaries.
Matheny and company performed two sets of enthralling music dedicated to Marian McPartland in celebration of her recent 80th birthday. The most ethereal moment on Sunday’s performance came with Matheny’s rendition of “Stardust.” He began the tune playing his flugelhorn into the Grand Piano. The sounds caused the strings to vibrate, adding a gorgeous introduction to this recognized standard.
Dmitri Matheny Starlight Cafe
The music on Starlight Cafe, Matheny's live disc, is splendid—familiar standards such as "Stardust," "When Lights Are Low," Jobim's tropical "Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)," and a few originals—is lush, seductive and dreamy. The album also continues Matheny's unabashed passion for all things celestial.
A fluid player with a reliable sense of adventure and a solid feel for jazz tradition, Dmitri Matheny has emerged in the past few years as one of the most vital talents on the Bay Area jazz scene.
THE OREGONIANCritics' Pick: Grant & Matheny
Over the years, "pretty" became a dirty word in jazz circles. But players as hip as fabled saxophonist Dexter Gordon have always honed the sweet as well as the tough. When asked his musical goal, Gordon answered simply, "Why, to play pretty, of course."
Into that tradition comes Dmitri Matheny, a rising young flugelhornist, composer and this year's winner of Downbeat's "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" poll. Inspired by his mentor, the great Art Farmer, Matheny's playing is lyrical, flowing and graceful. He plays pretty.
A shared love for melody and a lyrical rather than percussive approach make Grant & Matheny a good match. Their elegant understatement should restore Beauty to its rightful position alongside Truth in the pantheon of jazz values.
OUR TOWNA spectacularly popular flugelhornist who continues to bring new and innovative sounds to his field.
PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL
Dmitri Matheny was virtually unknown when his first album was released five years ago, but in a matter of weeks he was topping the jazz radio charts and selling out concert halls from New York to Warsaw. After years performing in small nightclubs, he had become the classic overnight success.
But there was really nothing overnight about Matheny. He had already paid his dues at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, studied privately with flugelhorn legend Art Farmer, and worked steadily on both coasts for nearly a decade.
Five CDs later, Dmitri Matheny is collecting awards and accolades at an alarming rate. JAZZIZ magazine has rated him "Best New Artist," while the San Jose Mercury News has dubbed him "the first breakthrough flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione."
The torch has been passed, but Matheny is not resting on his laurels. His 2000 Tour included concerts in Japan, Europe and the United States.
THE RECORDLiving the Life of Music: Bay Area Jazzman Dmitri Matheny (December 2000)
Inspired by Art Farmer, Matheny switched to flugelhorn a decade ago and began touring aggressively. Matheny now spreads the gospel of jazz through example. He has advanced his career by diversifying his approach to jazz while never diluting his commitment to the music
ROLLING STONE MAGAZINEDmitri Matheny has diverted his ample talent from trumpet to flugelhorn, performing beautiful Hard Bop lines with a flawless warm tone. He's an excellent performer on gentle ballads and bop scorchers alike.
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNEInspired By The Dark: Dmitri Matheny (July 21, 2005)
Protégé of the late Art Farmer, flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny works along the edge between chamber music and jazz, creating a musical landscape found when lights are low. The lyricism of his horn work is achingly poignant. With Nocturne, Matheny has come down to earth, but he's still exploring mysterious places in the dark.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIANDowntown cool, like a midwinter walk down empty Soho streets.
Critics Pick: Dmitri Matheny Home Season
Taking a cue from classical groups and turning his imaginative programming and beautiful music into a cottage industry, Bay Area flugelhorn virtuoso Dmitri Matheny returns from successful tours of the United States and Europe for an ambitious four-day Home Season...an engaging instrumentalist who brings gorgeous melodies to life with a smooth, elegant tone.
The flugelhorn is the primary instrument of only a few jazz giants, most notably Dmitri Matheny's mentor Art Farmer. But Matheny, trained on trumpet, displays a precocious command of the bigger horn, blowing smooth and lustrous timbres and shaping unique phrases, often spare and always lyrical, in which you can hear traces of his earliest inspiration, Miles Davis. Whether exploring tender emotional nuances or cutting loose with quicker-paced romps, Matheny achieves a noble balance of cool attitude and warm sound, unforced in execution and rich in compositional and improvisational ideas.
Dmitri Matheny Penumbra: The Moon Session
If the lushness and purity of the leader's flugelhorn tone were the only outstanding qualities of Dmitri Matheny's sophomore CD, that would be enough to recommend Penumbra as one of the most gorgeous mainstream jazz recordings of the year. The smooth, luminous sound and gentle tempos executed by Matheny and friends might give a deceptive "dinner jazz" gloss to the session, but a delicate harmonic complexity shapes Matheny's fine original music. Although he eloquently covers Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" and quotes Van Morrison's "Moondance" in the swinging tribute to legendary producer Orrin Keepnews, Matheny makes no facile pop or "new jazz" moves that would eclipse the fundamental beauty and understated lunacy of his vision.
Dmitri Matheny: Red Reflections
The first notes of this jazz debut, Red Reflections, drift up and curl in the air like smoke from a cigarette on the edge of an ashtray in some swank watering hole. They hang momentarily and then dissipate, leaving only memory traces in a void soon filled by another magical wisp. The evocative tones emanate from the flugelhorn of Dmitri Matheny, a San Francisco transplant stepping forward as one of the most eloquent musical voices in the gradually evolving mainstream of jazz. A young player with impressive academic degrees, awards, and commissions, Matheny makes feeling—from noir moods to unfettered delight—the primary source of his reflections.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE | SF GATEDmitri Matheny has matured into one of jazz's most talented horn players.
Critics Pick: Dmitri Matheny Home Season
Flugelhorn virtuoso Dmitri Matheny returns to the Bay Area this week for a series of home season dates after a composition retreat in Barbados. A prolific composer who graduated with honors from Boston's Berklee College of Music, Matheny recently made his Carnegie Hall debut and is about to embark on a four-month U.S. tour.
Grant & Matheny at North Beach Jazz Festival
At the shrine of St. Francis of Assisi on Vallejo Street, Grant & Matheny (flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny and pianist Darrell Grant) were playing beautiful duets in the hushed sanctuary. Standing near the relics of St. Francis and beneath Luigi Brusatori's murals depicting the saint's life, Matheny played an exquisite "Stardust" that sailed through the Gothic vaults. Standing in back was Franciscan friar Robert Ouellette, swaying to the music in his hassock and sandals. "Hearing "Stardust" in a church—for me it became a prayer" said brother Robert.
Critics Pick: Dmitri Matheny Home Season
Jazz, new music and chamber music come together as two of the hottest talents on the Bay Area music scene offer new works...this brass comes pre-polished.
Critics Pick: Dmitri Matheny's Red Reflections CD Release Celebration
Swing low, sweet horn: lyrical Bay Area flugelhornist and composer Dmitri Matheny celebrates the release of his new CD, Red Reflections at the Plush Room. Matheny’s playing evokes the great jazz flugelhorn sounds of Art Farmer and Clark Terry, and the show is a benefit for the San Francisco Symphony’s public schools music education programs.
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINERA true jazz visionary. Dmitri Matheny's flugelhorn is both hot and cool, wide of range, always sure of tone and brilliantly imaginative. He is a fine instrumentalist and composer with a mature understanding of jazz roots and—happily—an optimistic view of his own, and the music's future.
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER MAGAZINEBay Area Best: Dmitri Matheny Home Season
March usually means spring, but it also means the Dmitri Matheny Home Season, a wonderful series of jazz concerts and events throughout the Bay Area.
Bay Area Best: Dmitri Matheny's Red Reflections
Red Reflections, jazz flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny's maiden offering as a leader, is a lovely collection of tunes in the cool jazz tradition of the late, great Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and of Matheny's mentor, Art Farmer. These moody tunes, mostly composed by Matheny himself (he also covers pieces by Horace Silver and Michael Brecker) are musical tone poems far more affecting than the usual fusion static. Recommended.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWSThe first breakthrough flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione.
SAN MATEO COUNTY TIMESReview: Dmitri Matheny at the Stanford Jazz Festival
On the wonderful Hoagy Carmichael song "Stardust," his flugelhorn playing was warm, lyrical, wistful and perfectly suited to the lovely standard. A stellar evening.
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCERDmitri Matheny is among the vanguard of today's musicians who have helped propel the Bay Area jazz community onto the international scene.
SF JAZZ NEWSListening Pleasures: Redman and Matheny Discuss Hubbard and Shaw
The chance to hear two young jazz masters analyze the music of two of their musical mentors is a rare and gratifying treat.
On the eve of Spring Season 2001, nearly 400 SFJAZZ members got to enjoy just such an occasion, filling the Yerba Buena Center Forum to enjoy one of their unique benefits: a free Members-Only Listening Session.
In this event, Spring Season Artistic Director Joshua Redman and noted Bay Area flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny engaged members in a two-hour discussion of the music of Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw.
The evening featured lots of recorded musical examples and plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask questions or make comments. Matheny and Redman discussed the music and careers of these two trumpet legends with a depth of knowledge and appreciation that provided even the most erudite jazz enthusiast with food for thought and new insights. The pair played cuts by three trumpeters who influenced Hubbard and Shaw — Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Booker Little — and explained how Hubbard and Shaw had a reciprocal influence on each other throughout their careers.
Redman offered several telling "backstage" anecdotes, and at one point indulged in a little good-natured ribbing, as he proclaimed trumpets, and the musicians who play them, to be "cocky and aggressive."
Matheny drew laughs from the audience (and Redman) when he quickly countered that "saxophonists play very long solos."
Whether you were a jazz neophyte or a seasoned aficionado, this Listening Session offered plenty of inspiration. Certainly there could have been no better primer for the concert tribute to Hubbard and Shaw that followed three nights later, when an all-star ensemble led by Terence Blanchard tore the roof off Masonic Auditorium.
STEREOPHILE MAGAZINEDmitri Matheny Starlight Café (December 1998)
Extravagantly, unashamedly, irresistibly pretty. A spirit voice that compels attention even when it whispers. Dmitri Matheny. Now you know.
TAOS NEWSA New Jazz Landscape: Darrell Grant and Dmitri Matheny Bring Neo-Bop to Taos (July 7, 2001)
Dmitri Matheny is on the verge of establishing himself as a major jazz star. The Nashville native is a stalwart of the Bay Area jazz scene...a velvety player who favors the lyrical and poetic side of jazz over the fire and brimstone championed by many of his contemporaries. His tone and approach bear the strong influence of his mentor, the impeccable Art Farmer, and his ballad playing recalls another master of California romanticism, Chet Baker.
TELLURIDE WATCHCritics' Pick: Grant & Matheny, Telluride Jazz Celebration
Like the petroglyph musician Kokopelli centuries before, Dmitri Matheny developed his horn skills in the acoustic canyons of the American Southwest. Now based in San Francisco, Matheny has broadened his career to encompass composing, educating, and bandleading one of the most eclectic and daring groups on the Bay Area jazz scene. Joining Matheny at the Telluride Jazz Celebration is Darrell Grant, who will add his dynamic, transcendent keyboard skills to this exciting date.
TOWN & COUNTRYCritics' Pick: Dmitri Matheny's The SnowCat
In this spellbinding performance, jazz flugelhornist and composer Dmitri Matheny and his band weave a magical, musical tale of a little girl searching for her missing white cat on a snowy afternoon. Based on a medieval Japanese parable, The SnowCat reveals the spirit of sharing and gratitude that makes the holiday season such a wonderful time of year.
THE TRUMPET KINGSThe Players Who Shaped The Sound of Jazz Trumpet
Dmitri Matheny is a mellow-toned flugelhornist who particularly excels on ballads, and is a fine composer.
Review: Jacintha Lush Life
In the abstract world of jazz, where so much is left to the imagination, Jacintha and Dmitri were linked in a mutual search for beauty. The sensual flugelhorn solos of Dmitri Matheny caressed her phrasing with a knowing touch. It was a meeting of talents I will never forget.
TUCSON STAGEReview: Best of Dmitri Matheny
Wet streets glisten in the cold mist of lonely nights on empty avenues, reflecting jagged streaks of neon outside narrow bars full of old wood where a handful of jazz musicians lean against a battered piano to take their chances on tender ballads filled with rue.
Welcome to the burnished world of flugelhorn artist Dmitri Matheny, a native Tucsonan who found relief and a permanent home in San Francisco years ago. Preceding the popularity of Chris Botti’s haunting trumpet solos by at least a decade, Matheny has spent his entire recording career giving the jazz heart of film noir a gilded elegance.
Hear fresh proof in “Star Dust” and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” then enjoy the full spectrum of Matheny’s artistry in his own compositions “Sea of Tranquility,” “Penumbra” and “Red Reflections.”
Not that this lovely collection is full of downers. Beauty will always be its own reward.
But give a strong rap on the knuckles to everyone who automatically thinks slow songs are boring. Working in an ensemble setting, Matheny offers the listener a warm embrace, then a sly wink, by including “White Christmas” and as a bonus track, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Overall, the album’s texture is thoughtful. Best appreciated by those whose lives have not been like freeways covering the most ground in the least time, but more like a favorite stretch of two-lane blacktop with dips and curves adding interest, slowing the pace while enriching the experience.
TUCSON WEEKLYI've finally found it: Dmitri Matheny's Starlight Cafe. This is the album I've spent a lifetime looking for.
VICTORY MUSIC REVIEWHis full, languorous lines roll into the ears like molasses.
VILLAGE VOICEDmitri Matheny's Starlight Cafe
A fine new CD, Starlight Cafe affirms Matheny's atavistic standing as a romantic and as a brass player who can limn slow motion ballads without referencing Miles.
Critics' Pick: Grant & Matheny
Grant & Matheny (pianist Darrell Grant and flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny) are a chamber duo modeled after the old Willie Ruff-Dwike Mitchell team, though I imagine they swing a lot harder. They are gifted technicians with lyrical streaks a mile long, capable of surprising melodic and harmonic twists. Their performance at St. Peter's Church, honoring Martin Luther King's birthday, follows a tour of dozens of concerts in Europe, Japan and around the country.
WILLAMETTE WEEKAn active part of the San Francisco jazz scene, Matheny plays the seldom-seen but versatile flugelhorn with verve and virtuosity. Not smooth, but cool, Matheny is a player in the Art Farmer school of soft-toned melodicism, with kudos coming from near and far for his radio-ready discs.