May 29, 1999
By Dick Elmwood
The Julia Morgan Center For The Arts’ American Broadway Music Festival will be alive with the classic sound of Big Band jazz on Saturday, June 5 at 8 p.m., when young master flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny leads a 17-piece big band and vocalists, presenting a program highlighting the work of George Gershwin, as well as other classic Big Band tunes from the likes of Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
Strains of “Summertime,” “Oh, Lady Be Good,” “Fascinating Rhythm,” and “‘S Wonderful” are certain to resonate in the hearts and minds of concert attendees long after this very special evening.
Berkeley homeowner Matheny, one of the cream-of-the-crop among the more youthful jazz musicians, has risen to the top of polls in both JazzTimes and Downbeat magazines. Celebrated for his “warm romantic tone,” “soaring lyricism,” and “masterful technique,” Matheny’s sound has been described as “so cool it’ll run a shiver through your martini.”
Legendary pianist Marian McPartland, host of National Public Radio’s award-winning Piano Jazz radio program, remarked that “Dmitri encapsulates the very essence of jazz.” With a welcome break in his extensive national and international touring schedule, and an eagerness to perform for a “hometown” audience, Matheny’s performance promises to captivate.
A committed music educator, Matheny is on the faculties of the Jazzschool in Berkeley and the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Palo Alto. As an ensemble-in-residence of the San Francisco Symphony Education department, Matheny and his band have performed over 400 concerts for young people in the San Francisco Unified School District.
Dmitri Matheny began playing trumpet at age 9. He is an honors graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where he won the first Interlochen Jazz Studies Award. Offered scholarships to many of the finest music schools in the country, Matheny selected the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he performed in ensemble along classmates Antonio Hart, Donny McCaslin, Seamus Blake, Geoff Keezer, Warren Hill, Danilo Perez, Wolfgang Muthspeil and Roy Hargrove.
While in college, he worked professionally with the Temptations, Martha Reeves, and Sam Rivers. In 1989 he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Inspired by his teacher and mentor, the legendary Art Farmer, Matheny set aside the trumpet and has become associated with the warmer, more melancholy sound of the flugelhorn. Today, Matheny spends most of the year on tour, performing over 100 concerts annually.
He has appeared at the Monterey, Telluride and San Francisco jazz festivals, in nightclubs from Portland to Poland, and in prestigious concert halls, including New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Matheny’s most recent recording Starlight Cafe topped the national jazz radio charts for twelve weeks.
Tickets for Dmitri Matheny’s Big Band performance are $25, $20, and $15. A tasty pre-show buffet, with complimentary wine, is available for an additional $7 to the first 100 ticket purchasers. The Julia Morgan Center For The Arts is located at 2640 College Avenue in Berkeley. For tickets please call 510/883-7018.