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UP IN THE AIR | PART 3 — CITIZEN OF THE WORLD 

“Remember, you’re not alone. 
You’re part of an international 
brotherhood of artists and musicians. 
We’re all in this together.” 

—Art Farmer 


I aspire to be a Citizen of the World. 

A world citizen is a xenophile whose identity transcends geography. Rather than swearing allegiance to a particular nation, ethnicity, or religion, the world citizen treats everyone with equal respect, and derives his rights and responsibilities from membership in the human race at large. He endeavors to be a man for all people. 
 

I aspire to be a Citizen of the World.

Art Farmer was such a man. At the height of his success, as his Jazztet was winning American popularity polls, Art relocated to Vienna, Austria, then commenced to tour internationally for decades. His extensive discography includes dozens of collaborations with musicians all over the world. Near the end of his storied life and career, he was awarded both the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, the highest honor our nation bestows upon a jazz musician, and the prestigious Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class

World Citizen Art Farmer received the highest honors in both America and Austria 

Art had been an adventurer ever since he was a teen, when he and twin brother Addison set out for Los Angeles in search of their destinies. But even after many productive decades in the music business, Art never lost his humility or curiosity. He knew that his chosen career of traveling musician granted admission to the global creative class, an identity he cherished as the foundation of his enlightened worldview. 

“Remember, you’re not alone,” Farmer told a room full of aspiring jazz students at Stanford University. “You’re part of an international brotherhood of artists and musicians. We’re all in this together.” 

Art Farmer’s philosophy resonated deeply with me, perhaps even more than his brilliant, lyrical music. He was “beyond category,” a true Citizen of the World, and I was inspired to live by his example. 

In the years since my mentor’s passing, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy many opportunities for international travel with family, friends and fellow musicians. Occasionally I experienced little more than a hotel and concert hall, but whenever time would allow, I made sure to get out, see the sights, and break bread with the locals. I’ve watched the sunrise in Tuscany, climbed the cliffs of Santorini, serenaded penguins in Patagonia, viewed fireworks over Bangkok, and listened to evening prayers echo through the streets of Jakarta. I’ve visited an artist in Kyoto, a tea master in Uji, a winemaker in Alsace and a chocolatier in Brussels. I’ve met so many fascinating people in my travels, several of whom have become lifelong friends. 

I’m grateful to the bandleaders who invited me to be part of their international adventures, notably Suzan Lesna, Keiko Osamu, and especially Amina Figarova, with whom I recorded two albums and performed in a dozen different countries on tour. For several years in the late nineties and early aughts, Amina and her husband Bart generously hosted me at their home in the Netherlands each fall, an annual residency that enriched my life beyond measure. I love and admire them both as artists, friends, and world citizens. 

It was my privilege to record two albums with Amina for Munich Records 


Although I never became a pilot (holding out for a jetpack, I suppose), I never missed an opportunity to fly, and the long international flights were often most luxurious. Singapore Airlines provided big leather chairs, soft lighting, and an array of Asian delicacies. British Airways offered formal tea and cakes; Japan Airlines served sake and sushi. Virgin Airlines had spa treatments and sleeping pods. And KLM, my favorite, boasted a gorgeous cohort of leggy blonde stewardesses, whose fitted blue uniforms and winning smiles harkened back to the Golden Age of Air Travel. 

The airports, however, were chaotic, unpleasant places. Everyone was on high alert after 9/11. Departure meant grappling with the recently formed TSA, whose agents relished their nascent power like freshly minted mall cops. Arrival meant trying to appear inconspicuous under the gaze of scowling soldiers, in full riot gear, with machine guns. 

We learned to allow an extra hour or two for security screening, during which agents would empty our bags, disassemble our instruments, pat us down and shout commands over the hum of x-ray scanners. “Empty your pockets! Take off your belt and shoes! No liquids!” On one occasion I was pulled out of line, strip-searched down to my socks, and interrogated. “What is this?” barked the agent, holding up my tiny bottle of valve oil. “And exactly what sort of name is Dmitri?” he demanded suspiciously, squinting at the random assortment of stamps in my passport. 

But it wasn’t always so bad. One of my favorite airport memories was arriving in Baku, Azerbaijan for the 2002 Caspian Sea Jazz Festival. I’d been working with Amina for several years, and was thrilled to see her ancestral homeland for the first time. I wanted to find out what sort of Silk Road Shangri-La could produce such a regal, charismatic bandleader. I nicknamed Amina “The Diva,” and often teased her about her aristocratic lineage and manner, but I didn’t fully appreciate where she was coming from until that day. 

We arrived in Baku exhausted, to long lines of weary, grey-faced travelers. Prepared for a long wait at customs, we took our place at the back of the crowd. Suddenly a dapper gentleman in a dark suit appeared beside us. He smiled warmly, greeted us by name, placed our passports in his breast pocket, and handed Amina a giant bouquet of flowers, kissing her on both cheeks. The distinguished official then ushered us briskly through the crowd, past customs, down a private corridor and straight outside, where a ceremonial honor guard stood waiting at attention beside a row of shiny black town cars. “Apparently Amina is kind of a big deal around here,” I muttered to no-one in particular. 

I was right. The whole band was wined, dined, and treated like royalty. There were welcome gifts, guided tours, shopping excursions to the Taza Bazaar, and even a special banquet in Amina’s honor. We feasted on grilled lamb, champagne and caviar, serenaded by a traditional darbuka ensemble complete with belly dancer, who danced with all of us after dinner. The evening concluded with an astonishingly long series of celebratory cognac and vodka toasts to Amina, her family, and the band. It was a glorious evening. 

the whole band was wined, dined, and treated like royalty 

The festival itself was a triumph of concerts, workshops, jam sessions and creative collaboration. I’ll never forget the delightfully surreal evening we spent at the Caravan Jazz Club, where we performed the funk classic “Pass the Peas” with an international superband of Sax ’N Hop (Germany), Toots Thielemans (Belgium), our quintet (Azerbaijan, Belgium, Netherlands, USA), and half a dozen hungry young horn players. 

But the great highlight was our concert at the historic Respublika Palace theater. We played our hearts out, and the band never sounded better. Amina’s modern jazz compositions, especially the ones inspired by traditional Azeri folksongs, were a huge hit with the hometown crowd. The audience cheered wildly. 

the highlight was our concert at the historic Respublika Palace theater 

 

20 years later, I still aspire to be a Citizen of the World, but no longer wish to to travel so far, or so often. Touring is a young man’s game, and my jet-setter days best be behind me.

My new dream is a little more down-to-earth. I’m now in the market for a small camper van with a bed in the back, a simple “tour bus” in which my dog Scout and I can ramble around the western states together.

We’ll take our time, travel the back roads, see the sights, and break bread with the locals. 

And who knows? I might even play a gig or two.

NOBODY'S COOLER THAN SNOWCAT 

Arizona friends, join us for the AZ premiere of THE SNOWCAT, a special family show with matinée performances Saturday, December 6 at ASU Kerr Cultural Center Scottsdale and Saturday, December 13 at Chandler Center for the Arts.

“In this spellbinding performance,” raves Town & Country, “Dmitri Matheny and his band weave a magical, musical tale of a little girl searching for her missing white cat on a chilly afternoon. The SnowCat reveals the spirit of sharing and gratitude that makes the holiday season such a wonderful time of year.”

Created especially for children and family audiences, The SnowCat combines storytelling, singing, visual art and live music in a variety of styles, including jazz, blues, jump swing, funk, calypso, samba, tango and R&B. Don't miss it!

DID YOU KNOW? 

Dmitri Matheny's THE SNOWCAT is inspired by the ancient Asian parable of The Oxherder,
in which a herdboy's quest to find his missing ox is likened to an individual's journey through life. 

With origins in India, the parable became popular in medieval Japan and was 
depicted on 13th century handscrolls as the 'Ten Bulls' or 'Ten Oxherding Pictures.'

The scrolls traditionally divide the hero's journey into ten stages,
each accompanied by a circularly framed image and a simple verse.

Rendered in the graphic style of Japanese narrative illustration,
the story is as accessible and visually compelling
as a modern comic book.

As in the ancient parable, the hero of THE SNOWCAT
finds her companion and returns home to appreciate the beauty of nature,
play music and have fun with friends.

She maintains hope, optimism and determination in the face of adversity,
discovers the gentle power of sitting quietly, and embodies the spirit of sharing
and gratitude that makes the holidays such a magical time.

Join us for the Arizona premiere of 
Dmitri Matheny's THE SNOWCAT
A cool cat tale for the whole family

December 6 @ ASU Kerr Cultural Center Scottsdale
December 13 @ Chandler Center for the Arts

Holly Pyle vocals
Dmitri Matheny flugelhorn/storyteller
Andrew Gross saxophones
Nick Manson keyboard
T-Bone Sistrunk bass
Dom Moio drums  

“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 chilly 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.”
—Town & Country

The Frugal Flugel Recommends: 100 Yen Shops! 

When in Japan, the Frugal Flugel recommends 100 YEN SHOPS, where packaged meals and snacks, groceries, water, toiletries, household items and more are available for about a buck. In addition to familiar picnic items like sandwiches, dried fruits and nuts, 100 Yen Shops offer a chance to sample such Japanese treats as sembei (rice crackers), iwashi (sardines) and ika (dried squid).

HEROES 


When I begin to feel frustrated by encroaching banality and mediocrity,
it often helps to contemplate those heroic figures who inspire.
Here are some of them:

William Adama
Douglas Adams
Josef Albers
Muhammad Ali
Louis Armstrong
Paul Atreides
Johann Sebastian Bach
Burt Bacharach
Chet Baker
Maria Bamford
Basho
The Batman
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bill Bell
Irving Berlin
Leonard Bernstein

Wendell Berry
Brian Blade
Eubie Blake
James Bond
Anthony Bourdain
Lester Bowie
Ray Bradbury
Johannes Brahms
Clifford Brown
James Brown
Joseph Campbell
George Carlin
Hoagy Carmichael
Carmine Caruso
Johnny Cash
Tony Cennamo
Marc Chagall
Raymond Chandler
Don Cheadle
Doc Cheatham
Louis CK
Patsy Cline
Jimmy Cobb
Leonard Cohen
Ornette Coleman
John Coltrane
Frank Columbo
Sarah Connor
Paolo Conte
Silvio Dante
Dave the Philosopher
Miles Davis
Philip K. Dick
Emily Dickinson
Eihei Dogen
Nick Drake
Tyler Durden
Lawrence Durrell
Clint Eastwood
Eeyore
Harry "Sweets" Edison
T. S. Eliot
Duke Ellington
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bill Evans
Art Farmer
Felix the Cat
Boba Fett
Atticus Finch
Ella Fitzgerald
Aretha Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Lester Freamon
Morgan Freeman
Robert Frost
Hal Galper
Mohandas Gandhi
Paul Gauguin
Marvin Gaye
Theodor Seuss Geisel
Stan Getz
Kahlil Gibran
Raylan Givens
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Darrell Grant
Green Lantern
Christopher Guest
Charlie Haden
Hafiz
Herbie Hancock
Harold (& The Purple Crayon)
Tom Harrell
Robert A. Heinlein
Ernest Hemingway
Joe Henderson
Jimi Hendrix
Bernard Herrmann
Bill Hicks
Alfred Hitchcock
Hit Girl
Billie Holiday
Lena Horne
Aldous Huxley
Icarus
William James
Keith Jarrett
Quincy Jones
James Joyce
Will Kane
Orrin Keepnews
John F. Kennedy
Jack Kerouac
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Evel Knievel
Ray Kurzweil
Tyrion Lannister
Bruce Lee
Stan Lee
John Lennon
Abbey Lincoln
Booker Little
David Lynch
Joseph Maddy
Gustav Mahler
Louis Malle
Nelson Mandela
Thomas Mann
Frank Marocco
Marc Maron
Abraham Maslow
Bill Matheny
Henri Matisse
Carson McCullers
Mr. McFeely
Marian McPartland
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Arthur Miller
Henry Miller
Bryan Mills
Joni Mitchell
Thelonious Monk
James Moody
Morpheus
Eddie Muller
Gerry Mulligan
Will Munny
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Willie Nelson
Pablo Neruda
Mary Oliver
Charlie Parker
Sam Pate
Nicholas Payton
Astor Piazolla
Pablo Picasso
Herb Pomeroy
Alexander Pushkin
Prometheus
Samuel Ramey
Christopher Reeve
Rainer Maria Rilke
James Rockford
Gene Roddenberry
Will Rogers
Sonny Rollins
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Mark Rothko
Bertrand Russell
Ryōkan
Lisbeth Salander

May Sarton
Lalo Schifrin
Maurice Sendak
Rod Serling
Woody Shaw
Jack Sheldon
Wayne Shorter
Frank Sinatra
Derek Sivers
Allen Smith
Mr. Spock
Mary Stallings
Wallace Stevens
Detective Mike Stone
Igor Stravinsky
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III
Shunryu Suzuki
Andrei Tarkovsky
Donna Tartt
Clark Terry
Henry David Thoreau
J. R. R. Tolkien
Leo Tolstoy
Desmond Tutu
Mark Twain
Lao Tzu
Morihei Ueshiba
Ultraman
John Updike
Vincent Van Gogh
Ack Van Rooyen
Kurt Vonnegut
Tom Waits
Ben Webster
Simone Weil
Orson Welles
Kenny Werner
Kenny Wheeler
Walt Whitman
Oscar Wilde
Nancy Wilson
Stevie Wonder
Lester Young

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS by John Lennon 



Turn off your mind relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining.

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing

And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing

But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving

So play the game "Existence" to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning

DREAM, DREAM, DREAM 


"It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream.
When you have something like a nightmare,
you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream.
It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this."
—Ghost Dog

"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?"
—Edgar Allan Poe

"Throw your dreams into space like a kite,
and you do not know what it will bring back,
a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."
—Anais Nin