By Mike Ervin
The debut CD of flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny is an intricate, colorful, slowly whirling vortex that draws you in deeper with each listen. Matheny quite accurately describes the atmosphere of the opening title cut as “film noir.” The entire CD is steeped in the same shadowy mood of a rain-slicked city street at night.
Matheny was turned on to jazz when he first heard Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, and the influence is obvious without being at all derivative. He plays here with two different pianoless quintets featuring exemplary work by John Heller on guitar. All the supporting cast is superior. Most notable is the supercharged tenor of Rob Scheps and the drum work of Alan Jones on Matheny’s original “Kuumbwa Blues.”
Matheny’s playing style is smooth yet always intense, no mattter what the mood or tempo. The five original songs on Red Reflections show him also to be a major talent as a composer.