WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING
Unquestionably a master.
A loving concern for fine detail.
—Los Angeles Times
A horn player of uncommon wit and power.
Understated, masterful technique and evident joy.
A flugelhorn so cool it'll run a shiver through your martini.
The first breakthrough flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione.
—San Jose Mercury News
A brass player who can limn slow-motion ballads without referencing Miles.
—Gary Giddins, Village Voice
Extravagantly, unashamedly, irresistibly pretty. A spirit voice that compels attention even when it whispers.
—Thomas Conrad, Stereophile
A visionary. Matheny's flugelhorn is both hot and cool, wide of range and brilliantly imaginative.
—Phil Elwood, San Francisco Examiner
With his gift for soaring lyricism, Matheny plays jazz that's emotionally open but full of mystery.
—Andy Gilbert, SF Metropolitan
This is music to touch your heart. A warm pellucid sound that truly encapsulates the essence of jazz.
—Marian McPartland, Piano Jazz, National Public Radio
Matheny is among the vanguard of today's musicians who have helped propel the Bay Area jazz community onto the international scene.
Matheny’s warm, engaging flugelhorn playing has thoroughly established him as one of the most emotionally expressive improvisers of his generation.
—Don Heckman, International Review of Music
The 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."
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 JAZZ
One of Art Farmer's last private students and his most prominent protégé.
Dmitri 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 GUIDE
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 COUNTDOWN
—Clifford Brown, Jr.
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Known 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 CENTRAL