Flugelhorn Phenom

Dmitri Matheny and his jazz super-group will perform in Port Townsend

James Sloan jsloan@ptleader.com
Posted 12/31/69

Mixed between the catchy grooves of Stevie Wonder and the heavy ballads of Soundgarden, topped with a jazzy twist, is Dmitri Matheny.

The exceptional flugelhornist and his super-group of musicians …

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Flugelhorn Phenom

Dmitri Matheny and his jazz super-group will perform in Port Townsend

Posted

Mixed between the catchy grooves of Stevie Wonder and the heavy ballads of Soundgarden, topped with a jazzy twist, is Dmitri Matheny.

The exceptional flugelhornist and his super-group of musicians will bring a jazzy experience to listeners at the Cellar Door this Friday.

Matheny and his talented group will perform some jazz classics along with a few popular hits and contemporary music. Any local Stevie Wonder fans are in luck, as the band plans to perform some of the Motown megastar’s hits like “Isn’t She Lovely” and more.

Matheny loves bringing music from a variety of locations, genres, and time periods into his setlist. In the past, he and his band have performed songs from artists like Willie Nelson, Soundgarden, and more, and the upcoming concert will carry an autumnal theme.

“It’s going to be a great show,” Matheny said. “This year we’re doing a lot of Stevie Wonder material.”

With a deep understanding of sounds new and old, Matheny is a remarkable flugelhornist known for an expressive and fluid jazz style complemented by a smooth, warm tone.

Jazz aficionados have the opportunity to catch the flugelhornist and his band at the Cellar Door from
8 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8.

Matheny’s vast talent, whether improvising on stage or recording in the studio, has earned him high acclaim. He’s been labeled “a true jazz visionary” by the San Francisco Examiner, with his band praised as “one of the most eclectic and daring groups on the jazz scene” by the Oakland Tribune.

Matheny was born in Nashville on Christmas Day in 1965, and was raised in Arizona and Georgia. He developed a love for jazz at an early age from his father’s collection of jazz and classical records, and played the piano and trumpet in his formative years. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music and spending time in New York City, the budding jazz artist became the protégé of the legendary jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist Art Farmer.

Under the guidance of Farmer, Matheny elevated his sound and prospered into one of the best flugelhorn jazz artists of his generation.

Matheny lauded Farmer as an incredible artist to learn under, labeling him as a “legendary and incredible player,” and one of Matheny’s biggest musical influences.

“He taught me as much about life as he did music,” Matheny noted of his mentor.

Emerging as a top tier flugelhornist in the 1990s and onward, Matheny has performed with numerous popular artists and groups including The Temptations, Martha Reeves, and Bobby Rydell.

Matheny rose to prominence in San Francisco and is a local jazz legend in the Bay area, but moved to Washington about a decade ago.

He’s released 11 critically acclaimed studio albums and has appeared on more than 120 albums as a composer, arranger, producer, annotator, and soloist.

Although Matheny is an outstanding musician in his own right, his band is teeming with talented players, as well.

Rather than assembling a band centered on highlighting himself, Matheny prefers to be surrounded by like-minded and talented players to create an environment overflowing with ability.

“I hire the best players and turn them loose,” Matheny said. “Everyone gets their moment in the show.”

With Milo Peterson on guitar, Phil Sparks on bass guitar, and Mark Ivester on the drums, Matheny’s super-group promises to provide an exquisite performance for listeners.

Matheny complemented Peterson for “his sense of time and feel,” Sparks as “the best bass player in the region,” and Ivester for being “so musical” and having impeccable “finesse” on the drums.

Matheny had nothing but praise for his jazz crew, admiring the players’ incredible talent as the group continues touring across the West Coast.

Playing out of synch with each other “never happens with these cats, the sound sounds like a conversation,” he said.

Matheny is excited to return to the Cellar Door with his super-group, saluting the venue as a unique spot and a great locale to perform his jazz tunes.

“I played there a couple years ago, it’s a great room,” he said. “It reminds me of the New York and Paris clubs, all the wood and beautiful scenery.”

Matheny is beyond delighted to be touring again, after being forced off the stage from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re all healthy and vaccinated; this is what we live for,” he said.

During the early stages of the pandemic, Matheny tried Zoom concerts and live-streaming, but nothing beats performing in front of a crowd and feeding on their energy.

“I was sidelined, it was maddening,” he said. “There is nothing like playing in front of a live audience.”

Comments

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JD Brown

Not sure why this is in this weeks paper, concert was last week. A good follow up would have been how the performance went.

Wednesday, October 13