A certified hit at jazz radio, produced by the legendary record executive Orrin Keepnews, and featuring tenor titan Dave Ellis, Dmitri Matheny's sophomore CD, Penumbra, is a collection of romantic music inspired by the Moon.
Immediately upon the CD's release, Penumbra was embraced by the media, receiving 3-1/2 stars (out of 4) in Down Beat, selection as a "Bay City Best" in the San Francisco Examiner Magazine, and ranking in the top 25 on the national Gavin jazz radio chart.
"Penumbra is one of the most gorgeous straight-ahead mainstream jazz recordings of the year." ~ Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Surrounding himself with players comfortable with the cool jazz idiom, flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny is as unhurried as a full moon rising.
On his new album, in addition to his own songs, Matheny assays tunes composed by hot bopper Lee Morgan and rocker Neil Young. Penumbra is a thematic set obsessed with moon-age daydreams. Tom Harrell's "Moon Alley," the traditional Chinese composition "Autumn Moon" and Young's "Harvest Moon" all glow with Matheny's imaginative arrangements. On "Desert Moonlight," the saxophone is employed to fine effect as a foil for Matheny's own taciturn flugelhorn. "Moonlight in Vermont" boasts some slippery bass, Jim Hall like guitar and more saxophone warbling.
With veteran jazz producer Orrin Keepnews at the boards, it is no surprise that the production values are crystalline; even on tape you can discern every sweep of the drummer's brush, every "step" the bass takes on its myriad "walks" as it escorts a tune to its conclusion.
"Dmitri Matheny is an excellent flugelhornist. His style and sound are mellow, and his bop-based improvising is melodic...this sleeper is well worth investigating, both for the fine solos and the fresh material." ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Dmitri Matheny, flugelhorn
Dave Ellis, tenor saxophone
John Heller, guitar
Rob Burger, accordion
Bill Douglass, bass and hsiao (Chinese flute)
Kenny Wollesen, drums
ABOUT DMITRI MATHENY
Few horn men in America enjoy such universal acclaim as Dmitri Matheny, whose unforgettable sound has been described as "so cool it'll run a shiver through your martini" (Los Angeles Times).
Celebrated for his warm romantic tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, Matheny was first introduced to jazz audiences in the 1980s as the protege of flugelhorn legend Art Farmer (with whom he studied privately for ten years). Now hailed as "the first breakthrough flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione" (San Jose Mercury News), Dmitri Matheny has been named "Best New Artist" in the JazzIz Readers Poll and "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition" in the Down Beat International Critics Poll.
Dmitri Matheny has appeared on dozens of recordings as a composer, arranger, producer and featured soloist. Matheny has released seven critically-acclaimed recordings as a leader: Red Reflections (1995), Penumbra: The Moon Sessions (1996), Starlight Cafe (1998), Santa's Got a Brand New Bag (2000), Nocturne (2005), The SnowCat (2006) and Best of Dmitri Matheny (2008).
Born on Christmas Day, 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Georgia and Arizona, Dmitri began playing the trumpet at age 9. He is an honors graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
While still in college, the young trumpeter led his own bands while working professionally as a sideman with the Temptations, Martha Reeves, and the True Colors Big Band. In 1989 he graduated magna cum laude from Berklee and relocated to San Francisco, California, where he makes his home today.
Although best known as a flugelhorn player, Dmitri Matheny is also a prolific composer and lyricist whose published compostions span the jazz, popular, symphonic, choral, chamber and world music genres.
Matheny has received premieres and commissions from Meet the Composer, the Manhattan New Music Project, the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, the Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra and 20th Century Forum. His film scoring and soundtrack credits include the PBS documentary Mary, Paradox & Grace (1996), the industrial short film Greenhorn Creek (1997), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art production Voices & Images of California Art (1997), and the RKO Pictures feature film Shade (2003). Most recently, Matheny contributed music for the Cannes Film Festival premiere of "Stanley's Girlfriend," a short film from the horror anthology, Trapped Ashes (2006).
Matheny's most ambitious creation to date is Spiritu Sancto, a monumental sacred work scored for chorus, organ, percussion, brass quintet, jazz ensemble and gospel soloist. Commissioned by Ted W. Hall for St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco, the composition received its world premiere at midnight on the dawn of the new millennium. The long-awaited recording from the historic "New Millennium Mass" concert is scheduled for release this year.
A strong arts advocate, published writer, and gifted public speaker, Dmitri Matheny is passionate about music education. He has held teaching faculty and arts management positions with the Jazzschool (Berkeley, CA), Boston Center for the Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Monarch Records. He has served as Director of Education for SFJAZZ, the San Francisco Jazz Organization, as Assistant Education Director for the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and as Artist-In-Residence for the Young Musicians Program of the University of California, Berkeley.
Dmitri presents clinics, lectures and workshops at leading universities and conservatories worldwide, and offers private lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year, in association with the San Francisco Symphony's innovative Adventures in Music program, the Dmitri Matheny Group will perform for more than 15,000 children in over 100 public schools.
Dmitri Matheny has performed with a number of jazz luminaries, including Nathan Davis, Red Holloway, Denise Jannah, James Moody, Max Roach, Sam Rivers, Bud Shank, Billy Taylor and Bobby Watson. He began touring with the Dmitri Matheny Group in 1996, with the Amina Figarova International Band in 1997, and with the chamber jazz duo Grant & Matheny (with pianist Darrell Grant) in 1998.
Today, Dmitri performs extensively year-round as a soloist and bandleader throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. At home in San Francisco, he stages two major, annual series of concerts. Each spring, Matheny collaborates with visiting artists to present the Dmitri Matheny Home Season. During the winter holidays, Dmitri produces The SnowCat, an original theatrical production for children and families.