"Starlight Cafe is a quiet, hauntingly beautiful album of ballads and standards -- late-night jazz that proves you don't need to make a lot of noise to make a strong impression." ~ Joel Roberts, All About Jazz
"This is dimmer-switch and candlelight music, best savored when the lights are low. Rich with improvisation and played to perfection, Starlight Cafe gleams with rapturous jazz radiance." ~ Dan Ouellette, Down Beat
"A twilight mood for lovers of low key, leisurely paced music." ~ Marian McPartland, Piano Jazz, National Public Radio
"Ideal for quiet nights...a spellbinding tapestry of sounds." ~ Wayne Saroyan, Oakland Tribune
According to fellow flugelhornist and music critic Mike Metheny (52nd Street Jazz):
"On this, his third CD as a leader, Dmitri Matheny displays the kind of flugelhorn sound that has inspired this Metheny to start spending an extra hour each day in the woodshed.
It's as gorgeous and soulful as a sumptuous full moon on a breezy summer night. And that's not to mention a level of technique and fluidity that will probably end up adding another hour to this admirer's new regimen.
It's also fun to try to spot the influences. Because Starlight Cafe is mostly an evocative, late night session with drummerless accompaniment, Dmitri's lyrical side is almost always the center of attention. When it is, Jack Sheldon immediately comes to mind. But there's also a dash of Chet, a little Bobby Shew, and some Tom Harrell. It's an amalgam that makes for a single new and refreshing voice.
The fare on Starlight Cafe is a straight ahead assortment of originals and recognizable standards ("Corcovado," "Stardust," "When Lights Are Low"), all of which are played with great lyricism and group empathy. In pianist Darrell Grant and bassist Bill Douglass, Dmitri Matheny has found the perfect backup for this kind of date; after all, playing a whole gig without a drummer takes a special kind of musicianship. This threesome pulls it off brilliantly.
This is excellent music from three very talented artists. And it offers additional proof that, at 33, Dmitri Matheny is clearly poised to become one of the jazz world's next important trumpet/flugelhorn players.
A big thumbs up from this distant cousin in Kansas City."
~ Mike Metheny, Jazz Ambassadors Magazine / Jazz Beat Forum / 52nd Street Jazz
"When I was a kid and knew absolutely nothing about jazz, I was often struck by the melancholy sound of the flugelhorn, usually as background music in films. I searched and searched for a record to fit those melancholy moods, something with that distinctive, sad sound, but all to no avail. And while I discovered a lot of great jazz in the process, I didn't discover that dark, late-night record that would elevate my mood to something filmic.
I've finally found it: Dmitri Matheny's Starlight Cafe.
This is the album I've spent a lifetime looking for. Playing flugelhorn exclusively -- a first cousin to the trumpet, but with a mellower tone -- Matheny is backed by Darrell Grant on piano and Bill Douglass on bass. Their sound I can only describe, in the best sense of the word, as pretty. Don't get me wrong: nothing offends my musical sensibilities more than light jazz (or smooth jazz, if you prefer). But this is no light jazz; this is real jazz imbued with an increasingly rare beauty.
Matheny has almost unanimously wowed critics, counting amongst his recent accolades being named one of four Best New Artists in the JazzTimes Magazine Readers Poll, and Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in the Down Beat International Critics Poll."
~ Stephen Seigel, Tucson Weekly
"Starlight Cafe is a real winner. Matheny mixes soulful, torchy ballads with inventive uptempo numbers with deft ease."
~ Chris DeBenedetti, North Beach NOW
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.