Viewing: Dmitri Matheny Memoir - View All Posts

AMERICA'S PARIS ~ DM on San Francisco 



New York is Jazz Mecca. It's the place to go if you want to meet great musicians and gain experience as a sideman.

And L.A. is cool because you can see movie stars on the street.

But San Francisco has always been my favorite American city. As Tony Bennett says, "San Francisco is America's Paris," so culturally rich and so livable, and the second largest jazz market in the country.

I originally came from Boston to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival, but when I took that breathtaking drive down Highway One along the Pacific Coast, I immediately fell in love with the area and decided to stay.

The question for me has always been, when I come home from the road, where do I want to come home to? We musicians travel quite a bit to make our living. Each place we visit has its unique charms, but when you spend so much of your life in hotels and airports, living out of a suitcase, your home really needs to be a  sanctuary; a place that feeds your soul.

MY MAN ~ DM on Miles Davis 



I credit my father [a naturalist and school teacher] and his hip record collection for kindling my childhood interest in music. There was great music on our turntable all the time, from Rachmaninoff to Ray Charles.

According to Dad, one time when I was about five, he was spinning
Kind of Blue. I asked, "Daddy what's that sound?" When he answered, "That's Miles Davis, a jazz musician." I responded, "Well, that's what I want to be when I grow up!"

The story may be apocryphal, but Miles is still my man.

COMING HOME ~ DM on Interlochen 



Toward the end of high school, I left home to attend a private boarding school in Michigan called Interlochen Arts Academy.

Interlochen was for me a magical place, populated by individualists, social misfits, and eccentrics — kids who, like me, were passionate about art.

I loved Interlochen. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by creative people my own age: musicians, painters, actors, dancers...it was like coming home. Interlochen was where I learned the discipline required to build a life in the arts, and where I learned how rewarding an artist's life can be.

ARIZONA ~ DM on the Desert 



When I was twelve, my Dad and I moved west from Georgia to Arizona. I spent my formative years there, and I still feel a strong connection to the landscape.

The desert gives you a perspective. It calms your spirit and invites contemplation, in much the same way that the ocean does in California. Play your horn into those canyons and foothills, and you'll experience for yourself the Japanese concept of ma, the sacred silence between sounds.

THE SOUTHERN STROLL ~ DM on the South 



Despite deeply entrenched racial and class tensions, the south is a beautiful, soulful place. People smile at you and look you in the eye. Neighbors know one another.

Growing up in the south has given me a deep appreciation of human warmth and kindness; of southern hospitality. If you come to my show, I'm the host and you're my guest. It's my job to make you feel welcome and comfortable so we can enjoy each other's company.

The south also gave me a love of the blues and spirituals, and ingrained in me a relaxed pace -- the southern stroll. I imagine you can hear these influences in my music.

~Dmitri Matheny

EXCELLENCE SHINES ~ DM on the Grammy Awards 

The other day Christopher Orr [dreading this year's Oscars] wrote, "Even amid cosmic injustice we must be afforded glimmers of hope."

So true!

Here's a glimmer from 1998 which still gleams:

12 years ago today our Recording Academy awarded the Grammy for best jazz instrumental solo to trumpeters Nick Payton & Doc Cheatham, two of my favorite artists, for their tasty rendering of Hoagy Carmichael's masterpiece "Stardust."

It was one of those rare moments that occurs all too seldom in life, when excellence shines through and the universe nods in accord. Amazingly, the mind-numbing pop culture-drunk music industry briefly woke up, remembered its calling, and cast a collective vote for quality.

For a short while that year, music behaved like the meritocracy we all wish it could be.


We all voted for this record, but whenever I listen to it, I secretly believe it was created just for me.

Mine
, like my big wheel or my slice of Key Lime Pie!


Photo by Hal Leonard

This entire album is a keeper, but I especially dig their treatments of "Stardust," "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" and "Jeepers Creepers."

Hear it and get yours on
iTunes or Amazon.
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