Viewing: Dmitri Matheny Memoir - View All Posts
Next weekend, on Friday, August 16, the celebrated San Francisco vocalist Clairdee will join with the Dmitri Matheny Group in a salute to The Great American Songbook at Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, Arizona.
Presented free-of-charge as part of the arts center's "On The House" summer series, the program will showcase our favorite Broadway and Hollywood hits of the 1920s though the 60s, including works by George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington and more. Sharing the stage with us are saxophonist Andrew Gross, pianist Nick Manson, bassist T-Bone Sistrunk and drummer John Lewis.
If you've never yet experienced Clairdee in concert, you're in for a treat.
Clairdee possesses a beautiful, generous spirit that carries over into her song craft. On stage, she comports herself with effortless grace. She is unpretentious, charming and charismatic, and her performances convey a welcoming air of hospitality. Each member of the audience feels as if we've been invited to a cool, convivial party, and Clairdee is our elegant hostess.
Clairdee's vocal gifts are many. Her soulfully alluring style and rich vocal timbre reveal roots in the gospel church. She has an intimate, vulnerable and gentle way with a ballad, yet can swing or shout at will. Clairdee is that most exciting kind of jazz singer — the kind who always keeps a little rousing R&B in her back pocket.
Finally, as a song stylist and interpreter of lyrics, Clairdee is unmatched. Her diction is incredibly precise (all too rare today). She is aware of the meaning and feeling behind every phrase, all of which she communicates with winning sincerity and warmth.
Performing with Clairdee is, for us, a giant joy.
We hope you can join us for this very special evening.
I know what you're thinking.
You're asking yourself, "Who should I go see on August 16th?
Well friend, it's a no-brainer.
Movie houses are a dime-a-dozen, but Chandler's celebrated multi-use theater is a one-of-a-kind, elegant marvel of acoustical engineering.
Chloë & Aaron will be fake crime-fighting together for weeks. Clairdee & Dmitri are real life artist-warriors, appearing together for one-night-only.
Their show is overpriced. Our show is free, and we do ALL our own stunts!
Most importantly, San Francisco vocal sensation Clairdee is the Original "Hit Girl," singing and swinging Broadway and Hollywood hits like nobody's business.
And is there anything more Kick-Ass than The Great American Songbook?
We don't think so.
My kind of atmosphere. This is the kind of place Clint Eastwood might've
stayed in Pale Rider or High Plains Drifter.
David Carlos Valdez created the signature scent SASSY in July 2013.
As a thank you to our friends and fans, here are a few FREE live tracks from our 7/26/13 appearance at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. These were recorded from the sound board and may be incomplete or require listening at a higher volume. Featuring Dmitri Matheny flugelhorn, Charles McNeal tenor saxophone, Matt Clark piano, Ruth Davies bass and Akira Tana drums. Download
This week, Sassy and I have enjoyed the hospitality of some friends who've generously provided lodging for us in their home while I play a few gigs in the area.
Their son (let's call him Freddie) is a very talented young aspiring jazz trumpeter.
Although I regularly give master classes on the road, and have done my share of classroom teaching, spending time with Freddie and his family over the past week has been a powerful reminder to me of what it means to be a serious musician and what an industry jazz education has become.
At the age of 16, Freddie has already taken advantage of more specialized training and travel opportunities than I had in my college years, and he's already twice the player I was in high school.
Freddie's days are so full that I'm actually hesitant to call him an "aspiring" musician. Not yet a high school senior, he's already playing professional gigs, studying advanced concepts and techniques, taking and teaching private lessons, listening broadly and living a decidedly music-centered life.
Freddie studies privately with two teachers: one for trumpet, another for jazz.
He's a veteran of jazz camp, Jazzschool, the Grammy band, SFJAZZ All-Stars, J@LC Essentially Ellington and Monterey NextGen.
He participates in a summer music mentoring program and leads sectional brass rehearsals for his school jazz ensemble. He's won awards in all the regional and national honors programs you've heard of and several that you haven't. And he's already performed on the most prestigious jazz stages worldwide: New York, Monterey, Montreux, North Sea, Umbria.
I never practiced like this kid, not even at Interlochen. He hits it hard for hours every day. Each morning I awaken to the sound of Freddie's horn, methodically working its way through James Stamp warm-ups, Clarke etudes, Clifford Brown turnarounds, articulation and lip flexibility exercises and chord scale after chord scale. Every afternoon he has a rehearsal or two with this or that band. Every evening he practices again.
When I was Freddie's age, my bedroom was a shrine to Lindsay Wagner and Spencer's Gifts. I had only just begun to take private lessons and didn't take them very seriously. I loved to play but hated to practice.
Freddie's room is a hardcore crucible of brass: his chair, music stand and horn are at the center, surrounded by stacks of lead sheets and method books. His walls are festooned with festival posters and images of great jazzmen. On his desk a laptop computer is open to an overstuffed iTunes library. Two speakers face the practice chair.
I spent a couple of hours trading riffs with Freddie, and am astonished by his proficiency on the horn and his familiarity with the nuances of the jazz language. He's already familiar with every classic recording I mention, and he seems to own nearly all the available Aebersold and music-minus-one collections of standards. He has a remarkably sophisticated ear for modern harmony and can toss off bebop clichés over complex changes at bright tempos. He listens to all the same jazz heroes I do, plus the latest recordings by Alex Sipiagin, Ambrose Akinmusire and Billy Buss. He already knows the tunes, licks and lore that I learned in my five years at Berklee.
The other night I invited Freddie to sit-in with me and the band on "Invitation." The audience was knocked out. He played a mature solo, including some very creative motivic development. After the set, Freddie was appropriately gracious and grateful, pausing to individually thank each member of the rhythm section. He even possesses enough charm to balance all that swagger.
After 30 years in music, I'm now at an age when I think it's important to pay it forward. It's been my belief that I have a responsibility to share what I've learned over the course of my life and career, and to mentor and encourage the next generation of musicians.
But if they're at all like Freddie, I don't have the time.
I need to practice.