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THAT COLD BLUE LIGHT 

The good news is more young people are coming to our concerts.
The bad news is most of them rarely look up from their phones and hand-held devices.

It saddens me to look out at them from the bandstand, to see them there in the audience, sitting in the darkness,
looking not to the stage but downward, their expressionless faces illuminated by cold blue light.

I want so badly for them to experience—truly and without distraction—the gift of a soulfully crafted melody.

I want to share with them the thing I love most: the pure emotional power of instrumental music,
without the need for lyrics, explication or visual spectacle.

Am I naive? In today's world, is it even possible?

ZERO HOUR 

Boise High School
October 17, 2014

Many high schools throughout the USA now expect students
who want to participate in jazz band to arrive before dawn—'zero hour'—
prior to the beginning of the actual school day. Is this reasonable?

Michigan Tour Diary — Day 8 

Dmitri Matheny Group JAZZ NOIR
Michigan Tour Diary — Day 8
April 18 Interlochen

Today I returned to Interlochen Arts Academy for the first time in 30 years.

When I first came to Interlochen as a high school student in the mid-1980s, I loved it instantly.
It seemed to me a magical place populated by social misfits and eccentrics,
kids who, like me, were passionate about art and music.

Interlochen changed my life.
For the first time I was surrounded by creative people my own age.
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.

Jazz was still something of a novelty at the academy back then.
It's gratifying to see how much the school, and in particular the jazz program,
has grown since those days.

Heartfelt thanks to my friend Bill Sears, director of jazz studies,
for inviting me to come and spend the afternoon with his improv and combo classes.

Bill is a phenomenally gifted musician and educator.
His students are serious and dedicated.
Several of them already play like pros.

It was a giant joy for me to sit-in with them,
present a workshop, and share some of my experiences
as an IAA alumnus and working musician.

On a more personal note, coming back to Interlochen after all these years was soul-stirring.
To spend the night in the campus hotel, dine in the cafeteria with the students,
sit by the lake, stroll the grounds, see my old haunts,
and share it all with Sassy, filled my heart with joy.

Look Again 

I've learned a lot from my years of watching Saturday morning cartoons.

For example, you think you know someone.

You think you know what their strengths and weaknesses are.
You think you know their character.
You think you know what they're capable of.

You get to know someone a little...a first impression.
You form an opinion about them and you carry it around with you for years.

You think you know all about that person—but you're dead wrong.

You don't know them at all.

You only saw what you wanted to see.
You only saw what you were ready to see.
And you only know what they wanted to show you.

First impressions are incomplete and quickly out of date.

To really know someone, you must update your perceptions of them continually.

Because people change. They evolve.
They experience pain and gain and loss and transformation.

As they're tested by the vicissitudes of life, they develop new powers and capabilities.

If you really want to see someone as they ARE, keep an open mind,
and take another look.

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