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?
Dmitri Matheny Group JAZZ NOIR Michigan Tour Diary — Day 15 April 25 Detroit
On the final night of our Michigan Tour we performed at one of the oldest jazz clubs in the heart of Detroit's historic entertainment district: the legendary Cliff Bell's.
What a night!
Cliff Bell's fulfilled my fantasy of what a music venue should be.
The lavish 1930s Art Deco decor and swanky supper club atmosphere set exactly the right tone for an evening of live jazz.
From the moment we arrived, each member of the professional staff (door man, hostess, manager, bartender, waiters, everyone) greeted us warmly and put us at ease. They treated us with courtesy and respect throughout the evening, thanked us for the music, and paid us in cash.
The menu was spectacular and the band dined gratis. I had the shrimp and grits with roasted chilies. Spicy, creamy, delicious.
After dinner, we played to a full house of enthusiastic patrons, mostly couples dressed to the nines. Our sound man Alex really took care of business. The band did not disappoint.
According to drummer Sean Dobbins, I'm now an honorary Detroiter. I feel honored, indeed. As my friend Joan Belgrave so eloquently stated, 'Ain't no swang like Dee-troit swang.'