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.'
Dmitri Matheny Group JAZZ NOIR Michigan Tour Diary — Day 7 April 17 Berkley and Ann Arbor
Returning to Southern Michigan after our adventures in the Great White North, today I led a workshop at Berkley High School and played a concert at Ann Arbor's celebrated Kerrytown Concert House.
Warmest thanks to founder and artistic director Deanna Relyea for creating such a beautiful listening room and including us on the KCH schedule.
What a privilege to collaborate with such talents as these: the brilliant young Detroit saxophonist Marcus Elliot,whose debut album I absolutely love; Quad Cities pianist Corey Kendrick, enthusiastically recommended to me by Reggie Thomas; veteran bassist Tom Knific, a world class musician, mentor and friend since my Interlochen days; and rising star Sean Dobbins, that all-too-rare sort of drummer who simmers with quiet intensity, and then—at just the right moment—turns on the swang!
And what an honor to perform for and meet one of my longtime idols, jazz master Marcus Belgrave!
Mr. Belgrave and his lovely wife Joan (a vocalist I knew years ago in San Francisco) are pillars of the Michigan arts community and two of the warmest, most soulful people on the planet. Sassy and I are looking forward to getting together with them again next week.
If I accomplish nothing else on this tour, I did at least survive the terrifying and humbling (yet thrilling) experience of playing 'Stardust' in front of the great Marcus Belgrave.
Phoenix Friends! Come to The Nash on March 8 for the latest iteration of our popular JAZZ NOIR show, featuring modern masterworks by Quincy Jones, Charlie Haden and Henry Mancini, classic movie music from Touch of Evil, Laura, Chinatown, Vertigo, Taxi Driver, and Blues in the Night, noir themes from favorite spy thrillers, detective shows and cop dramas, hard-boiled Matheny originals Crime Scenes, Femme Fatale and Sagebrush Rebellion, and timeless standards from the Great American Songbook. Join us! ~DM
Today is a joyous day: I received payment for last month's Girl Scouts music workshop! One box goes into the freezer and the other goes directly into my belly (minus 15% for Sassy because she booked the gig). Thanks, Girl Scouts!
Here at the Maricopa Cabana, Hoppin' John is one of the ways we celebrate the beginning of a New Year. Traditionally served with cornbread and greens (collard greens, mustard greens, chard, kale or cabbage), the main ingredients in this delicious winter dish are black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, country bacon (ham hock or fatback), green peppers and spices. Sassy always adds a little Arizona Gunslinger for an extra kick. Enjoy Hoppin' John on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity throughout the year.
Be sure to eat your fill: the peas represent coins, the greens are cash, and the cornbread, gold!