Exploring the lyricism, the swing, and the soul of songs, Grant & Matheny’s 2010 release blends the intimate elegance of European chamber music with the playful, spontaneous spirit of American jazz. Since their 1998 debut at New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the classically-trained jazz duo of Darrell Grant (piano) and Dmitri Matheny (flugelhorn) has solidified their reputation as “pioneers and champions of the chamber jazz movement” (Public Radio International).
Since their 1998 debut at New York's Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the classically-trained jazz duo of Darrell Grant [piano] and Dmitri Matheny [flugelhorn] has solidified their reputation as "pioneers and champions of the chamber jazz movement" [Public Radio International].
Exploring the lyricism, the swing, and the soul of songs, GRANT & MATHENY blend the intimate elegance of European chamber music with the playful, spontaneous spirit of American jazz.
They perform a large and diverse repertoire with material drawn from many musical genres: classical works of Barber and Bach, jazz standards by Ellington and Monk, contemporary songs of Keith Jarrett and Sting, Negro spirituals, New Orleans second line, American Popular Song, Argentenian tango, ambient film music and more.
Spicing each show with personal stories, impromptu vocal riffs and warm camaraderie, Grant & Matheny are the modern day heirs to a legacy that reaches back to the days of vaudeville and early jazz. The duo appears on major concert stages and festivals around the country, following in the footsteps of legendary teams of touring entertainers who pioneered the art and craft of duo performance: Williams & Walker, Sissle & Blake, Mitchell & Ruff, Armstrong & Hines.
Grant & Matheny continue to refine the singular "chamber jazz" style they first developed over a decade ago. According to Stereophile, "Grant & Matheny are intense listeners, sometimes anticipating and instantly echoing ideas, yet always weaving one fabric."
All About Jazz agrees: "They have played together for years, and it shows: they share the lead; they finish each other's phrases. Both players have refined their instrumental technique to the essentials, giving the music a relaxed, uncomplicated sensibility that makes it fun to listen to. Not surprisingly, the audience loves them."
Grant & Matheny have appeared together on major concert stages from Carnegie Hall to the Monterey, Telluride and San Francisco jazz festivals. The classically trained duo blends the intimacy of chamber music with the spontaneous spirit of American jazz to take listeners on an inspired musical journey.
They are intense listeners, sometimes anticipating and instantly echoing ideas, yet always weaving one fabric.
—Thomas Conrad, Stereophile
Grant & Matheny are a chamber duo modeled after the old Willie Ruff-Dwike Mitchell team, though they swing a lot harder. They are gifted technicians with lyrical streaks a mile long, capable of surprising melodic and harmonic twists. Their performance at St. Peter's Church, honoring Martin Luther King's birthday, follows a tour of dozens of concerts in Europe, Japan and around the country.
—Gary Giddins, Village Voice
Grant & Matheny are equal partners. They accompany one another while improvising energetic solos over jazz standards, chamber music and African-American spirituals. They play spirited, swinging shout choruses just like a Big Band, but they never lose the warm intimacy of a classically trained duo. An exciting and satisfying performance.
Grant & Matheny have played together for years, and it shows. They share the lead and sometimes finish each other's phrases. Both players have refined their instrumental techniques to the essentials, giving their music a relaxed, uncomplicated sensibility that makes it fun to listen to. Not surprisingly, the Monterey Jazz Festival audience loved them.
—Craig Jolley, All About Jazz
Grant & Matheny achieve a level of heartfelt communication rarely experienced in larger ensembles. They take listeners on an inspired musical journey, capturing the playful, spontaneous spirit of American jazz, reinventing European art songs and interpreting sacred and secular works from around the world.
—Carson County Diversions
In their solos Grant & Matheny favor the 'Stan Getz, less-is-more' style, striving to create a mood rather than displaying hot licks. It's hard to imagine any music more perfect for a warm, romantic summer evening.
Over the years, 'pretty' became a dirty word in jazz circles. But players as hip as fabled saxophonist Dexter Gordon have always honed the sweet as well as the tough. When asked his musical goal, Gordon answered simply, 'Why, to play pretty, of course.' Into that tradition comes Dmitri Matheny, a rising young flugelhornist, composer and this year's winner of Down Beat's "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" poll. Inspired by his mentor, the great Art Farmer, Matheny's playing is lyrical, flowing and graceful. He plays pretty. A shared love for melody and a lyrical rather than percussive approach make Grant & Matheny a good match. Their elegant understatement should restore Beauty to its rightful position alongside Truth in the pantheon of jazz values.
—Lynn Daroch, Oregonian