Sagebrush Rebellion, Dmitri Matheny's tenth album as a leader, showcases new originals, jazz classics by Johnny Burke and Duke Ellington, and favorite compositions by Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow and Nat Adderley. Celebrated for his warm tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, Matheny was first introduced to jazz audiences in the 1990s as the protégé of legendary flugelhornist Art Farmer. Matheny has since matured into "one of the jazz world's most talented horn players" (San Francisco Chronicle).


1. It Could Happen To You
2. Petite Belle
3. Hit The Brakes
4. Here's Looking At You
5. Little Jimmy Fiddler
6. Warm Valley
7. One For Daddy-O
8. Red Reflections
9. Sagebrush Rebellion

Dmitri Matheny flugelhorn
Nick Manson piano
Justin Grinnell bass
Duncan Moore drums

Produced by Dmitri Matheny
Recording engineer: Jim Merod
Mastering engineer: Steve McCormick
Recorded November 29, 2013 at Dizzy's in San Diego, California
Art Direction by Ballyard Design
Dedicated to Art Farmer
© 2014 Papillon Recordings/Matheny Music. 
Distributed by Blueport Jazz. 
All rights reserved. 


Jazz romantics, this is your night. There is no greater lover of enchanting melodies than flugelhorn artist Dmitri Matheny, who has developed an international reputation for a warm, dark tone and soaring lyricism shaped by his masterful technique.
—Chuck Graham, Arizona Daily Star

Accessible, subtle and always swinging, with Matheny, Manson and Grinnell taking many colorful solos while Moore is excellent in support of the lead voices. Art Farmer would have been proud.
—Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene

Matheny is an accomplished flugelhorn player who learned at the feet of the undisputed flugelhorn champ, the late Art Farmer. As a bandleader, this San Francisco cat has released 10 albums, his latest being Sagebrush Rebellion, a nine-song platter on which Matheny celebrates his horn's warm, creamy sound amidst the keen shuffle and shag of his capable band.
—Frank DeBlase, Rochester City News

Intriguing compositions and an engaging melodic style.
—Cat Johnson, Good Times Santa Cruz

Sagebrush Rebellion
, recorded live at Dizzy’s, takes in a wonderful mix of classic material from the likes of Duke Ellington and Charlie Haden and originals from Matheny and Grinell. The flugelhorn is rarely seen as a lead instrument, but in Matheny’s capable hands, that perception is definitely changing.
—Bart Mendoza, San Diego News

Two Really Strong Reference Quality CDs for Audiophiles
By Robert H. Levi, Postive Feedback
July 1, 2015

Dedicated to the artistry of Art Farmer, four stellar jazz musicians (Dmitri Matheny on flugelhorn, Nick Manson playing piano, Justin Grinnell, bass, and Duncan Moore on drums) combined in front of a live audience to play in the "grand jazz tradition." Jim Merod, recording engineer extraordinaire, using state-of-the-art gear and cables, laid down the live sound that puts Jazz at the Pawnshop to shame. Focusing on the flugelhorn artistry of Matheny, Merod injected pure musical protoplasm into the digits and created a bona fide reference quality recording for compact disc.

Audiophiles should rush to get this mellifluous disk, because if your system is dialed in, it sounds alive—right as rain. No digititus here. The recording is very analog-like and smooth as silk. Excellent tunes too! Featuring nine strong selections with composers like Charlie Haden, Duke Ellington, Nat Adderley, and two by Dmitri as well, it is a fun and sexy set of straight ahead jazz performances one can really enjoy. Plus, the recording quality throughout is simply outstanding.

This may be the best effort of veteran BluePort recording topper Jim Merod to date! My highest recommendation.

Performance A
Sound A+

Dmitri Matheny Stages A Relaxed, Swinging Rebellion
by Brian McCoy,
August 11, 2014

There is a marked disconnect between the title and cover art of Dmitri Matheny’s new album and the music within.The disc, the flugelhornist’s 10th as a leader, is titled “Sagebrush Rebellion” and sports a suitably Southwestern image on the cover, an evocative shot of desert terrain reflecting the reds of sunset beneath a cloud-streaked sky. If you didn’t know Matheny’s work, you likely might suspect him of being an Americana artist and guess “Sagebrush Rebellion” is a collection of neo-cowboy tunes.

The album itself, however, is straight-ahead jazz, a tasteful, loose-limbed but invigorating session recorded live at a San Diego nightclub. The material is good and varied, featuring both original tunes and compositions from the likes of Duke Ellington, Johnny Burke and Charlie Haden. Matheny’s band includes Nick Mason (piano), Justin Grinnell (bass) and Duncan Moore (drums).

Matheny is on the road this month performing CD release concerts across the state. The schedule includes dates August 21 at Kummbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz, August 23 at the Hedley Club in San Jose and August 24 at J.B.’s Lounge in Sacramento. Here’s what Matheny had to tell me regarding “Sagebrush Rebellion” and his composing process.

Question: Let's start by talking about the material, which includes one of my favorite compositions, Nat Adderley’s "One for Daddy-O." What sort of balance or theme were you looking for in performing these pieces?
Matheny: This album is a live recording from a performance at Dizzy's San Diego last fall. You're hearing the tunes we chose to play that night, pretty much in the same order we played them. We tried to put together a balanced set with a variety of moods and grooves. The only unifying theme is that these are all tunes we love to play and improvise over: some originals, a couple of favorite standards and a few jazz classics – including "One For Daddy-O."

Question: The album closes with a pair of originals, “Red Reflections” and the title tune. What is your composing process like?
Matheny: For me, it always begins with a melody. Now, some composers write religiously at the same time every day. Not me. I can’t compose unless I’m inspired. Occasionally I’ll feel an overwhelming desire to write late at night or at other inconvenient times. I’ve learned to pay attention to that feeling, to drop whatever I’m doing and “strike while the iron is hot.”
I write most prolifically when traveling, so you might say that many of my compositions are inspired by my travels. A melody will come to me and I’ll sing it to myself, allowing it to evolve and develop organically in my mind. Eventually harmony, counterpoint and other formal elements will begin to suggest themselves. That’s when I sit down and take out my score paper.

Question: "Sagebrush Rebellion" benefits greatly from the live setting – the audience to my ears give the recording an additional warmth and intimacy. Why did you choose to record live and why at Dizzy's?
Matheny: Jim Merod from BluePort Jazz was good friends with my mentor, Art Farmer, and recorded him many times. When Jim asked if he could record our show at Dizzy's, I immediately said yes. The result is pure serendipity.
This is my kind of album: a relaxed, swinging session with a few good friends who also happen to be great musicians. It's thrilling to make music with such tastefully inventive improvisers as Nick, Justin and Duncan. Like Art Farmer used to say, if you're the smartest cat in the room, you're in the wrong room.


Across more than thirty years of tracking live jazz in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Sarasota, San Diego and Europe, I’ve recorded a who’s who of trumpet and flugelhorn players: Clark Terry, Art Farmer, Sweets Edison, Freddy Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Red Rodney, Woody Shaw, Wynton Marsalis, Gilbert Castellanos, Brian Lynch, Claudio Roditi, Conte Candoli, Snooky Young, Joe Wilder, Doc Cheatham, Bill Berry, Roy Hargrove, Bobby Shew, Jerry Gonzalez, Allen Smith, Shorty Rogers, Kornel Fekete-Kovacs, Ron Stout, Carl Saunders, Johnny Coles, Eddie Henderson and Stacy Rowles. 

Veteran of every jazz mode and mood and moment throughout the majority of the grand jazz tradition, pianist Hank Jones noted to me one afternoon in La Jolla that trumpet players are the “backstops” of jazz. Even though I was alert to his baseball reference, since I was a shortstop and a catcher in my youth, I was startled by his comparison. “Well, you know,” he added, “catchers control their pitchers, are on-field managers, and think one pitch ahead of everyone.” 

I did not get his full meaning. Always mischievous, the great man looked at me in mock surprise. “Like catchers, trumpet players are emboldened by their roles. They oversee it all and hold it over everyone’s head.” 

Twenty-five years later, Hank’s comment makes complete sense. Of the many trumpet and flugelhorn players I’ve spent significant time with, a majority carried the swagger and authority he named. Of those who (like Joe Wilder) augment an ensemble rather than dominate it, Dmitri Matheny occupies a position of benevolent spiritual beauty. 

This is one of my favorite recordings. 

I hope listeners enjoy the depth and delicacy of these songs crafted with Dmitri’s flugelhorn mastery. 

—Jim Merod / BluePort Jazz / La Costa, California