Dmitri Matheny''s unforgettable sound has been called "so cool it''ll run a shiver through your martini." Dmitri has been named "Best New Artist" in the JazzIz Readers Poll and "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition" in the Down Beat International Critics Poll.
Celebrated for his warm romantic tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, Matheny was first introduced to jazz audiences in the 1980s as the protege of flugelhorn legend Art Farmer. Now hailed as "the first breakthrough flugelhornist since Chuck Mangione" (San Jose Mercury News), Matheny has appeared on dozens of compact discs as a composer, arranger, producer and featured soloist. His latest recording, "The SnowCat," will be released this month.
Born on Christmas Day, 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Georgia and Arizona, Dmitri began playing the trumpet at age 9. He is an honors graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While still in college, the young trumpeter led his own bands while working professionally as a sideman with the Temptations, Martha Reeves, and the True Colors Big Band. In 1989 he graduated magna cum laude from Berklee and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.
He has performed with a number of jazz luminaries, including Nathan Davis, Red Holloway, Denise Jannah, James Moody, Max Roach, Sam Rivers, Bud Shank, Billy Taylor and Bobby Watson. He began touring with his own bands in 1996, with Amina Figarova in 1997, and with Darrell Grant in 1998. Since then he has become a star in his own right, playing nightclubs, concert halls and music festivals worldwide.
Today, Matheny tours extensively as a soloist and bandleader throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, performing over 100 concerts internationally on tour each year. When at home in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dmitri dedicates himself to a wide variety of not-for-profit music and education organizations.
ABOUT THE SNOWCAT
An original musical production by flugelhornist and composer Dmitri Matheny, The SnowCat is the heartwarming tale of a little girl''s search for her wandering white cat on a chilly afternoon.
Each year, Dmitri and friends bring The SnowCat to life in a popular series of performances for families, combining singing, storytelling, live music, and visual art.
"I was born on Christmas Day, and I love the traditional songs and stories of the holiday season," Matheny said. "The SnowCat, however, is our own creation."
The SnowCat is based on the ancient Asian parable of the oxherder, in which a herdboy''s quest to find his missing ox is likened to an individual''s journey through life. With origins in India, the parable became popular in medieval Japan and was depicted on 13th century handscrolls as the "Ten Oxherding Songs" or "Ten Oxherding Pictures." The scrolls traditionally divide the hero''s journey into ten stages each illustrated by a circularly framed image and a simple verse. Rendered in the graphic style of Japanese narrative illustration, the story is as simple as a modern day comic or coloring book, yet offers profound lessons of spiritual beauty which still resonate today.
As in the ancient parable, the hero of Dmitri Matheny''s The SnowCat finds her companion and returns home to appreciate the beauty of nature, play music, and have fun with friends. She maintains hope, optimism and determination in the face of adversity; discovers the gentle power of sitting quietly; and embodies the spirit of sharing and gratitude that makes the holidays such a magical time.
"I was inspired by the profound message of ''The Oxherder,'' and the simple shape of its narrative," Matheny remarked. "In The SnowCat, however, our hero is not a boy, but a girl named ''Sam.'' Instead of an ox, her companion is a luminous white cat. Our setting isn''t 13th century Japan, but 21st century San Francisco. And instead of a flute, Sam plays a flugelhorn!"
"The SnowCat story is certainly spiritual, but it is secular, not religious, and thus it is universal. It contains great messages for both kids and adults," Matheny said. "Children will appreciate the spirit of fun and friendship between Sam and the SnowCat. Adults may also view the story as an allegory or parable." Our narrative poses questions worthy of adult contemplation:
Who am I? What am I seeking? What does it mean to go home, or to cross to the other shore? What is serenity? And why are dancing, music, and play so important?
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