Dmitri Matheny, “Best of Dmitri Matheny”
Papillon Recordings/Matheny Music (PRCD-005)
Wet streets glisten in the cold mist of lonely nights on empty avenues, reflecting jagged streaks of neon outside narrow bars full of old wood where a handful of jazz musicians lean against a battered piano to take their chances on tender ballads filled with rue.
Welcome to the burnished world of flugelhorn artist Dmitri Matheny, a native Tucsonan who found relief and a permanent home in San Francisco years ago. Preceding the popularity of Chris Botti’s haunting trumpet solos by at least a decade, Matheny has spent his entire recording career giving the jazz heart of film noir a gilded elegance.
Hear fresh proof in “Star Dust” and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” then enjoy the full spectrum of Matheny’s artistry in his own compositions “Sea of Tranquility,” “Penumbra” and “Red Reflections.”
Not that this lovely collection is full of downers. Beauty will always be its own reward.
But give a strong rap on the knuckles to everyone who automatically thinks slow songs are boring. Working in an ensemble setting, Matheny offers the listener a warm embrace, then a sly wink, by including “White Christmas” and as a bonus track, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Overall, the album’s texture is thoughtful. Best appreciated by those whose lives have not been like freeways covering the most ground in the least time, but more like a favorite stretch of two-lane blacktop with dips and curves adding interest, slowing the pace while enriching the experience.
Find a copy, hear a sample, at www.dmitrimatheny.com