Posted October 12, 2016 by Felix Chrome in Arts & Culture
 
 

Flugelhorn Porn

Matheny the Music Machine

flugelhornweb
flugelhornweb

By Sedona Wall

Flu Floopers, Tar Tinkers, Who Hoovers, Gar Ginkers, flugelhorn, Trum Tupers, Slu Slumkers, Blum Bloopers, Who Wompers, Zu Zitter Carzay, Who Carnio Flunx. One of these things is not like the other, the difference being the reality of it beyond it’s goofy name, and that’s a flugelhorn.  Similar to a trumpet, it is described to have more of a “dark” and “mellow” tone. The instrument has been played by musicians  ranging from  Chet Baker and Miles Davis to Scott Spillane (of Neutral Milk Hotel). But there is one flugelhorn player that has graced places ranging from Olympia’s own Rhythm & Rye to Azerbaijan, by the Caspian sea, with his unmatched experience and style, Dmitri Matheny. I spoke with him about his experience as a musician, his work, and the best stuff in between.

Dmitri took up the flugelhorn at age 18, and later became the protege of Art Farmer, one of the most iconic flugelhorn players of the 20th century. They didn’t meet it the most simple of ways, but instead it one of the most relatable and inspirational ways. Dmitri described himself as a “long -time fan” of Art, buying all of his recordings, playing along with them, upon finding Art’s address on the back of a tape, began writing to him. “I would have knocked on his door had he lived it the same state as me.” In his letters he would write to Art for advice, sending recordings of himself playing along with Art’s music, describing his admiration for his work, “he never wrote back”. Then came along Dmitri’s golden ticket, after playing a gig one night,  Dmitri was invited by a fellow musician to travel to New York to see Art play, and meet him after the show. Dmitri jumped at the opportunity, and after listening to Art’s set intently, note to note, he was introduced to the man that influenced him for years before. When he shook Art’s hand, Art stated “not THAT Dmitri”, referring back to the many letter he received before, yet of course, it was him. Dmitri solicited him for chance to receive one lesson with the promise that he would “never bother him again.” Art agreed, and what started as a one time flugelhorn lesson turned into  a ten year relationship that reached far beyond just the music itself.

Dmitri looked to Art for advice on everything from “who will take care of my cat on tour” to “ how do I tour,” and lucky for us Dmitri shared some gems of wisdom that he’s picked up over the years. One of the best pieces of advice he received from Art was “ to keep the people who believed in you around,” everyone from you lawyer, to your publicist,to your friends; those people who were supporting your career from the beginning are the ones who will continue to understand you as an artist and be your strongest support system. I asked him what advice he would give aspiring musicians, those who want to make a career out of music, and he said “everything you need to know can be found in your pocket”, that as artists there is an endless supply of information at our disposal, but nothing can replace the experience one can get from talking to their elders about the craft and getting one on one advice.

In February, Dmitri released his album titled, Jazz Noir, which is exactly what you would hope it would be, a mix of melancholy tones, smokey vibes, and tunes that make you want to cuddle up with a trench coat and sip your whiskey on the rocks. His inspiration for the album originally stemmed from his love of old crime shows such as Columbo as opposed to film noir itself.  When sitting it Obsidian, he pointed to the drink Audrey Horne on the cocktail menu, stating that his song titled “Audrey’s Dance” was inspired by the iconic Twin Peaks character, a show he has been a long time fan of.

On Monday. October 3rd, The Dmitri Matheny group played at the music venue and bar, Rhythm & Rye, giving an unforgettable performance. The selection ranged from songs off of Jazz Noir, to “Caravan” popularized by the likes of Duke ellington. During the song “Film Noir”, Dmitri walked up to the mic, the room went silent, and he began reciting the poetry of Dana Gioia, “It’s a farm town in the August heat

With a couple of bars along Main Street……She’s a cold beauty with a knowing wink. If she shot you dead, she’d finish your drink”, entranced is the only word that can be used to describe the listeners. Most of which being seasoned and long time listeners of jazz, making them the best audience to for the occasion.

Beyond being a talented musician, composer, and recording artist, Dmitri also is a seasoned educator, teaching at universities such Loyola to Chinook Middle School in Bellevue, WA. “Making a living as a musician is challenging,” Dmitri says, “but I’m proof it can be done.” Dmitri was also the creator of Discover Jazz, a music history and appreciation course for adults.This is just some of the many educational opportunities Dmitri offers.

“By the end of this, you’ll remember what a flugelhorn is.”