Dmitri Matheny: Flugelhorn Evangelist

David Becker By

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AAJ:So what's next?

DM: The thing I'm working on now is a Chet Baker songbook. A while ago, somebody asked me to do a Chet Baker concert. I love Chet, I have these favorites I've been playing forever. But just on a lark I decided to ask a bunch of other people what their favorite Chet Baker tune was, and I got back all of these suggestions for music I'd never heard. I had this idea of Chet Baker based on the stuff he did with Gerry Mulligan and a few of his popular recordings in the late 1950s, early '60s, but there's all this stuff from the '70s and '80s I didn't know about. So know I've got this set of 80 songs that really cover his whole life and career.

The other thing about Chet is that if you read his autobiographical writing and biographies of him, its 95 percent about his (drug) habit... And that gets really, really boring after a while. Chet did some amazing things, he made some great music, and that's what I'm focusing on. I don't know if it's going to be a recording or what, but that's what really has my attention now.

AAJ: You're not thinking one-man show, are you?

DM: (Laughs) No, that ship has sailed. I'd need to lose weight, get a wig and some Bryclreem... I'm kind of at this tender age—too young to be cowboy Chet, too old to be young and beautiful Chet.
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