Matheny makes music

Thomas Pattison, Staff Reporter

Central has long been a place for talented young musicians to show off and develop their skills in the presence of experienced professors, but from time to time the music program brings in a professional to help lead by example.

This year that professional is Dmitri Matheny, a talented flugel horn (similar to the trumpet) player with a gift for improvisational jazz music. Matheny and four of Central’s jazz combos will be playing on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.

Chris Burya, the director of jazz actives, is the man in charge of the four jazz combos that will be performing with Matheny, and he couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming event.

“I just think it’s really important for our small groups to play with the pros “Burya said.

For those that aren’t familiar with jazz, a combo is the name given to a small group of jazz musicians who play together.

Grad student Drew Baddely is convinced that combos are special.

“The beauty of playing in a combo is in the intimacy” Baddely said.

Baddely compared the difference between combo groups and big band groups to meeting someone in a crowded place as opposed to meeting someone in private.

“It’s going to be hard to have a meaningful conversation with someone at a loud party; there’s too much noise in the air. You’d have a much better chance of understanding the person in a one-on-one scenario,” Baddely said.

Ryan McKnight, freshman music performance major, knows exactly what Baddley is talking about when he says “intimacy.”

“No solo is ever the same and everyone is able to tell a story [with their instruments],” McKnight said. “The possibilities for improv jazz are endless.”

But, Matheny isn’t there just to jam. He’s also there to teach music students what it’s like to play a real gig, but Central students will only have one chance to rehearse with Matheny.

Not only that, but the combo groups won’t know exactly what song they are going to play until the day of the performance.

The obstacles that the jazz combos are facing can be challenging, but the students involved in the program ultimately find it enriching.

Brian Lawrence, senior music education major, is a member of one of Central’s four combo groups.

Lawrence said that practicing improv jazz helps prepare musicians.

“Sometimes you don’t ever get a rehearsal before a gig, that’s how the real world works,” Lawrence said.