Jazz flugelhornist Mike Metheny has never forgotten his classical roots. "I had very good trumpet teachers as a student who introduced me to the classics. So, all these decades later, I wanted to document some of that side." BACK TO BASICS, Mike's eighth recording as a leader, features 2004 renditions of music by Albinoni, Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Satie and Verdi, with Mike on flugelhorn and EVI (electronic valve instrument), Rod Fleeman (acoustic guitar) and Paul Smith (keyboards and synthesizers). There is also a trumpet choir written and performed by Mike that, as he says, "is my way of paying homage to those who were such an inspiration at the beginning." The "bookends" for this collection are a novelty unto themselves. There are two different performances (on cornet) of the Mexican folk song "Chipanecas" (arranged by trumpet virtuoso, Rafael Mendez), one excerpted from Mike's first recorded solo in 1961 (at age 11), the other a 1991 recreation in the same grade school gymnasium in Mike's hometown of Lee's Summit, MO. "A life's road can lead in many directions," Mike says. "But no matter the different twists and turns, it's always good to get back to basics."
MIKE METHENY BIO
Trumpet/flugelhorn soloist Mike Metheny is a native of Lee's Summit, Missouri and has degrees from the University of Missouri/ Columbia (B.S. in Music Education) and Northeast Missouri State University (Masters in Music Education). His teachers included Keith House and John Alexander.
From 1971 to 1974, he was a trumpeter in the U.S. Army Field Band in Washington D.C., and in 1976 became a faculty member at Boston's Berklee College of Music, a position he held for six years. At Berklee, Mike taught private trumpet, music theory and jazz improvisation and, while in Boston from 1976 to 1989, led his own Boston-based jazz quartet, appearing in numerous club, concert and festival settings across New England and the U.S.
Mike is a recipient of the "Outstanding Brass Player" award at the annual Boston Music Awards. And, in addition to appearing on numerous jazz recordings as a sideman, he has recorded eight solo albums: Blue Jay Sessions (1982, Headfirst Records), Day In -- Night Out (1986, MCA/Impulse; and featuring Mike's brother, award-winning jazz guitarist Pat Metheny), Kaleidoscope (1988, MCA/ Impulse), From Then 'Til Now (1992, Altenburgh Records) and Street of Dreams (1996, Altenburgh Records), and Close Enough for Love (2001), KC Potpourri (2003) and Back to Basics (2004) on Mike's 3 Valve Music label.
Since 1983 Mike has been one of the few trumpeters to regularly perform on the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), a trumpet synthesizer with many dimensions and musical possibilities. Originally developed by Nyle Steiner, the EVI has an eight octave range, is MIDI capable, and, as Mike says, "can double as a bug sprayer."
Today, Mike is a freelance performer, educator and music journalist in the Kansas City area. He is also the former editor of Kansas City's Jazz Ambassador Magazine (JAM), a position he held from 1994 to 2003.
Web site: www.mikemetheny.com
Check out the artist's website:
1. Chipanecas (Mendez)
2. Air from Suite in D Major (Bach)
3. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G (Bach)
4. Recordare from Requiem (Verdi)
5. First Gymnopedie (Satie)
6. Sonata in C Minor/Pathetique (Beethoven)
7. Pavane (Ravel)
8. Lament for a Fallen Matador (Albinoni)
9. Homage (M. Metheny)
10. Chipanecas (Mendez)