Intimate venue adds to Brewery experience
A musical duo used to performing before an audience of 2,500 might be a little let down when faced with a Carson City audience of about 75. But they liked the experience.
“We play a lot of festivals and jazz outings,” said pianist Darrell Grant, professor of jazz studies at Portland State University. “So it’s nice to come to a place like the Brewery Arts Center where we can get intimate with the audience.”
The other member of the duo, Dmitri Matheny, who studied the flugelhorn under jazz star Art Farmer, echoed the sentiment. “This is my second time in Carson City, and I really enjoy the close atmosphere you have at the Brewery Performance Hall.”
The two performed recently at the Brewery, weaving together selections from J.S. Bach’s “French Suite No. 1” to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “A Que de Beber.” They appeared in Carson City after a show July 10 at the University of California, Redlands, where the audience topped 2,500.
“You can’t get close to an audience that size,” said Grant.
Grant and Matheny are classically trained musicians who slipped into jazz. Included in their July 11 show were spirituals, such as “Deep River,” “Wading in the Water,” the theme from the “Black Orpheus” film and finally a dazzling rendition of Hoagy Carmichel’s standard “Stardust,” with Grant filling in rich block chords while Matheny soared with an inspired solo.
It’s improbable that the Brewery Arts Center could afford to bring such as Grant and Matheny to town for such a small audience. But those listeners are augmented by FM broadcast of their music by KUNR on site. And the Brewery jazz series is supported by the the National Endowment for the Arts, among other major contributors.
Matheny appeared here a few weeks ago with the Amina Figurova Quintet, with which he plays regularly. He also appears at Yoshi’s jazz theater in Oakland. And he enjoys the smaller venues such as the Brewery.
“It’s the closeup aspect of the audience, the reactions, that makes this place such a pleasure to play,” says Matheny.
How can the Brewery afford such nationally recognized artists as Lew Tabacken and Charlie Apelwein on such a low budget?
“We don’t make any money in our musical programming,” said Brewery Executive Director Joe McCarthy. “We get sponsorship from a variety of sources to help foot the bill. But we do it to encourage people to become members of the arts center.
“That helps create public and private sponsorship of the Brewery,” he said. “Audiences help business decide to become sponsors of the arts center, and quality performers help bring out the public.
“An example of that is the way that Artown has caught on in Reno. That has attracted major corporate sponsorship, which has allowed the organizers to program more and more fine performers and exhibits,” he added.
Painist Darrell Grand and flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny join up for a little pre-program warmup before their concert at the Brewery Arts Center Thursday night.