The City of Brotherly Love will get heartwarming vibes tonight with melodic hugs from the instrumental band Reed Mathis and Electric Beethoven at the World Cafe Live.

The City of Brotherly Love will get heartwarming vibes tonight with melodic hugs from the instrumental band Reed Mathis and Electric Beethoven at the World Cafe Live.

The group's latest album, “Beathoven,” offers an improvisational take on what legendary German composer Ludwig van Beethoven's third and sixth symphonies would sound like if performed in modern day on drums, guitar, bass and keys.

Electric Beethoven bassist and bandleader Reed Mathis said “Beathoven” is a dance album, the same music the famed composer arranged back in the 1800s.

“People say Beethoven's music is classical. But that wasn't a word 200 years ago,” Mathis said. “That's stuff writers come up with later. His music was for dancing and improvising.”

Mathis said he was inspired by Beethoven because the pianist is pegged as the greatest improviser of his generation.

His theory was if Beethoven was such a great improviser, then the composer's music should be ready-made for anyone to improvise on.

And according to Mathis, improvisation is a powerful tool that can cause nervous systems to heal. The bassist cited Beethoven's tragedy of going deaf as an example.

“The third symphony is the first thing he wrote after his crisis of going deaf, after he wrote a suicide letter to his little brother and basically said, '[Forget it], I don't have a life. If I can't play piano, I don't have a life,'” Mathis said.

“He spent six months wrestling with that and somehow came to the other side victorious and happy. How he did that is encoded in that music,” the bassist said.

Beethoven achieved this through the chords he played. Mathis explained that certain chords sound happy and others sound sad, and depending on which ones you listen to can affect your mood.

Beethoven rooted in 'American music'

Another reason Mathis was drawn to Beethoven is because he was the first white musician to study African and Indian music and be interested in what we now call world music.

At the heart of it, Mathis said the German composer's music has inspired the foundation of American music.

The bassist explained after Beethoven's death in 1827, his music became extremely popular in New Orleans where there were 400 full-time orchestras in the 1850, half of which were all-black orchestras.

Then the Civil War came and emancipation. At that point, Mathis said, Southern governments decided to make it illegal for black musicians to play for white audiences.

“Suddenly there's an entire generation of black musicians in New Orleans that knew Beethoven's music, but couldn't play it in the concert halls anymore,” the bassist said.

So they started playing in whore houses.

“You fast-forward 20 or 30 years and you get Louis Armstrong, you get jazz,” Mathis explained. “Beethoven's music is literally at the root of American music and improvising.”