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Dom Minasi Trio. (Sound Recording Reviews).

Dom Minasi Trio. Takin' the Duke Out. CDM Records CDM 1001, 2001.

Guitarist Dom Minasi has been an occasional presence on the New York jazz scene since the 1950s, working with a multitude of jazz and pop singers, putting together children's workshops and writing music and literacy curricula, composing, arranging, teaching as many as one hundred guitar students at any given time, and leading improvisational ensembles. For almost twenty years he avoided the mainstream jazz scene, but edged back onto the club circuit in 1996. This live album finds him playing a set of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn compositions at the Knitting Factory with a trio that includes bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Jackson Krall. Minasi's approach is controversial, and with good reason: his performances are structured in a relatively conventional way--state the melody, play a bunch of solos, state the melody again and end--but his approach to soloing can be radical to the point of incoherence. Thus, the significance of this album's title: in jazz parlance, to play "out" is to play in a challengin g or unconventional manner, and that is exactly what Minasi does with these beloved jazz standards. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as one is presenting actual musical ideas. But Minasi does not seem to be doing so most of the time; instead, he uses his solos as opportunities to throw out long, senseless strings of melodically and rhythmically chaotic material, often doing little more than moving a single chord shape frenetically up and down the fretboard. This tendency is at its most marked and distressing during his solos on "Satin Doll" and "Don't Get Around Much Any More." When he slows down, as he does on "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" and on a nice unaccompanied rendition of "Solitude," his note choices are more interesting, and Filiano provides a measure of harmonic coherence at other critical points in the program. But the title of this disc's final selection offers the most pithy critique of its content: "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing." It ain't, and it don 't.
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Author:Anderson, Rick
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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