Dom Minasi Organ Trio

It?s not common to hear a jazz guitarist mentioned in the same vein as adventurous players like Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, but Dom Minasi is not your common type of guitarist.
Like many highly creative artists, Dom needs a variety of contexts to express the full range of his musical vision. Already maintaining several separate groups, two duos, with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, saxophonist Blaise Siwula, his new recording trio with Ken Filiano on bass and Jay Rosen on drums, his organ quartet with Mark Whitecage-alto, Kyle Koehler-organ and Jay Rosen-drum sand most recently The Dom Minasi String Quartet with Jason Kao Hwang on violin, Tomas Ulrich-cello and Ken Filiano-contra- bass and The Dom Minasi Quintet with Ras Moshe-tenor, Blaise Siwula-alto, Albey Balgochian and Jay Rosen pn drums.
Deciding to keep total control over his career and what he musically produces, Dom and his wife, vocalist Carol Mennie formed CDM Records and CDM, Inc. (Can Do More, Inc.) a not-for profit organization. Dom is president and Artistic Director and Carol is Vice President and Assistant Artistic Director. CDM, Inc.?s mission statement is to promote music & theatre activities within the educational systems of public schools and colleges throughout the United States.
In 2001 CDM Records released their first CD, Takin’ The Duke Out, recorded Live at the Knitting Factory in New York City, featuring fresh interpretations of classic Ellington compositions. Takin? The Duke Out took the jazz community by storm and caused such a controversy that critics and musicians alike are still talking about it.
Goin’ Out Again followed in 2002 focusing on a combination of originals and jazz classics, also receiving enormous critical acclaim.
Again in 2003, CDM released Time Will Tell, DDT + 2 (with cellist Tomas Ulrich and bassist Ken Filiano, augmented by John Bollinger on drums and vocalist Carol Mennie) which caused huge ripples in the pond of progressive music, showing the gentler, but no less provocative side of this extraordinary guitarist/composer.
Staying on top up the crest, Dom?s 2004 release, Quick Response (CDM1005) was herald as one of the best recordings of that season. Topping it off, on the same day, CDM Records released Carol Mennie?s debut album I?m Not A Sometime Thing, an exciting project very close to Dom & Carol?s heart. This record was produced and arranged by Dom and to show the expansiveness of the Minasi talent, Dom also plays on and wrote the music and lyrics to five of the songs.
Inspired by Anne Rice?s Vampire Chronicles, Dom Minasi?s 2006 release, and considered by many as his most adventurous outing since CDM Records came into existence, The Vampire?s Revenge is a double disc set of original through composed pieces. Using his then trio, with bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Jackson Krall as an anchor, this record has an amazing cast of guest artists throughout the recording. Musicians such as: Joe McPhee, Matthew Shipp, Steve Swell, Borah Bergman and Perry Robinson are among the twenty two musicians on this recording. Some of the tracks have up to thirteen musicians and are conducted by Byron Olson, a long time associate of Dom?s from his Blue Note days.
In September 2007, CDM Records released The Jon Hemmersam/Dom Minasi Quartet featuring Ken Filiano (bass) and Kresten Osgood (drums). It is a collaboration of two guitarists from two different continents. Jon and Kresten live in Denmark. This recording is a fusion of American and European original jazz played from an ?inside?out? approach.
In April 2009 Dom recorded his newest group for the Turkish label, rekonstruKt, Records, The Dom Minasi String Quartet which was later release on Konnex Records featuring Dom on nylon string guitar, Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Tomas Ulrich (cello) and Ken Filiano (contrabass) Dissonance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder is again another musical direction and a totally different sound. This group is a real combination of contemporary 21st century composition coupled with modern improvisation.
In April 2010 rekonstruKt, Records released a new digital download: Blaise Siwula-Dom Minasi ?Live? At the Matt Bevel Institute and again in December 2010 rekonstruKt Records released The Dom Minasi Quintet?s Recording of The Bird, The Girl and The Monkey. a series of five improvisations with very strange tiles.
Born on March 6, 1943 (sharing a birthday with legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery), Dom is a 53-year veteran of the music scene, with a history and scope of activities as varied and jam-packed as his native New York City.
Backing up top singing groups at rock ‘n? roll shows, church dances and the like while still in his early teens, Dom has maintained a jazz trio with bass and drums since he was 15 years old. But education has also played a major role in his overall musical activities.
“By the time I was 20, I had more than 100 students, but I cut it down to 95 so I could play six nights a week.”
A lot of those nights were spent backing up, and providing musical direction for vocalists, something that Dom has continued to do since 1964 and almost exclusively until 1973, when his own trio began to really take shape, coming to the attention of George Butler who had taken the reins at Blue Note from the label’s visionary founder and producer, Alfred Lion.
Unfortunately, a lack of direction at the immortal label caught Dom between the proverbial rock and hard place and after two records in much less than ideal circumstances, Dom forced his way out.”I walked away. I didn?t want to be bothered.”
So from 1976-1993, Dom involved himself in a variety of pursuits, freelancing and occasionally performing with the late, great pianist Dennis Moorman and his organ quartet featuring Dr. Lonnie Smith. Providing the music for a variety of off-Broadway shows, authoring three books for Sunrise Artistries, two books on jazz theory and chord substitution and one on improvising. Returning to school where he studied with Academy Award-winning (The Red Violin) composer John Corigliano at Lehman College, receiving his degree in composition in 1990.
He also composed over 300 vocal and instrumental compositions during those years, as well as creating Literacy Through Songwriting Workshops for grades one through six for the New York City Board of Ed.
Fellow musicians kept trying to get Dom more involved with the regular scene but he continued to resist. “I?m happy doing my workshops with the kids. I?m doing great. Why do I need the aggravation?” was his general response.
Finally in 1993 he began to take an interest again, becoming principal composer for the Manhattan Improvisational Chamber Ensemble (MICE) and began to work on various projects of his own. By1996, he was in the thick of it, but entirely on his own terms.
“For the past 14 years, I’ve only done what I want to do,” he says contentedly.
That includes recording for other labels as a leader or sideman. Continually composing for off- Broadway. Authoring two new books: The Singer?s Guide to Reading Rhythms, A Guitarist Ultimate Guide to Chord Construction and Substitution. Developing more clinics and workshops such as The Art of Takin? It Out.
Over his long career, Dom has worked with countless heavyweights, crossing all styles of Jazz. He?s performed in venues ranging from top jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and The Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Vision Festival to the White House for President Bill Clinton, His musical expansion and personal growth are his principal motivations.
? It?s all about expression, learning and growth, whether it?s music or in life, and to share and give back without expectations.?
And in true keeping with the most fundamental aspect of the great jazz tradition, Dom Minasi continues to explore and discover new ideas in pursuit of his personal musical vision.