May 18, 2024

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Interview with Dom Minasi: The mastering is accomplished and you can play anything you hear, it’s all soul: Videos, Photos

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Dom Minasi. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

Dom Minasi: – Sometimes. I kind of let it flow out of me when playing free. I sort of leave it up to the Universe to guide me.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

DM: – Absolutely. First of all, there are too many students in the schools. All thinking they will make it someday, but the schools don’t prepare them for the outside world. They are all taught the same way and coming out playing the same.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

DM: – It’s understandable. You have to be strong to keep on going and if you have to do something else in the meantime, do it

JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

DM: – That’s a hard one to answer. We are surrounded by all kinds of music and it is difficult not to be influenced by it. I find and I’ve done it, is to stop listening to guitarists and listen to other instruments, classical music, opera etc. And at one point only listen to what’s inside you.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2019: <Remembering Cecil>, how it was formed and what you are working on today?

DM: – When Cecil died it was heartbreaking to me and many of his fans. I decided I wanted to pay tribute to him in my own special way, which meant not copying his style put to bring most of myself into it which meant,  to me, my own history and the free jazz  history. I  listened to a lot of his solo concerts and I would play along, not to copy but to get the essence of the man and his music. I think I got it. I just sat in the studio and played. Every cut was on the first take.

I have a few projects going on right now.

I am getting ready to record a four -guitar group that I put together that I am the sole composer for, Eight Hands One Mind. It is all through composed music with lots of improvisation.

I was asked to play the music to Vampire’s Revenge on Halloween with only a trio without drums so I rewrote all the music for guitar, cello and bass and because of this I have revitalized DDT which stood for Dom Minasi, Dominic Duval and Tomas Ulrich.

Dominic Duval died a few years ago and his son Dominic Jr. turned  out to be one hell of a bassist, so the name is the same DDT.

Another project that I was supposed record this month but  the bassist got sick WIG ( the Westside Improv Group), with Jay Rosen on drums, Lewis Porter on piano,  Ratzo Harris on bass and myself on guitar. Also by the end of September I will be recording another CD with Guitarist Jack Desalvo. I also have a future project of recording a remake of Eric Dolphy’s with Ron Carter’s Out There. And Hopefully  I’ll get to finally record with Susan Alcorn.

JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

DM: – I think once the mastering is accomplished and you can play anything you hear, it’s all soul.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

DM: – If they come to see me, what the want is free form music. If I am working in a jazz club, chances are I would have to play more inside, but jazz clubs won’t hire me because I am too far out.

JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

DM: – My fondness  memories are of two recordings.

Takin’n The Duke Out. It was recorded ‘live’ at the Knitting Factory in NYC to a packed house. Every tune had to be correct because there were no do-overs. It worked out great and I was totally surprised when the reviews came in. I was with Blue Note Records in the seventies, but only New Yorkers knew me. When this record came out,  the world knew who I was, and at our firs gig  and after that and we played to full houses.

The Vampires Revenge was a massive undertaking. I had up to 15 musicians and a conductor. It was a scheduling nightmare for rehearsals. I had the best Avant players in New York on it. I had a small studio for the quartets and a large studio for the big groups. I can’t tell  you how happy I was recording this music and playing with these people. What was amazing was that we got everything on first takes. The hardest part of the record was the mixing. It took close to 40 hours to mix but Jon Rosenberg was amazing.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

DM: – First of all, we have to bring it into the public schools, starting with the second or third grade. Kids are always opened-eyed when they see musicians playing instruments. So, it doesn’t matter if the tunes are old. If we are playing for college level you can play original music, but you have to include standards or something they know, but approach it from a different angle.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

DM: – No. I love writing and arranging so it’s not difficult at all.

JBN: – How important is it to you to have an original approach? Can you comment on the bridge between being a musician and being a composer?

DM: – Actually, the bridge is from musician to artist. There were many jazz masters that didn’t compose. It’s the artistry that made them stand out. How to get there? You have to find it in yourself. Everyone is different. None of us have the same fingerprints. It makes sense that we can be different, but we have to find it.

JBN: – Do you have an idea of what it is you’re trying to say or get across? Is it an idea or is it just something that we feel?

DM: – It’s an idea of who I am. I am bearing my soul out to the public and it could be very scary at times. To be a great artist you have to conquer your fear and just do it.

JBN: – What do you see for your extended future? You know what you have going on? You have life? If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

DM: – That’s a lot of questions.

I will keep doing what I am doing, till I can’t.

If I could change one thing in the the musical world , it would be that radio stations and TV would use more jazz in their programing.

For me, it would be going to Harlem when I was 19 and hang out with the greats and hopefully get hired.

JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

DM: – I don’t have much time to listen, but when someone posts a new recording on Facebook or You-tube, I take the time to listen.

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

DM: – Hopefully  audiences could be openminded which  includes musicians. Too.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

DM: – That’s Easy. 52nd St, NYC during its heyday. 1944- to 1954 approximately That’s where it was happening for jazz.

JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

DM: – Ok. What got you interested in music and interviewing musicians?

JBN: – Thank you for answers. Jazz is my life and interviewing helps me and every day more 63 000 our readers determines the mind and intellect of modern jazz and blues musicians.

JBN: – So, putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

DM: – Just close my eyes and dream!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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