May 27, 2024

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Interview with Dom Minasi: In order to be a great jazz artist you have to live the jazz life: Video, New CD cover

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Dom Minasi. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Dom Minasi: – I grew up in South Ozone Park, Queens, NY.

What got me into music was listening to the radio and seeing cowboy movies.

JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

DM: – At first I sounded like all the guitarists I listened to, but when I was eighteen I started listening to Charlie Parker, Miles, Monk then Trane, Eric Dolphy and Cecille Taylor and later on to the 20th century composers like, Schoenberg, A Berg, Stravinsky, Cage etc.

JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

DM: – When I was younger I would practice 6 to 12 hours a day, but now at 78, maybe an hour.

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

DM: – I don’t listen to pop, rock or just plain bad music..

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

DM: – I do some warmups and meditate.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2021: Eight Hands One Mind, how it was formed and what you are working on today?

DM: – I think this is a new direction and each composition leads into the next and I have great players interpreting my music. I have three projects in the works . Two of them are on hold till I can get into the studios again .  I am also putting together the recorded concerts I’ve done with Susan Alcorn and making a CD.

JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

DM: – I selected musicians I felt could do the job. Musicians who could read and interpret and improvise at a high level and I think that Hans Tammen, Harvey Valdes and Briggan Krauss did a great job.

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

DM: – I personally think soul or feeling is 65 percent and intellect or knowledge is 35 percent.

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

DM: – Actually, I give the people what I want because that’s why they come to hear me.

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

DM: – The best piece of advice I got from a fellow musician;  Harry Sheppard ( vibes) was when I asked him “how is it you take such great solos every time you play?” And he answered: “ every night is Carnegie Hall”

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

DM: – It has to be introduced to  them at home and in the schools. Every school should have a General Music Class and the history and the sound of Jazz should be taught

JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

DM: – He was right. In order to be a great jazz artist you have to live the jazz life which includes developing your spirit and connecting  to your higher self.

JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

DM: – That every city in the US and Europe would have at least four jazz radio stations.

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

DM: – I don’t have much time to listen, but when I do, it’s usually someone new on the horizon or I go back in time and listen to Monk, Miles, Trane etc.

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

DM: – Please be open minded.

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

DM: – To  52nd Street in New York City around 1948. On that street there were jazz clubs galore.

Every other store front was a jazz club. Can you imagine walking down that street and in one club there was Dizzy playing and a few feet away Bud Powell. They were all there.

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

DM: – Why have you taken up the cause for jazz?…

JBN: – Because Jazz is my life!!!

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

DM: – I keep going and composing. At my age what else am I going to do. Besides I love the challenge of coming up with new directions. It’s a never-ending road of discovery and delight.

Thank you Simon; Dom Minasi

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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