Dom Minasi: Quick Response (2005)
Guitar firebrand Dom Minasi, one of jazz's most enduring iconoclasts, has assembled a quartet of kindred spirits to help him realize his latest set of outside-the-box concepts on Quick Response. Since Minasi has released this on his own label, any potential conflicts concerning the quality, direction and style of the music contained therein have been forestalled. And armed with the security of independent production, Minasi takes this unfettered band on a drive comfortably off the main road.
The quartet dives right into an up-tempo version of "What is This Thing Called Love." Minasi sets his trademark breakneck pace, with Mark Whitecage shadowing him on alto saxophone. After organist Kyle Koehler adds a swift solo, Minasi trades heated fours with Whitecage and drummer John Bollinger before the tune stops on a dime. "Feels Like Rain In China" is a slow samba-tinged tune, elemental in construction, with Whitecage building a moody, spiraling alto solo. He's followed by Minasi, whose initially deliberate solo soon bursts with an abundance of ideas. Koehler pumps in the background with empathy and Bollinger's solo, though spare, is thoughtfully nuanced. "For My Father" is a shimmering ballad in the vein of "Old Folks," with Bollinger's brushes and Koehler's organ highlights perfectly accompanying Minasi's meditative playing. Whitecage takes the lead on the cleverly constructed title burner. Minasi follows with his usual dexterity, sprinting high and low while packing in the notes and Koehler and Bollinger add crisp solos.
Minasi expands the playing field a bit on his pleasantly non-dramatic arrangement of "I Who Have Nothing," playing crisp, uncluttered lines straight out of the Wes Montgomery playbook. "Into the Night" is an original with rhythms that shift between Latin jazz and straight-ahead. "Dizzy Lizzie" is Minasi's most smartly structured tune, replete with suggestions of "Take the 'A' Train" and a theme suggesting what it would sound like if Duke Ellington had composed bebop. Minasi recalls the stylings of Herb Ellis on the ballad "When Your Dreams Come True." And the quartet goes out the way it started, completely deconstructing another chestnut, "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise," reducing the theme to a mere speed bump as the quartet sprints to the finish line.
Track Listing: What Is This Thing Called Love; Feels Like Rain In China; For My Father; Quick Response; I Who Have Nothing; Into the Night; Dizzy Lizzie; When Your Dreams Come True; Softly As In A Morning Sunrise.
Personnel: Dom Minasi--Guitar; Mark Whitecage--Alto Sax; Kyle Koehler--Organ; John Bollinger--Drums