Dom Minasi: Vampires, Chaos in Time, and Total Control
DM: Well, I just spent so much time mixing it with Jon that I just had to walk away from it for a while.
AAJ: So you're performing this music live, and you obviously can't do it with all the people on the record. So I think you're managing it with Ken, Jackson and a guest or two?
DM: Yeah, that's what I'm doing. I'm rewriting the music for smaller groups. For one show, I rewrote it for guitar, bass, cello and violin. I take four or five pieces and rewrite it for the particular instrumentation. When I did something with Steve Swell, I rewrote it for trombone. I did something with Tomas and rewrote it with cello, and I did something with Blaise Siwula and rewrote it with alto. I'm rewriting everything as we go along. We're hoping to get a grant so at Halloween we can actually put on a performance with as many musicians as possible.
AAJ: The Vampire's Revenge has gotten a lot of attention and it's all been pretty positive. Are you surprised?
DM: Totally [laughing]. At the IAJE Conference, I ran into Dave Stryker and Vic Juris, two friends of mine, and I said to them, "I'm going to get killed on this one. Which I expected on Duke [Takin' the Duke Out, Minasi's 2001 trio set of Ellington compositions]. I really thought that one would be our first and last record. And I am surprised; I'm always surprised when people actually like my music.
AAJ: That's a funny thing to say. I suppose that's better than just expecting them to love it.
DM: When Duke came out and the reviews started to come in, I couldn't believe it. With every record, I'm saying, "oh, they're going to hate this. This is how I feel. You have to understand, I come from a place where for years, I got fired. A lot. I held myself back from really playing because I didn't want to get fired and I had a family to support. So I always held back. But now my kids are all grown up; they're married, I have grandchildren. And I have a wife who's just so supportive: she says, "just do your thing. And I do. That's it. And I don't care anymore.
AAJ: I really cannot imagine what you're going to do next after this one.
DM: It's already happening. I just started to write the opening for an opera I'm working on with [writer/director/composer] Franka Fiala. We're going to start working on an opera. That's going to take a few years. But I just started writing the first few notes just before you called. I just finished two records: one with Blaise Siwula and one with Borah and a guitarist from Denmark. The record I'm doing as a leader I'm going to keep a secret for a while. And I have all of Carol's next record recorded; we just have to go in and do the vocals.
AAJ: It seems like your life and career had a period where you were discouraged by the business of music. But this seems like a great time for you. You're working hard, doing unique work, and you kind of did it all yourself.
DM: I really didn't do it all myself. I had a lot of help. When I say my wife is supportiveyou have no idea what that meant to me. It just gave me the strength to keep doing it. So many times, you just want to walk away and say "the hell with this. Because you have to deal with so much.But she said, "don't stop, don't stop. Keep doing it. So Carol's been my backbone, my soulmate. She's allowed me to be who I am in order to do this.
Dom Minasi, The Vampire's Revenge (CDM Records, 2006)
Dom Minasi, Quick Response (CDM Records, 2004)
Carol Mennie, I'm Not a Sometime Thing (CDM Records, 2004)
Dom Minasi's DDT + 2, Time Will Tell (CDM Records, 2003)
Dom Minasi Trio, Goin' Out Again (CDM Records, 2002)
Dom Minasi Trio, Takin' the Duke Out (CDM Records, 2001)
Ernie Andrews, Girl Talk (HighNote, 2001)
Blaise Siwula/Dom Minasi, Duet (coma, 2000)
Blaise Siwula Trio, Dialing Privileges (CIMP, 1999)
Dom Minasi Trio, Finishing Touches (CIMP, 1999)
Michael Jefry Stevens/Dominic Duval Quintet, Elements (Leo Records, 1996)
Dom Minasi, I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before (Blue Note, 1975)
Dom Minasi, When Joanna Loved Me (Blue Note, 1974)
Top Photo: Courtesy of Luke Ratray
Center Photo: Will Gamble
Bottom Photo: Scott Friedlander