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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

On and Off the Grid

Guitarist Dom Minasi weighs on the topics of today.


December 25, 2013

A Jazz Musicians' Guide to Living In The Universe

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By DOM MINASI

I've been on Facebook for three years and many of my friends and colleagues have posted quotes from musicians and philosophers. I've decided to start writing my own quotes about what I have learned and experienced through the years. Since I've been a professional musician since 1957 and playing the guitar over 63 years, I have learned a few things. Some the hard way and some just through living. The years have given me some insights, which I would like to share with you, my All About Jazz readers. You don't become a great player by practicing scales ...

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September 19, 2013

Johnny Smith: The Man, The Legend

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By DOM MINASI

On June 11, 2013, guitarist Johnny Smith passed away. He was 90 years old. Some may have never heard of him, but in the world of jazz guitar he was legend.There will be many articles written about him. Besides the historical content of his accomplishments, I want to write about what he meant to me on a personal level and the thousands of other guitarists throughout the world.I was 14 years old when I started attending John Adams High School in Ozone Park, New York. Adams was a large school and had over five thousand kids ...

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June 24, 2013

All About Sonny

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By DOM MINASI

I bet you thought I meant Sonny Rollins. When you hear the name Sonny, it's usually synonymous with Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Fortune or even Sonny Sharrock; all of them jazz heroes. But there is a Sonny you probably have never heard of before who is a super hero.Who is he? His name is Sonny LaRosa. He is an 87 year-old retired jazz trumpeter who lives in Florida and has done more for jazz than anyone I know. He goes beyond Miles Davis, Charlie Parker or Sonny Rollins and a whole slew of others--yes, more than all ...

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November 15, 2012

Goodbye Borah

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By DOM MINASI

Up until eleven years ago I had never heard of Borah Bergman. Priding myself on being aware of many of the avant players and being a devout fan of pianist Cecil Taylor, I should have known about Borah, but I didn't.Many of my early public performing years were devoted to playing straight-ahead and then to an inside-out approach, and when I thought it was time, I went headfirst into the avant-garde. Although many of my musical friends knew about my avant-gardisim, I pretty much kept it under wraps for years, fearing it would put me out of work.

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September 10, 2012

What Is Jazz Now?

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By DOM MINASI

Back in February, All About Jazz Managing Editor John Kelman asked me to develop a column based on points I made in the comment section of the article BAM or JAZZ: Why It Matters. I still feel the same way, but trumpeter Nicholas Payton's statement that jazz died in 1959 made me think, and I've been thinking about it for seven months. Why 1959? I was 15 years old and going to Birdland on a regular basis. I saw everyone that was anyone play there and in other clubs, except for Charlie Parker, who had died in 1955.In ...

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July 12, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest (or What It Takes To Be A Good Teacher)

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By DOM MINASI

Question: Why write an article about being good music teacher?Answer: Because there are too many bad teachers out there!For some unknown reason people who have been playing their instruments for a few years think they can teach, especially when they don't know some of the basics themselves.Through the years, I have had to teach the basics to guitar players who were playing sometimes up to six years. I have had students tell me that their former teachers would show them how to play and practice riffs by showing them the fingerings without telling them ...

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June 7, 2012

The Grammy Awards: To Be or Not To Be?

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By DOM MINASI

I very rarely watch award shows. I feel like the entertainment industry is constantly patting one another on the back. I don't understand the need to have so many of the same types of award shows. Artisans seem to have an irresistible need to be consistently told how wonderful they are and so very often. Why do I care so much? I care, because as a professional jazz musician, I feel the Grammys don't present or reflect jazz, as it should. After all jazz is “America's Classical Music."I tuned in a few times over the years to watch ...

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April 26, 2012

Anthony and Me

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By DOM MINASI

When I was asked to write a column for All About Jazz, my question was what should I write about? I was told anything that was music-oriented.I decided that being a professional musician for more than fifty years, I could write about the things I care about, know about, have strong opinions about based on my own experiences that might be worth sharing. In no way do I want the reading public to think this is about self-promotion. For me this is an opportunity to share my life experiences and hopefully they might, in some small way, help ...

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March 22, 2012

Transitions: Musician To Artist, or Finding Your Own Voice

By DOM MINASI

Professional and amateur musicians come in all hats and sizes. There are classical, blues, jazz, country, rock musicians and musicians that specialize in all kinds of music. There are musicians from every corner of the world. If your definition of a musician is someone who: 1. Is a master of his/her instrument;2. Can play in any key;3. Can read music well;4. Can transpose music;5. Has a good understanding of harmony and theory;6. Has an extensive repertoireI would say you are right in a traditional kind of way. ...

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February 21, 2012

What's The Point, Part 2

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By DOM MINASI

This is the second entry for my new column at All About Jazz. I actually published What's The Point? in my own blog in January 2012. All About Jazz asked if I would be interested in writing for them; I was surprised and honored. I decided to update and rewrite the original article; because of the response and all the emails I received, I wanted to expand and make some of my points longer and clearer. I have increased the piece by two thousand words and broken it into two parts. Chapter IndexThe Late Eighties ...

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February 9, 2012

What's The Point, Part 1

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By DOM MINASI

This is the first entry for my new column at All About Jazz. I actually published What's The Point? in my own blog in January 2012. All About Jazz asked if I would be interested in writing for them; I was surprised and honored. I decided to update and rewrite the original article; because of the response and all the emails I received, I wanted to expand and make some of my points longer and clearer. I have increased the piece by two thousand words and broken it into two parts. Chapter Index In The Beginning ...

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