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Dom Minasi: The Vampire's Revenge (2006)

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Dom Minasi: The Vampire's Revenge How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Dom Minasi's magnum opus, The Vampire's Revenge, is a rich feast of music featuring no less than 22 of contemporary jazz's strongest players. Inspired by Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, songs like "Who's Your Dentist? and "Just One More Bite show Minasi clearly enjoying the vampire myth—but make no mistake, this two-CD set is a serious project, and the music satisfies on multiple levels.

The ten songs are all Minasi originals, and each cut is anchored by the stalwart trio of Minasi (guitar), Ken Filiano (bass) and Jackson Krall (drums). The guest artists show up for anywhere from one to six songs apiece, and what an illustrious group it is, including Perry Robinson, Borah Bergman, Sabir Mateen, Steve Swell, Mark Whitecage, Ras Moshe, Tomas Ulrich, and Joe McPhee. The list literally goes on and on.

The beauty of this project is that all the musicians are able to negotiate the fascinating point where written composition turns into improvisation and vice versa. This is a collection of master improvisers, and Minasi wisely gives each player plenty of room to express themselves. Yet the music never turns chaotic—Minasi's vision is strong enough to add cohesion between the players as well as between the tracks.

It takes courage to bite into (sorry) such a large project. Minasi's ninth release as a leader is a genuine tour de force that sets a new standard for the give and take between the worlds of literature and music.

Track Listing: CD1: The Seduction; Who's Your Dentist; Just One More Bite; The Transformation; The Dark Side; The First Day. CD2: Blood Lust; the Hunt; Where You Gonna Go Where You Gonna Hide?; The Vampire's Revenge.

Personnel: Dom Minasi: guitars; Ken Filiano: bass; Jackson Krall: drums; Perry Robinson: clarinet; Joe Giardullo: soprano sax; Jason Kao Hwang: violin; Tomas Ulrich: cello; Carol Mennie: voice; John Gunther: reeds; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Steve Swell: trombone; Francois Grillot: bass; Ras Moshe: reeds; Matthew Shipp: piano; Mark Whitecage: alto sax; Borah Bergman: piano; Joe McPhee: tenor sax; Paul Smoker: flugelhorn; Sabir Mateen: tenor sax; Blaise Siwula: alto sax; Peter Ratray: recitative; Barry Olson: conductor.

Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


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