A decade after recording his first record of original compositions, guitarist Michael Musillami's early work finally sees the light of day. The tunes on Archives obey a more rigid and static rhythmic order than the material that followed. The rhythm section, while coloring the foundations with a constant effusion of personality, mostly proceeds in lock-step.
Against this backdrop, the work of primary soloists Musillami and the late Thomas Chapin acquires a contrasting glow. Chapin's unique sense of twist and flow indeed elevates Archives to a higher level. Musillami appears mostly content to interact as an equal in this quintet, though his virtuosity and versatility set him apart from the crop of guitarists working in traditional jazz idioms. In particular, his ironic constant toying with rhythm as a soloist make his playing all that much more interesting.
The overall unrelenting swing of these compositions may offer special appeal for many jazz listeners, but this one prefers a bit more of the unexpected and irreverent. (And I could do without numbers like "I Still Do It for the Music," which employs a few too many cliches.) But these are high standards to apply to a musician's first release as a compositional leaderand they are increasingly met by Musillami's later work.
Track Listing: Archives; Beijing; The Young Child; Emmett Spencer; I Still Do It for the Music; Ry-Bop; Mohawk Mountain.
Personnel: Michael Musillami: guitar; Thomas Chapin: alto saxophone, flute; Kent Hewitt: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Steve Johns: drums.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.