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Dominick Farinacci: Sharing Stories

R.J. DeLuke By

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I love bringing music and real stories together to help make a difference. Not only through the music, but bring people of different cultures and walks of life together. —Dominick Farinacci
Dominick Farinacci, a trumpeter from Cleveland, is a strong improviser with a wide, round tone. It's suited for his predilection for the melodic side of the music. But his vision of music extends beyond the act of playing and the art of performing—something he has done around the globe for years, carving out a successful career after being mentored by Wynton Marsalis.

Farinacci truly envisions music as something that can bring people in a community, from diverse backgrounds and different musical interests, together. He isn't just paying it lip service. Community programs he is involved in have educated people about music and also aim to improve the human condition. Even the recording of his latest album, Short Stories (Mack Avenue, 2016), recorded in his home town was enveloped with an educational component for kids in Cleveland.

At the same time, the trumpeter is interested in music that tells stories, an offshoot. He is very much putting his money where his mouth is along those lines as well, providing music that accompanies videos that tell stories he feels are important.

"It's a musical reflection of my journeys over the past few years," says Farinacci of Short Stories. "I get to travel all around the world and experience different cultures. I look for special things from each culture and each genre of music and bring it into my own thing and export it through the lens of jazz. I have had a lot of different musical interests over the years, but it's all rooted in jazz. But I wanted to find some of my favorite songs that I've come across over the years. Different genres and generations. Different cultures. And bring them into this project, as well as write a few songs that reflect the time that I spent in a couple different places in the world."

Short Stories has originals, and songs done by Dianne Reeves, the rock band Cream, Horace Silver and Tom Waits.

"The unifying thread is what we decided to do with the songs. A great melody is a great melody. We like to bring in all different kinds of cultural influences and genre influences into the music... it's the biggest project of my life. I'm happy with every note of it and every hour that went into planning, executing, pre-production, the session itself, and post-production. I stand by every single note and every single section of it."

It was produced by Tommy LiPuma, another mentor of Farinacci. The union with the renowned producer—also from Cleveland—was something the trumpeter had wanted for years. The timing was right. "He's been a mentor of mine since my college days. I used to go up to his place, bring him my albums and see what he had to say. He's always been very helpful and gracious to me," says Farinacci.

LiPuma has 29 gold and platinum records to his credit, three Grammy awards and has produced people including Miles Davis, Diana Krall and Barbra Streisand. The pair selected the players, including bassist Christian McBride, drummer Steve Gadd, and keyboard Larry Goldings. But when they gathered in Cleveland, is wasn't just to produce a CD.

"We thought to surround it with an educational component and get the students from the community college and high schools and grade schools involved. Get them helping out. Let them check out the session. Get master classes and workshops with the artists," he says. "So we built an entire educational curriculum around the making of the album. We have every minute of it documented. We had the journalism students take part. We had the recording arts students shadow Al Schmitt, the engineer. We had the jazz students from the area involved. That was substantial and we're continuing to do things based around that production."

Throughout the recording, naturally, is the distinctive, lush sound of Farinacci's horn, thick, strong and emotive.

"I had a great teacher when I was growing up who stressed the importance of having a great sound," he says. "Listening to all my influences from Louis Armstrong to Clifford Brown, Blue Mitchell, Miles Davis. A lot of vocalists I love. Dinah Washington. Dianne Reeves. Carmen McRae. Their sound and their delivery of the melody is something that resonated with me. I love beautiful, lyrical players that tell melodic stories through their music."

Telling stories is a paramount concept in the trumpeter's music.

"Some of the stories on my album reflect true stories. I love bringing music and real stories together to help make a difference. Not only through the music, but bring people of different cultures and walks of life together, all through the music."

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