Restlessly innovative, guitarist Dom Minasi is a stalwart of the creative music scene. A brilliant improviser and composer, Minasi deftly utilizes his inventive ideas as launching points for his equally exciting extemporizations. On the unique Eight Hands One Mind, Minasi joins three other intrepid guitarists for a fiery and poignant tribute to another trailblazer, the late guitarist Bern Nix.
The others in the group are the master of prepared guitar Hans Tammen, the virtuoso Harvey Valdes and the versatile Briggan Krauss who is also an accomplished saxophonist. Together, the four musicians overlap stimulating lines that are often simultaneously dissonant and lyrical. The result is an intriguing and intricate sonic tapestry.
"Sucker's Paradise," for instance, opens contemplatively with a melange of sparse notes and silent pauses punctuated by brief rhythmic vamps. These refrains are themselves quite angular and vibrant. As the piece evolves the ensemble's repartee grows more passionate and delightfully riotous before closing with a return to the dynamic head.
Elsewhere, "Misguided Heart" is a cinematic tune with shimmering melodic fragments coalescing into an expansive soundscape. The individual spontaneous expressions grow and expand with measured fury and engaging atonality. A melancholic mood prevails as twangy strums and forlorn pizzicato enhance the theatricality of the exchanges.
Similarly "Dancing Rosetta'' has a dramatic ambiance with abstract dialogues contributing to the tension. The performance is peppered with latin hints sometimes, and blistering rocking chords at others. Nocturnesque and ethereal phrases bisect the track, building a Zen serenity. A provocative and haunting interplay of resonant strings echoing one another concludes the album on a high note.
As the title suggests, Eight Hands One Mind is more about the cohesive ensemble sound than individual solos. Yet the individuality of each artist still comes through loud and clear. The inner synergy of the group is manifested in balancing their distinctive styles with the shared musical vision. This intelligent and moving album is an apt homage to the ground-breaking Nix.
Title One; Sucker's Paradise; Ooh Taste So Good; Misguided Heart; Eight Hands One Mind; Dancing
A young artist exhibits his work for the first time. An art critic is in attendance. The critic says, "would you like my opinion on your work?" "Yes," says the artist. "It's worthless," says the critic. The artist replies "I know, but tell me anyway."