resonates on a number of levels. In the most obvious sense, it's a testament to the skill, imagination, and resourcefulness of bassist Peter Dominguez, an artist who operates with a profound depth of understanding in both formal and creative realms. But it's also a link to the relationship that Dominguez formed with bass icon Milt Hinton
, a showcase for the latter's finely crafted eighteenth-century Italian instrument, and a piece of documentary evidence indicative of the high value that the Oberlin Conservatory places on its Hinton holdings.
Dominguez first spoke with Hinton in 1980, but it was an encounter the following year that cemented their friendship: While competing in the Zimmerman/Mingus Double Bass Competition, Dominguez connected with Hinton, who was on sight as a judge and featured artist, and the pair spent some quality time together. They bonded over the bass and the music, becoming fast friends. Then, in the '90s, Dominguez, who was on the faculty of Michigan State University at the time, brought Hinton out for a residency, and the pair then stayed in touch for the remainder of Hinton's life. That could've been the end of the story, but fate had other plans.
Dominguez eventually left Michigan behind and moved on to Oberlin Conservatory, where one fine day he was contacted by the co-executor of Milt Hinton's estateDavid Berger. A fruitful relationship was formed from that initial connection and, with the blessing and institutional support provided by the school, many of Hinton's personal belongingsincluding the instrument heard on this recordingcame to rest at Oberlin.
In the years since the instrument's arrival at the school, it's been used to good effect in numerous performance situations by a long string of A-list bassistsDominguez, Richard Davis
, Rufus Reid
, Martin Wind
, Ben Street
, Hans Glawischnig
, Robert Hurst
, and many othersbut this bass has never had a showcase like this before. With this solo recital, Dominguez gives Hinton's instrument the attention it so richly deserves. At different times he coaxes tuneful lines, deep grooves, upbeat notions, and plaintive strains from the strings, inviting the bass's woody weight and wisdom to the fore. He taps into a tribal vein with "Mourning Song For A Chief," brings Ellingtonian breeziness and Basie-bound earthiness together in a medley merging of "Mood Indigo" and "Blue And Sentimental," allows the sweet ring of beauty to overtake the senses with a gorgeous performance of Stevie Wonder
's "Lately," and brings buoyancy to bear on a soulful trip through "Bossa Nova Nemo (The Jive Samba)."
Dominguez proves to be a dynamic presence and a masterful arranger throughout, Hinton's instrument's sound rings clear and true at every turn, and there's nary a lull in activity or creativity across these ten tunes. Solo bass dates are often a tough sell, but this one isn't. Groove Dreams
hits all the right marks and holds attention from beginning to end.