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Jason Domnarski Trio: Notes From Underground

Glenn Astarita By

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The jazz-inflected piano trio sports a new and playfully decadent guise, thanks to pianist, composer Jason Domnarski's crafty musical mindset. As a purveyor of New York City downtown-style fare, the artist skillfully hues these tuneful pieces with subliminal EFX amid antiquated keys and sharp production methodologies. With his second effort as a leader, the pianist conveys a hybrid, retro/modernist piano trio outlook.

Domnarski is a clever cat, indeed. More importantly, his largely slow-to-medium tempo works, boast simple and undeniably endearing primary themes, featuring solid rock beats and laidback Latin jazz pulses. On "Big in Japan," his dark piano sound is overlaid with a sitar-like effect that drives home a subtle and memorably melodic primary motif, offset by an electronics based, avant-garde spin during the bridge. On "G Unit," Domnarski rides atop the rhythm section's quirky beats via his antique acoustic piano shaded treatments and phrasings.

The pianist electronically alters his eighty-eights with a phased tremolo backwash during his eerie, yet somewhat cartoonish take of David Bowie's "Life on Mars." Either way, the trio conveys that the sky's the limit. More importantly, Domnarski surfaces as a persuasive composer who is adept at using understated mechanisms and techniques to colorize his keen arranging faculties. Here, the artist somewhat unassumingly goes against the grain while combining oddball niceties into his pleasantly twisted game-plan. Hence, an unanticipated surprise for 2008 that yields magnetic attributes.


Track Listing: Shape Shifters; Big in Japan; Tofu Queen; G Unit; New Yorkistan; Life on Mars; Feedback; Detune.

Personnel: Jason Domnarski: piano; John Davis: bass; Dave Mason: drums.

Title: Notes From Underground | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced


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