5

Michael Musillami/Rich Syracuse: Of The Night

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Musillami/Rich Syracuse: Of The Night It would be hard to name an artist who has written more jazz standards than saxophonist Wayne Shorter, someone who has been penning memorable tunes since his days with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the very early sixties. After his stint with Blakey, he contributed his singular song crafting acumen to Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet in the same decade, as well as recording numerous albums under his own name on Blue Note Records during that time. Now, the year 2016, seems to be shaping up as a Shorter tribute time, with pianist Denny Zeitlin releasing the solo piano outing, Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions and now, with the Michael Musillami/Rich Syracuse guitar/bass duo offering up Of The Night.

Whether with solo piano or guitar/bass duo, a pared-down approach to tunes that were written with a quintet (or more) in mind is revelatory. Musillami may have begun his career in a mainstream mode, but he allows himself a great deal of freedom here. He and Syracuse open with one of Shorter's most memorable tunes, "Footprints," that appeared originally on Miles Davis Miles Smiles (Columbia Records, 1966) and Shorter's own Adam's Apple (Blue Note Records, 1966). It is a spacious rendition, patient in its delivery—a Zen exploration of the permutations of the tune, a journey that wanders some back roads, alleys and roundabouts, with multiple re-visitations to the melody's main thoroughfare.

Duo playing at its best is an intimate conversation. Of The Night has the smooth flow of practiced musical conversationalists—supple bass lines undulating inside ringing guitar notes, spirited give and take, themes stated and variations on those themes given free reign.

"Juju," from Shorter's 1965 Blue Note Album of the same name, slides on a bed of mercurial chords and succinct single notes, riding the cushion of understated, almost subliminal bass lines—a bass approach that, for all it subtlety and grace, draws the ear, even as it enhances and bolsters the ideas of the guitar.

As it was with pianist Zeitlin's disc, Musillami and Syracuse concentrate on the genius of Shorter's 1960s output. His music then—such a departure from the standard mainstream that preceded it—sounded surreal then. This guitar/bass duo makes them more so, especially when they depart from the charts and ruminate and inject their own personalities into these classics.

And the sound is terrific—pristine clarity that allows every touch of every string—bass and guitar—resonate.

Track Listing: TFootprints; Juju; Black Nile; Children Of The Night; Iris; One By One; Virgo.

Personnel: Michael Musillami: guitar; Rich Syracuse: bass.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

  • The Treatment
    The Treatment
    Michael Musillami Trio with Mark Feldman
    The Treatment
  • Seven Blend
    Seven Blend
    Michael Musillami's Dialect
    Fragile Forms
  • Part Pitbull
    Part Pitbull
    Michael Musillami Trio (with special guest Peter Madsen)
    Dachau
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Once Upon a Time Right Now" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon a Time Right Now
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Vars & Kaper:Deconstruction" CD/LP/Track Review Vars & Kaper:Deconstruction
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Chasing Pixies" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing Pixies
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "San José Suite" CD/LP/Track Review San José Suite
by Nigel Campbell
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!