If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
Guitarist Michael Musillami composed the music for this program in the wake of his son Evan's death. The fact that it's measured and profoundly beautiful is testament to what music can do, and the fact that it's so superbly realized comes down to the fact that this trio is supremely empathetic. Five recordings to date are testament to why this is, and of these this is arguably the one that hits the spot most resoundingly.
Knowledge is sometimes a debilitating thing and it's hard to get over the circumstances outlined above until the music hits. The leader's opening notes on "Introduction" are both tentative and focused in a manner that comes only from knowing that he's in convivial musical company. Fonda's arco work is right in the mood even though this is a lot more than mere mood music. The two men are caught in a mutually reflective state of mind, but as the music gels it becomes clear why this group works so well. In thinking as one, all three players retain their musical identities in a fashion that's nothing short of extraordinary.
"Shiner At Rocky's" is, by contrast, an exercise in kinetic oppositeness. The leader is not a man for trotting out the clichés of jazz guitar, and this one makes clear that his tone as much as any other element of his work is a mark of his individuality. This is something he has in common with Mary Halvorson in the sense that his slightly percussive attack makes for clean articulation, with his notes spinning out in a manner bounded by inexorable, singular logic.
Variety is one of the names of the game, too, and on "A True Original" Musillami's fondness for tricky, intricate unisons with Joe Fonda again rises to the surface before the bassist's dark vamp acts as an improvisational springboard. George Schuller's rhythmic displacement becomes the third voice in the trialog, at which point it becomes clear that this unit is in essence a collective endeavor.
In this regard, one could argue that the group takes a cue from the trio work of pianist Bill Evans, with all the dissimilarities in dynamics. "Umbrella Top....That's How I Roll" exemplifies this dissimilarity, especially as it's Fonda's bass around which the music coalesces. Schuller's use of brushes seems at first to be at odds with the momentum the other two generate, but then the subtleties of the ensemble effort comes into their own as a positive affirmation of the human spirit.
Track Listing: Introduction; Old Tea; Shiner At Rocky's; The Binary Smirk (Drum Interlude); King Alok; Kitchen Tribute (Collective Interlude); Evy-Boy; A True Original; Jameson #30 (Bass Interlude); Umbrella Top...That's How I Roll; Three Hundred Plus.
Personnel: Michael Musillami: guitar; Joe Fonda: bass and flute; George Schuller: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
We sent a confirmation message to . Look for it, then click the link to activate your account. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam, bulk or promotions folder.
Thanks for joining the All About Jazz community!