Dear All About Jazz Readers,

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...

180

Michael Musillami Trio: Old Tea

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Old Tea | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

The Treatment

The Treatment

Michael Musillami
The Treatment

Seven Blend

Seven Blend

Michael Musillami
Fragile Forms

Part Pitbull

Part Pitbull

Michael Musillami
Dachau

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Life Anthem

Life Anthem

Playscape Recordings
2018

buy
Bird Calls

Bird Calls

Playscape Recordings
2017

buy
Of The Night

Of The Night

Playscape Recordings
2016

buy
Pride

Pride

Playscape Recordings
2015

buy
Pride

Pride

Playscape Recordings
2014

buy
Old Tea

Old Tea

Playscape Recordings
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019