Good music does not come out of nowhere. It grows from tradition and experience. This is especially evident in a genre like jazz where the use of improvisation is crucial.
Improvisation, at least the interesting kind, has echoes of the past. The exciting thing as a listener is to hear how the musical knowledge of the past is transformed into new sounds in the moment. In the best of all worlds, the joy of creating through improvisation becomes active communication where it is possible to follow the twist and turns the musicians take. This is what happens on guitarist Dom Minasi's and saxophonist Blaise Siwula's album The Sunshine Don't Mind My Singing.
Joy is the keyword that describes the feeling of the album. It is the joy of discovering music and the joy of communication and being alive. Birds are literally chirping with pleasure on the album where the language of nature and another "Bird," namely saxophonist Charlie Parker, meet on "Bird Mixology." Nevertheless, this is not the fast, razor-sharp language of bop. Instead, Siwula's singing lines fly in more unpredictable and organic curves. His tone and melodic approach to improvisation is reminiscent of the great Fred Anderson.
Minasi, Siwula's fellow traveler, explores the texture of his instrument, varying tone, color and pace. His technique is both free, melodic and percussive, with abstract nods to country-blues and boogie. The strings are scratched, plucked and strummed to transcend the limitations of the instrument. There are moments where the music sounds like guitarist John Fahey's American primitive music translated into jazz.
It is gratifying to follow the musical conversations of these two master musicians and a title like "Polka for a Left Footed Frog" reveals how much humor there is in the music. This is life-affirming and bold music that shows an awareness of jazz tradition. It reaches out to the listener without taking the easy way out.
Track Listing: Bird Mixology; Upstream Boogie; Ballad for Miss-Begotten;
Polka For A Left Footed Frog; The Sunshine Don't Mind My Singing; Sign On The Dotted Line.
Personnel: Blaise Siwula: reeds; Dom Minasi: guitar.
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