Michael Musillami Trio w/ Mark Feldman: The Treatment

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Musillami Trio w/ Mark Feldman: The Treatment Violinist Mark Feldman may be the link between John Abercrombie's The Third Quartet (ECM, 2007) and Michael Musillami's The Treatment, but there are as many differences as there are similarities between these two guitarists' projects. Abercrombie's group leans more towards a chamber jazz approach that, while not without its occasional edges and unmistakable freedom, is sparer and, at times, ethereal. Musillami's trio—together about as long as Abercrombie's quartet—featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller, swings harder and, when it heads towards the outer limits, does so with greater assertion.

Feldman may be a guest (albeit a relatively regular one) with Musillami while being a permanent member of Abercrombie's group since its inception, but you'd never know it. He winds his way through Musillami's knotty head on the modal "Brooms like he's been playing it forever, and there's the same kind of magical interaction with the rest of the trio when he solos. Not since the late Zbigniew Seifert (1946-1979) has there been a violinist as capable of Coltrane-esque fire and reckless abandon, while remaining equally comfortable with Musillami's lyrical ballad, "Stark Beauty.

Musillami's guitar and amp may create a monochromatic tone, but his attack makes it anything but. His generally warm sound turns sharper, much like Larry Coryell, when he weighs down more heavily with his right hand. And while he's a melodic and economical player on "Stark Beauty, he takes a more angular right turn on the irregular meter of "Human Conditions, where his repetitive pattern, in support of Feldman's solo, leads into his most impressive solo of the set. Rapidly moving from elliptical and gradually evolved motifs to quick tremolos, intervallic jumps and sharp chordal passages, Musillami manages to create a sense of freedom without the kind of aggressive behavior that might alienate those disposed to a more mainstream approach.

The perennially undervalued and stylistically broad Fonda and Schuller, both leaders in their own rights, are not only as dynamically simpatico rhythm partners, but they're just as adept as soloists, demonstrating a similarly selfless concern of working for the material rather than the other way around. The closing "Beijing to Brooklyn, centered around a single pedal tone that's nevertheless milked for all it's worth over the course of thirteen minutes, finds the quartet keenly attuned, as Musillami's nuanced solo leads to another tour de force from Feldman.

A DVD, recorded live a few days before the CD recording session, finds the quartet stretching Musillami's material even further, in most cases nearly double the length of the studio takes. "Brooms is, again, another highlight, with the energy ratcheted up a few more notches. Musillami may not have Abercrombie's cachet, but The Treatment is his best record yet, and the chemistry of his trio—with or without Feldman—makes it one that more people need to hear.

Track Listing: CD: Brooms; The Treatment; Stark Beauty; Human Conditions; Mezz Money; Beijing to Brooklyn. DVD: Human Conditions; The Treatment; Brooms.

Personnel: Michael Musillami: guitar, composer; Mark Feldman: violin; Joe Fonda: bass; George Schuller: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz

comments powered by Disqus


  • 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)
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "The Failure of Words" CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Ljubljana" CD/LP/Track Review Ljubljana
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Small Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Small Pieces
by James Nadal
Published: April 6, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!