Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
211

Michael Musillami: Those Times

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Musillami: Those Times In the intervening decade since guitarist Michael Musillami recorded his first Playscape sides, his playing has evolved substantially. He's broken the straight-ahead swinging mold that characterized his first three releases on the label, experimenting more with space and time. Beijing (2003) brought this forward- looking approach to the foreground. The latest in the string, Those Times, retreats to more familiar territory.

Musillami takes this opportunity to pursue his love for "the standard jazz repertoire," though only about half of these tunes would be immediately recognizable to the average jazz fan. No matter, the guitarist understands the music well and interacts very intuitively with the other members of his quartet. His strength has always been group dynamics, and this record is no exception.

If you had to single out a classic jazz guitarist with a sound most similar to Musillami's, it would be Wes Montgomery. Both players share a deep respect for swing, a strong bluesy feel, and a direct melodic approach. But the comparison ends there. Musillami's got more of an oblique sense of harmony, and he prefers to stab and thrust when it comes to time. He's helped along substantially in this regard by drummer George Schuller, who swings hard and keeps time but is anything but predictable.

Highlights of the record include "Angel Eyes," with a rippling linear introduction that segues into more complex melody lines with intermittent octaves, trills, and off-kilter comping. Bassist Dave Shapiro introduces a warm aura without overplaying. Sam Rivers' "Beatrice" waxes hopelessly romantic, piano and guiter intertwining in a relaxed manner that suggests loose improvisation.

The best thing about this record, other than the usual solid group interplay, is the way the quartet brings out the character of these "standards" without resorting to the usual cartoonish bluster. Improvisation dominates over arrangement, spontaneity over any master plan. But these tunes sound warm and familiar, like a blanket you'd throw over your lap in front of the fire.


Track Listing: Comrade Conrad; Peace; Angel Eyes; Those Times; Out of Nowhere; Beatrice; It Could Happen To You.

Personnel: Michael Musillami: guitar; Ted Rosenthal: piano; Dave Shapiro: bass; George Schuller: drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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
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
From Seeds
From Seeds
Playscape Recordings
2009
buy
The Treatment
The Treatment
Playscape Recordings
2007
buy
Cedar Walton Cedar Walton
piano
Enrico Rava Enrico Rava
trumpet
Thomas Chapin Thomas Chapin
saxophone
Donny McCaslin Donny McCaslin
saxophone
Orrin Evans Orrin Evans
piano
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Brad Shepik Brad Shepik
guitar
Mike Moreno Mike Moreno
guitar
Marc Copland Marc Copland
piano
Julian Lage Julian Lage
guitar

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.