Intersecting spirals, overlapping glissandi, free form excursions accelerating to abrupt halts. Reversals. Short melodic phrases rupturing into florid runs. The cello's persistent, mournful grace bound to the guitar's sharper, interpolating voice, both riding on, then blending with the bass's firmer, deeper resonance, gliding within and without the drums' tight pulse and rhythmic report, the runnels and rivulets of sound bleeding together in constant convergence and divergence, streaming into one another to form the triumphant foray into modernity presented on guitarist/composer Dom Minasi's latest release, Time Will Tell
First appearing in New York in 1974, Minasi released only two albums before rebelling against the confines of the recording labels. Having relinquished a promising career as a recording artist, Minasi continued to work as an educator, accompanist, and for the theatre in and around New York. Then, with the 2001 release Takin' The Duke Out
and the subsequent Goin' Out Again<
, Minasi emerged from his self-imposed thirty year recording ban.
Working with an unusual combination of cello (Tom Ulrich), bass (Ken Filano), and drums (John Bollinger), Minasi reveals again with Time Will Tell
his continued dedication to translating the innovations of Coltrane, Coleman, and pianist Cecil Taylor to strings. Despite this interest in the free jazz era, neither Minasi's compositions, nor his interpretations of Wayne Shorter's "Witch Hunt" and Monk's "'Round Midnight," though possessed of their frenetic moments, descend into the cacophonous density one might expect. Instead, Minasi infuses each piece with a delicateness that reveals the sumptuous, poignant possibilities of free improvisation. This is especially notable on the album's closing piece, "'Round Midnight" to which Minasi's wife contributes a haunting interpretation of the lyric.
Though Minasi's guitar work is outstanding, the album's success lies in the signature blend of voices developed by the group, much of which is dependent on the innovative contributions of cellist Ulrich. Ulrich's amalgamation of classically delivered melodic material and blistering sonic explorations establishes a distinctive quality which resonates throughout the album, lifting the whole to a higher level. With this, his third release in as many years, Minasi successfully proves there is no single path to artistic success. Even the most circuitous approach can produce unexpected results, and Minasi has certainly achieved something of unexpectedand rarebeauty.