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Takin' the Duke Out

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Album Review

Guitarist Dom Minasi continues his millennial comeback with this highly individualized set of Duke Ellington compositions, recorded live in concert at the Knitting Factory NYC. Bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Jackson Krall join Minasi in dismantling the harmonic foundations of six of Ellington's best-known songs, beginning with "Satin Doll" and concluding with "It Don't Mean a Thing." Orthodox Ellington aficionados will be driven up the wall, and perhaps with some justification — once Minasi gets going, he pays no attention whatsoever to the changes, instead issuing rapid-fire swirls of sound that can seem interchangeable and beside the point. However, his dissonant readings of these melodies are often insightful, and the way he straddles conventional and avant-garde jazz guitar traditions is intriguing, especially on his unaccompanied rendition of "Solitude." Some may find this Ellington homage nothing short of disrespectful, but tributes to deceased masters too often sound like the aural equivalent of a term paper. At least Minasi is attempting something different. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Biography

Born: March 6, 1943 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '00s

Guitarist Dom Minasi was born March 6, 1943, in New York City, the same birth date as Wes Montgomery. A primarily self-taught, natural musician, in his youth he backed singers and played his share of rock & roll, church dances, and small jazz combo gigs starting at age 15. As an educator, Minasi took many private students at a young age, while launching a professional career with two albums for the Blue Note label in the mid-'70s. Unfortunately, this was a time when Blue Note was being sold, and...
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Takin' the Duke Out, Dom Minasi
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