The Dom Minasi Trio's latest effort Going Out Again
is evenly split between original compositions by the guitarist and slightly skewed readings of jazz standards by him and his trio. The word "Out" is right up front in the CD's title, and while Dom Minasi, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Jackson Krall sometimes play in the tradition, on the whole this album is very much an out affair. The playing is generally inspired, although Minasi is occasionally guilty of gilding the lily with his atonal brand of pyrotechnics. That said, we'll cut the guy some slack; the electric guitar just seems to invite a certain amount of overplaying.
The four original compositions make for the album's most consistently comfortable listening. Though Minasi and Filiano play no less experimentally on these tracks than on the others, "Dumpie," "The Day After Next," and the eerie "As the Spirit Moves" seem to build to up to their moments of dissonance and crescendos as a result of the pieces' internal logical, whereas the interjections of sheets of fast, indeterminate sounds that pepper the group's versions of "Autumn Leaves" and '"On Green Dolphin Street" seem purposely rather than necessarily provocative. "All Blues"--credited here to Miles Davis and not Bill Evans--is very cleverly arranged and one of the album's standout tracks. Filiano's playing particularly grabs you, alternating between the bowed statement of the theme and some very deft plucking. The Trio's take on Monk's "Well You Needn't" is lively and interesting, but it just misses; Minasi doesn't quite turn the difficult trick of translating it from piano to guitar and Filiano forces the issue by playing the bass line a bit too insistently.
Minasi shines on the solo piece "Trane's Lament," contrasting angular playing with pretty chords. Dom Minasi can play beautifully, and he can play with terrible beauty. Trio mates Jackson Krall and Ken Filiano play behind him with sensitivity and capable of either laying down a driving rhythm or of playing atmospherically, and here both are sometimes needed within the same track.
That, then, is Going Out Again
. Dom Minasi, for years out of circulation, is back out on the scene. Jazz and jazz guitar are better for it.