DOM MINASI - Guitar, Composer, Lyricist, Arranger. It’s not common to hear a guitarist mentioned in the same vein as adventurous players like Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, but Dom Minasi is not your common type of guitarist. Born on March 6, 1943 (sharing a birthday with legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery),Dom is a 44-year veteran of the music scene, with a history and scope of activities as varied and jam-packed as his native New York City.
Like many highly creative artists, Dom needs a variety of contexts to express the full range of his musical vision. Already maintaining several separate groups, four duos, with pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, saxophonist Blaise Siwula, and vocalist Carol Mennie, and pianist Borah Bergman, his recording trio with Ken Filiano on bass and Jackson Krall on drums, DDT + 2 with Tomas Ulrich-cello, Ken Filiano-bass, John Bollinger-drums and vocalist Carol Mennie, his organ quartet with Mark Whitecage-alto, Kyle Koehler-organ and John Bollinger-drums and most recently The Jon Hemmersam/Dom Minasi Quartet featuring Ken Filiano and Kresten Osgood.
Backing up top singing groups at rock 'n’ roll shows, church dances and the like while still in his early teens, Dom has maintained a jazz trio with bass and drums since he was 15 years old. But education has also played a major role in his overall musical activities. "By the time I was 20, I had more than 100 students, but I cut it down to 95 so I could play six nights a week."
A lot of those nights were spent backing up, and providing musical direction for
vocalists, something that Dom has continued to do since 1964 and almost exclusively
until 1973, when his own trio began to really take shape, coming to the attention of
George Butler who had taken the reins at Blue Note from the label's visionary founder
and producer, Alfred Lion.
From 1976-1993, Dom involved himself in a variety of pursuits, freelancing and, occasionally performing with the late, great pianist Dennis Moorman and his organ quartet featuring Dr. Lonnie Smith. Dom also provided the music for a variety of off-Broadway shows, authored three books for Sunrise Artistries, two books on jazz theory and chord substitution and one on improvising. Returning to school where he studied with Academy Award-winning (The Red Violin) composer John Corigliano at Lehman College, he received his degree in composition in 1990.
He also composed over 300 vocal and instrumental compositions during those years, as well as creating Literacy Through Songwriting Workshops for grades one through six for the New York City Board of Ed.
In 1993 Dom became the principal composer for the Manhattan Improvisational Chamber Ensemble (MICE) and began to work on various projects of his own. By1996, he was in the thick of it, but entirely on his own terms. "For the past 15 years, I've only done what I want to do," he says contentedly. That includes his own critically acclaimed album Finishing Touches and Dialing Privileges, co-led with Blaise Siwula & John Bollinger both for CIMP; arranging all the music for the 1997 revival of Torch Song Trilogy; writing his fourth book The Singer’s Guide to Reading Rhythms (to be released 2008) and composing more than 300 children's songs for his literacy workshops.
Deciding to keep total control over his career and what he musically produces, Dom and his wife, vocalist Carol Mennie formed CDM Records and CDM, Inc. (Can Do More, Inc.) a not-for profit organization where Dom is president and Artistic Director and Carol is Vice President and Assistant Artistic Director. CDM, Inc.’s mission statement is to promote music & theatre activities within the educational systems of public schools and colleges throughout the United States.
Over his long career, Dom has worked with countless heavyweights, crossing all styles of Jazz. He’s performed in venues ranging from top jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall, The Montreal Jazz Festival to the White House for President Bill Clinton, but it’s musical expansion and personal growth that are his principal motivations. “ It’s all about expression, learning and growth, whether it be in music or in life and to share what we learn without expectations.”
And in true keeping with the most fundamental aspect of the great jazz tradition, Dom
Takin' The Duke Out, 2001
Time Will Tell, 2003
DDT + 2, 2003
I’m Not A Sometime Thing, (Carol Mennie, 2004)
Vampire Chronicles, 2006 release
The Vampire’s Revenge, 2006
The Jon Hemmersam/Dom Minasi Quartet, 2007
The Dom Minasi String Quartet , 2009, reKonstruKt, (later released Konnex)
Dissonance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder, 2009
Dom Minasi ‘Live’ At The Matt Bevel Institute, 2010
The Bird The Girl and The Donkey, reKonstruKt, Records, 2010