Tuesday, May 10, 2022

I’ve been writing about guitarists now for about eight years The truth is, if it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t know who they are. Growing up and becoming a jazz guitarist I listened to the well-known stars of the day from the 1940s to the 1964 Around 1963 I actually stopped listening to guitarists and began listening to sax, horn, and piano players.
To my surprise there are so many great guitarists now it’s almost impossible to name them all or interview them but every few months or so I choose the ones I like to give more exposure to.
For this article, I asked Jake Reichbart, Anders Nilsson,Steve Herberman and, Jaakko Salvolainen. Each guitarist is different and yet in my estimation great.i

Jake Reichbart is a finger-style solo guitarist whose repertoire draws from all forms of pop, and jazz from the past 100 years. To get a sense of his vast repertoire, one can sample more than 500 solo guitar performances on his YouTube channel where he has more than 34,000 subscribers, worldwide.
Having composed four DVD/book packages for Hal Leonard, the largest instructional music publishing company in the world. He has offered clinics and master classes locally, from the University of Michigan‘s jazz department, Bowling Green and Oakland Universities all the way to Berklee affiliate schools in France and Israel, Jake has been featured on the cover of Just Jazz Guitar magazine alongside the great George Benson, as well as being a featured artist in Fingerstyle 360 magazine in the same issue Tommy Emmanuel was on the cover.

He has performed concerts in the Ann Arbor and Westland district libraries, public schools, town halls, festivals, and nearly any form of public venue imaginable. When a performance calls for more in-depth Jazz virtuosity, he will perform music by Chick Corea, John Coltrane, Allan Holdsworth, and virtually all the jazz greats.
To learn more about Jake, you can visit his website:

https://greatlakespaa.org/jake-reichbart/
br> DM: How long have you played guitar?

JR: Although at age 58 it seems it’s been a while, I actually started fairly late, right around age 16 or 17. My original inspiration were the blues/rock players of the 60s and 70s, Clapton, Santana, Jeff Beck, and many others

DM: Who are your major influences?

JR: Once I became serious about the guitar, and since I was involved in a variety of styles of playing, my influences are quite varied. As I “graduated“ from blues and rock into a more sophisticated fusion, I have become deeply enamored with Allan Holdsworth. I was also a big fan of the modern sound with a clean tone, so Pat Matheny also became a major influence. As I became aware of the possibilities of solo guitar, Joe Pass became my biggest influence and the one I have tried the most to emulate

DM: Why Jazz?
JR Being able to play jazz, for me, was actually a financial decision… Trying to find the quickest path to making a living, I realized in my mid-20s that by being able to play the standards and further, adapt to popular music to the jazz format, I would be able to find jobs in the “background music industry“ meaning playing cocktail events, restaurants, etc. At the same time I have become deeply in love with harmony and the feel of jazz and I have developed a great love and a fairly deep knowledge of the classic American songbook while continuing to adapt pop music to jazz. < br >
DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with Guitar?

JR: I have no problem with the idea that anybody might use electronics to create new and interesting music that falls under the jazz category. Nevertheless, for myself, I don’t feel any need to use anything beyond the guitar and an amp with a little bit of reverb, since nearly 100% of my focus is on trying to pick great tunes, the choice of notes and ultimately attempting to deliver a satisfying performance through the use of my fingers and guitar only.

DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?
JR: Obviously that’s really hard to say, although I would hope that, at least in part, jazz would return to where it was always welcome, to clubs, restaurants, bars, and cafés. While proper jazz concerts are obviously every jazz musician's goal, I believe people should also be able to experience great music in casual settings without having, necessarily, to pay a premium.



photo by Peter Gannushkin


Anders Nilsson is a Swedish-born, now living in New York City, experimental guitarist. As an electric, acoustic, and 11-string alto guitarist, he has performed at festivals and concerts throughout Europe and North America. His solo guitar music is featured on the albums “Night Guitar” 2012 and “Äventyr” 2022. “Anders is comfortable with everything from free improvisation to avant-garde metal

His recent solo effort, Night Guitar, traverses ghostly mood-setting, bluesy twang, and overdriven riffage. He leads three bands playing his music; Anders Nilsson Group with Satoshi Takeishi drums, percussion, and David Ambrosio electric bass, bata, Outer Space Caravan with Stephanie Griffin viola, Michael Attias alto sax, Ken Filiano bass, Anders Nilsson’s AORTA, a jazz-rock band in Malmö, Sweden. He has played on over 40 albums and has performed and/or recorded with many artists such as Mohsen Namjoo, Gordon Beeferman, Jason Kao Hwang, Kalabalik, Paquito D’Rivera, Elliott Sharp, Fay Victor, and Angelblood.

Nilsson’s work as a composer has produced 100+ compositions ranging from brief to epic solo works to large experimental ensemble works, many of which have been released on several acclaimed albums. He has also written music for string quartet, short films, butoh dance performances and theatre. To learn more about Anders you can visit his website: http://www.andersnilssonguitar.com

DM: How long have you played guitar?

AN:I started when I was 10, my dad had an acoustic and I began taking lessons. At age 14 I started really practicing and was driven by whatever music seemed real at the time. I grew up in Sweden and just approaching jazz I went to a music high school in Malmö where my teacher Thomas Hallberg offered a healthy outlook and focus for practice. I proceeded to learn on my own, and through the university system, listening, playing, and transcribing, influential teachers were Bo Sylven who was an active jazz guitarist influenced by Bill and Gil Evans, and Helge Albin, an alto saxophonist/composer/big band leader with good, far-reaching ideas. All of this school training would have meant nothing unless I was internally driven.

DM: Who are your major influences?

AN: The older I get this list keeps growing; blues musicians such as Freddie King, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Brazilian guitarists Baden Powell, Luiz Bonfá, João Gilberto, jazz musicians Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Ornette Coleman, and composers such as Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, Arnold Schönberg, distinctive guitarists such as D'Gary, Shiyani Ngcobo, Allan Holdsworth, and in new music my old teacher Stefan Östersjö, all incredibly great at what they do.

DM: Why Jazz?

AN: All of the above influences have their own unique mark, that's why. In the history of jazz, there is an idea that you can show up and be yourself, with whatever chops, and that's good. It's not the full truth however as professional typecasting can be encapsulating even at this moderate level of public acceptance and exposure. Learning how to navigate between the norms and the individualistic has been telling. Unity within a band can be hard to find, though I've been fortunate to find bandmates who are willing to use their musicality to be flexible whilst expressive many times over.

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with Guitar?

AN: The guitar is not a very important instrument in the history of jazz. Aside from early players like Eddie Lang, and later Charlie Christian there wasn't really a place created for it until Hammond Organ trios, when it appeared to be a voice for this music, although we follow in the fray of horn and piano players. I love George Van Eps, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, George Benson, and John Scofield.

Using effects on an already electric instrument was pretty much designed to happen and I'm glad to use effects as they change the sonic environment in a musically meaningful way, such as a piece of composed music changing its instrumentation from strings to brass for example.

DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?

AN: The elements of music we care about will continue to be part of it no matter what happens. I just hope there is continued room and space for people, and individuals in bands, to express themselves and pursue the originality of it.

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Steve Herberman is a 7-string guitarist and a graduate of Berklee College Of Music. He’s featured in the book “The Great Jazz Guitarists” by Scott Yanow. Steve’s composition “What We Do” won first place in the jazz category of the 2018 American (International) Songwriting Competition.

Steve has performed and given music workshops across the US and Europe. He has played with renowned musicians such as John Pisano, Jimmy Bruno, Keter Betts, Gary Bartz, Buck Hill, Drew Gress, Chuck Berghofer, Harvie S, Mark Ferber, Jim Snidero, Ali Ryerson, Bob Wilbur, Steve Williams, Steve LaSpina, Jeff Hirshfield, and many more.

Steve has four CDs as a leader; Thoughtlines (2001) Action:Reaction (2006) Ideals (2008) and Counterbalance (2019.) His recordings have received wide critical acclaim in JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazz Improv and many others. Action:Reaction, a CD of Steve's original music, was chosen as one of the top 50 CD's of 2007 by Jazz Improv magazine.

Steve Herberman taught jazz guitar on the faculty of Towson University near Baltimore MD for 14 years and is presently teaching music for the Jazz Band Masterclass and JazzWire in addition to home studio and online teaching. Steve has written instructional material for Downbeat magazine, Mel Bay’s Guitar Sessions, Just Jazz Guitar, and Fingerstyle Guitar Journal. He is an online instructor for www.mikesmasterclasses.com where he has taught over 60 instructional jazz video lessons. Steve Herberman has been featured on the covers of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine (Feb. 2009) and Fingerstyle Guitar Journal (2016) with his Comins guitar that he has endorsed for many years. To learn more about Steve you can visit his website: https://www.steveherberman.com/


DM: How long have you played guitar?

SH: I’ve played for 45 years starting at age 11. I took lessons with a local DC player named Keith Grimes who was a great help in getting me prepared for Berklee. I studied with William G. Leavitt at Berklee and some other great teachers there including Al Defino. Larry Baione and Jon Damian.

DM: Who are your major influences?

SH: My big guitar influences are Lenny Breau, George Van Eps, Ted Greene, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and Ed Bickert, in no particular order. I love so many piano players such as Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones. Horn players get a lot of listening time with me as well: Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderly to name just a few.

DM: Why Jazz?

SH Because I love to improvise and jazz uses all of the colors of the musical rainbow. I love the fact that jazz crosses boundaries into other styles and I like to add classical, Brazilian and other styles into the music I play.

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with Guitar?

SH I love hearing effects being used by other guitarists. For me personally I choose to incorporate an organic, unaffected tone with no effects.
DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?

SH: There are so many great younger players of this music and it will go on forever as far as I can tell. Jazz will continue to draw from all music and art for its influences and will continue to grab the attention of the folks that really pay attention to beauty in the world.







Jaakko Salvolainen was born 11.08.1970. Helsinki, Finland. As a child, he got to know the music of Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, and all the other greats of that time with his father and dreamed of becoming a saxophone player.

He got his first guitar from an uncle at age of 4 or 5 who taught him a few chords and some simple things which he loved to play. He would try new things every now and then. That’s when his love for the guitar began. He started practicing the guitar at the age of 10 and found the music of Jimi Hendrix. At that time his dad gave him a Joe Pass album, Virtuoso # 4, which is still to this day an important album in his collection He started studying Classical music at age of 13 but spent time with several rock bands playing Blues with friends. He quit rock bands and began studying the music of J.S. Bach and other baroque musicians. On his own, he studied lute composers. He got bored with music and stopped playing for some years, but the music stayed inside his head. In 2006 he started creating art with the name of Alvari Lume and had an art exhibition with letter paintings where he played and improvised music with a friend and got back to music and it felt natural to continue with the name Alvari Lume. He started recording and playing music again and performed a night of improvised music in a local Bar. Whether he performs, either solo or with musicians he loves creating new music in the real-time

For more info about Jaakko visit his website: http://alvarilume.weebly.com/

DM: How long are you playing Guitar?

JS:I got my first guitar at age of 4 or 5. I started practicing around the age of 10 and started studying Classical guitar at age of 13.

DM: Who are your major influences JS: No one precisely. Every music I hear / everything in life. I think that these things happen in the time and we are only tools for showing it out. It doesn’t come from us but through us.

JS: My dad was a jazz lover so it is the very first music I have heard and the music I have lived with all my life. Jazz gives the freedom to breathe

DM: How do you feel about the use of effects with Guitar?

JS: I have used electronics a lot but nowadays I prefer not to. I even play acoustically as much as possible. I like to rely on my Fingers.

DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?

JS: jazz will combine with new things in time and with the new generation





I want to thank all four of these wonderful guitarist for their cooperation.

Dom Minasi

Monday, April 25, 2022

A Fictional Account of a young musician attempting to live a ‘Jazz Life’ _Part II

This may not be what you expected, but it is up-to you, the reader, to decide what ending you want.
When we left off a few months ago Jake Masters ( have given him a name) was deciding if he should stay in New York or go back home to teach, play and make a decent living without the hassles of trying to get jazz gigs while playing club dates that he hated.

He thought long and hard about this. He called his old guitar teacher, as he always did, asking for advice. This time his teacher told him he had to decide on his own. The old adage “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere…” doesn’t necessarily apply anymore.
Hanging up the phone, Jake was more confused than ever. He decided that he would try meditating and sleep on it. It was a restless night filled with all kinds of dreams. One of the dreams had him playing at the Vanguard with Mike Clark on drums, Herbie Hancock-piano, Wayne Shorter-tenor and soprano saxophones, and Dave Holland on bass. His dream-band playing his original music. He had such a feeling of joy and self-fulfillment. In another dream, he was old and gray and playing at a Bar Mitzvah. He was also married with two children, teaching eighth grade in a NYC school. He felt depressed and angry in the last dream before he woke up.

He woke up more confused than when he went to bed. Each day seemed longer and longer, he wasn’t practicing and he kept going deeper and deeper into depression. The only thing that ever worked was to practice himself out of depression, so he forced himself to practice even though it was difficult.

He decided to challenge himself. He went online and downloaded Beethoven’s Sonata No.8 for Violin and Piano. The Violin part was extremely hard, especially at that tempo. He went over it at a slower tempo, just to get the fingering and the feel of the music down. He thought he was a good reader, but this was another level.



It took him several weeks of practicing three hours a day to master it. Slowly he was coming out of his depression and feeling good about himself, but he still hadn’t made up his mind or what he should do. Stay in New York City or go home?

After a long practice session, he decided he would go home. It took him a month to get organized. He contacted his parents and told them he was moving back home and asked if he could stay with them till he found his own place. “Of course,” they said . He contacted a storage facility in his home town to rent a space. Then he hired a moving company to pick up his stuff on a certain date and deliver it to the storage facility and he would meet them there. He also contacted many of his friends to let them know he was moving back and to keep an eye opened for a place to live.

He started to contact schools and colleges about teaching,. He let them know he was moving back and he would be ready to start work in the fall semester. He gave his landlord notice and in a 2 weeks he would drive home to Liberty N.M ( a fictional town). As the time of departure got closer, Jake started to wonder if he made the right decision. He was nervous. This is a big step. The one good thing is that he would not have to move his car twice a week. In NYC there is alternate-side parking. Which means on certain days and times your car can’t be on the east or west side of the street because a garbage truck will come by to pick the garbage. If your cars isn’t moved you can get towed and get a ticket with a big fine..

Ending Number One On a bright Monday morning Jake packed his car with some clothes, two guitars and two amps and was about to leave, when two guys approached him. They had that typical New York- street look. Jeans, longhair, shirt out, sneakers and a bulge coming from their waistbands. They said to him, “we saw you put two guitar cases in your back seat. Can we take a look? Jake’s face had an astonished look upon it. No one ever asked to see his guitars before. He answered, “sorry guys I’m in a hurry and I gave to get on the road as soon as possible”. And he started to walk around to the front of the car on the driver’s side. The tall guy said,” I don’t think so “ and pulled out a gun. The other guy followed suite. Jake astonished by all this said, “guys, I am leaving NY and I need those guitars to make a living.” “Not anymore said one of them” and fired 2 shots into Jake’s chest. One bullet hit Jake in his heart. Jake fell dead to the street. The two guys took the guitars, Jay’s wallet, and ran off, never to be seen again.

All the TV News stations ran with the story. Jakes parents came to New York to identify and claim his body. How did the cops know Jakes name? Jake left the car’s registration in the glove department along with a medical info tag to call in case of an emergency.

Five days later there was a wake and memorial in Jakes honor. His parents spoke and so did some old friends and his guitar teacher who guided him most of his adult life. The next day he was buried in his home town’s cemetery. Because of the notoriety of Jake’s murder , his CD was selling like crazy on all outlets. It was getting radio play on all the jazz stations around the world. Within months Jake’s name became synonymous with jazz guitar. In life no one knew him, but in death he became a star. Ending Number Two On a bright Monday morning Jake packed his car with some clothes, two guitars and two amps and was about to leave, when two guys approached him. They had that typical New York- street look. Jeans, longhair, shirt out, and what looked like very expensive sneakers. “Hey man, are those guitars?” Jake smiled and said , “yes they are”. “Looks like you’re going on a trip”. Yes said Jake . “ Well safe journey” and they continued walking.

Jake got in the car and started the long drive home. It took him four days of driving 8 to10 hours a day only stopping for gas, bathroom and food. Along the way he found cheap motels to sleep in and would start early the next day. He reached Liberty and his parent’s home about 6 pm, New Mexico time.

Both parents were thrilled to see him and hugs and kisses went on for a few minutes. Jake’s mom made his favorite dinner. Home-cooked fried chicken with dumplings, gravy and peas. After dinner Jake and his father settled down in the living room. Mom brought over coffee and they spent most of the evening catching up.

The next day Jake met the moving van at the storage facility. Once everything was safely locked away. Jake went home. Later that evening he met up with some old friends at the local pub. He realized how much he missed them and it felt good to catch up. The next day he visited his old guitar teacher. This man was like a second father to him. They talked and an laughed a lot and after a while they picked up the guitars and jammed.

Jake was no longer the young student who fumbled through chord changes. He had developed into a strong improvisor and his teacher told him so. This made Jake very happy. Later, after exhausting their energy playing, the teacher took out two glasses and poured each of them a half-filled glass of Bourbon. Jake was surprised. This had never happened before. Jake thought to himself, ‘wow I guess I am finally an adult in his eyes.’

They talked about his plans and the teacher said. “if there is anything I can do for you, let me know.” He left that night feeling fulfilled and happy, but he knew the road ahead would be iffy.

The next day he got on the phone and called some of the colleges he had written to. All but one told him they couldn’t help him. The one college set up and interview for the following week. Jake prepared himself by getting all his transcripts, letters of recommendations, and his current CD. The following week Jake was invited into Dr. Raymond Blake’s office for his interview. Dr. Blake carefully looked over Jake’s transcripts and his teaching qualifications. He asked some questions and stated they were looking for someone willing to work hard and get the guitar department up-to-speed. He ended by saying “you seem like you can be the one, but I have a few more interviews and I will be in touch, either way, in two weeks.”

Jake left the campus feeling positive. His next move was to find some gigs. He went home and started a google-search for clubs or even solo gigs at some restaurants. He found some clubs that were nearby. He decided to record few solo tunes for the solo restaurant jobs. It took him 15 minutes. He transferred the recording to a blank CD, designed a cover and was ready to go. He also uploaded his solo recording to You tube.

Later that night he hit the clubs and spoke to managers and gave them a copy of his CD and a resume. All the managers were cordial and polite and said they would let him know. The next day in the early evening he visited about ten restaurants. Again, all the managers were friendly and told him they would let him know. This was not like New York City at all.

The next day he took ten CDs with him and started to visit the local colleges and radio stations. Again, everyone was polite and thankful. All promised to listen and if the music suited their public, they would put the recording in rotation . Jake thought to himself, home for such a little while and I feel so much better and positive. The next day he worked on putting together a new trio. Finding the right musicians who can read and play his music would be a challenge, but he knew if he stayed positive, things may just work out.

The following day, while driving to the supermarket with the radio on a local jazz station, the DJ says “here’s a new recording from a local homeboy Jake Masters”, and lo & behold there was Jake’s original tune being played! Jake practically jumped through the roof. Maybe things will be much better.

While he was at the supermarket Jake ran into his old girlfriend, Nancy. Nancy was shocked to see him as was Jake to see her. They had a polite conversation and Jake found out that since their breakup she met someone and was getting married in a few weeks. Jake tried to hide his disappointment, but Nancy could see it. Later that night Jake stayed home, watched TV and went to bed. Since coming back home he hadn’t practiced but the next morning he started his day with coffee and practicing. Around 11am his cell phone rang, and to his surprise, it was Dr. Blake. He hadn’t expected his call for at least another week, but there he was on the phone.

“Hello, Hello Jake, I wanted you to know..” (Jake thought, here it comes the big let-down) “I thought it over and decided I really don’t want to interview anyone else. The job is yours if you want it.” Jake was stunned and couldn’t believe his ears. “Jake! Are you there?” Jake answered “Yes! Thank you.” “OK we are set. Come by the office tomorrow and sign the contracts. One thing though, we usually hire teachers who have their doctorates, so in order for you to become a professor, you will have to eventually get your doctorate.” Jake agreed and said “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jake was thrilled. He couldn’t wait to tell someone. He called his old teacher and told him. He was practically jumping with joy when his father came home for his lunch break and saw the excitement in Jake’s face. “What happened” ?” “I got the job at the college. I start in the fall”. His father congratulated him and said,” let’s go out with your mother tonight for a special dinner” Jake thought, ‘wow, he never goes out to dinner’.

That night at dinner, Jake’s father proposed a toast and told Jake how proud he was of him. This brought a tear to Jake’s eye. His father never-ever said anything like that before. While eating dinner the manager of the restaurant came by their table. “Aren’t you the guy who dropped off the CD of you playing solo guitar?” ‘Yes’ said Jake. “I listened and really liked it, so I played it for my boss and he liked it. Can you play here two nights a week starting next week?” Stunned again Jake said ‘yes I can’. The Manager told him it would be Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 8pm . He explained weekends were very busy and they needed the space for tables. Then he whispered in Jake’s ear that it would pay $100 per night plus any tips, and a suit and tie were required. Jake immediately agreed.

Jake really didn’t want to play background music but he needed to make money and at least he would be playing and it left his weekends open for any jazz gigs that may come along.

Jake knew there was a long road ahead, but at least he was able to be a musician. It wasn’t the Jazz Life he wanted, but who knows what could happen in the future. For now, he was content. He was off to a good start in a new life. A slower life but a good life. He found an apartment he could afford near the college. He had to report to school two weeks before the fall semester began. He was assigned courses he would teach and when the school actually started he would be getting private students too. He would be there three days a week, which gave him time to play his gigs, do some private teaching and get into a part-time doctorate program which he could take at the college with no cost at all. It would be a lot of work, but he knew he could handle it. And so, the story ends…… or has it?

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Guitarists Who Need More Exposure By Dom Minasi

Welcome To My blog. Every once in a while I will introduce you to emerging or established to guitarists who fly just under the radar of public recognition. Each fielded the same questions and recommended a video.
Jack DeSalvo

Jack is a guitarist, composer, multi-instrumentalist and has performed on more than 60 albums as leader and sideman and as one of the co-owners of Unseen Rain Records. He has produced almost 100recordings for Unseen Rain Records. Hailed in THE WIRE magazine as masterful, he has played and recorded with numerous jazz greats and performed at major European festivals including a sojourn with Ronald Shannon Jackson that resulted in the classic record Red Warrior. His latest recording is Bare Trees on Unseen Rain Records. To learn more about Jack, visit his website: https://www.jackdesalvo.com/

DM: How long have you played the guitar? Jack De Salvo56 Years DM: Who are your major influences? JD: Keith Jarret, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Django Reinhard, Ralph Towner, John McLaughlin, Bill Connors, Tal Farlow , Lenny Breau, and many more DM: Why jazz? JD: Jazz is currently the most sophisticated and flexible musical tradition that allows for ultimate expression through improvisation while allowing for composition to (or not) affect the direction of the music DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with guitar? JD: It depends on the context. Lately, I've been playing mostly acoustic nylon string, but I do play electric guitar on gigs and recordings and occasionally use reverb.. DM: Where do you think jazz is headed? JD: Jazz has always been absorbing material from every possible style of music in the world and will continue to grow and expand. Popular culture has dipped far below even the lowest common denominator, which along with the devaluation of music in general via streaming, etc. does not bode well for the jazz world, but musicians and jazz listeners' passion for the music has only grown. Whether in a tiny room or a large concert hall Jazz in its many forms will grow and flourish creatively.

Dan Arcamone

Dan is a guitarist, composer, and educator hailing from Norwalk, CT. Arcamone’s powerful yet elegant style has been winning over audiences and critics alike. Intricately constructed single-note phrases and rich chordal landscapes mark his highly individualized style, Arcamone's musical style is hard to pin down with a single term, needless to say, it is the result of years of focused study and performance. These experiences have culminated in a personalized approach to the guitar that challenges the listener to think outside their common expectations. As a leader, Dan’s most recent recording is Standards, Vol. 1 (2021), Psalm (2019), In addition to his recordings, Arcamone has also released two exercise books (Melodic Continuity and Counterpoint Exercises on Familiar Chord Progressions) and a collection of his over-60 compositions (Dan Arcamone Songbook). To learn more about Dan, visit his website: https://www.danarcamone.com/music DM: How long have you played guitar DA: It’s been about 28-29 years. DM: Who are your major influences? DA: My earliest jazz influences for guitar were {{Pat Martino }}, {Pat Metheny}}, and {{Chris Morrison}}, who was my teacher during my undergrad studies at Western Connecticut State University. Ben Monder, John Stowell,{{ John Scofield}}, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and {{Allan Holdsworth }}have also been major influences of mine. In recent years, {{Rich Goldstein }} of The Hartt School has influenced my playing as well. I completed my master’s degree at Hartt in the Spring of 2021. I also like to listen to saxophone players such as, {{John Coltrane }}and Michael Brecker especially when I was first interested in learning jazz. Lately, I’ve been more interested in piano players, mainly, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau. DM: Why Jazz? DA: I don’t consider the music I play to be jazz most of the time but use ingredients that I learned from studying jazz. I usually refer to it as modern improvised music. Mostly I like the improvisation element of jazz. My understanding of chords and how they work with scales for soloing comes from listening to and studying jazz. I like the idea of everyone in the band improvising together and reacting to what is happening in real-time. I like how my music can sound different depending on who is playing it with me and how the same songs never sound the same. DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with guitar? DA: I use effects all the time. I always use delay and reverb. I almost always use overdrive when I’m soloing. Growing up I listened to mainly rock and metal and still listen to that stuff a lot. I prefer soloing with an overdriven tone rather than a clean tone. It sounds more like a saxophone to me. I’m able to sustain notes for a long time and the notes blend into each other more. I like the variety of different textures that effects offer. Sometimes I like to create ambient pads. On my recording, “Evolve”, I used a looping pedal to layer pads instead of comping more traditionally. DM: Where do you think jazz is headed? DA: I don’t see things changing too much. Some players make music in the bebop/hard bop traditions and then there are those that blend influences from other musical genres with jazz. Some mix classical music with jazz while others might mix rock music with it. The term “jazz” makes me think of swing, syncopation, specific rhythms, and melodic ideas. I think jazz will continue to branch out sideways as opposed to in a straight line heading somewhere. Just forms of music, borrowing certain elements from jazz, existing alongside it.

Frank DiBussolo
Frank has been a professional musician since 1965. He has worked with many distinguished artists such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, and many others. As a soloist, he has been featured with the bands of Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden}, Lester Lannin, and more. He is a graduate of Widener University and the Combs College of Music where he earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. He has served on the faculties of Swarthmore College, Moravian College, Lehigh University, and the Combs College of Music. Dr. DiBussolo has recorded extensively and can be heard on the Naxos, DBK, and Lost World record labels. For his work in the recording industry, he has been nominated eight times for The Grammy Award in various categories. He is published in Guitar Player, The Educator, and Just Jazz Guitar magazines as well as in the Groves Dictionary. His current recording is Average White Cats on the Lost World label. To learn more about Frank, visit his website: https://frankdibussolo.com/ DM: How long have you played the guitar? FD: 58 years DM: Who are your major influences? FD: My greatest influences are Tony Mottola, Tal Farlow, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Martino and, Andres Segovia. DM: Why Jazz? FD: I was drawn to the jazz guitar first by the sound, timbre of the traditional archtop, and the freedom of interpretation and improvisation both in the melodic and harmonic components of the genre. DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with guitar? FD: I believe that the use of electronic effects has a place in certain situations, but that the essence of the sound of the electric jazz guitar is created by the hands of the player. The touch, attack, nuance, and phrasing are as individual as a fingerprint. Truly great players are recognized first by the sound they produce and then by the content they play. DM: Where do you think jazz is headed? FD: I think that the evolution of jazz will continue to assume the new styles that emerge in the pop field. The assimilation of elements like hip-hop, ethnic and cultural icons will bring change overall. However, I also see younger players reverting to more traditional playing. Standard tunes, blues-based forms, and a solid grounding in the masters that came before them. One thing is certain, one cannot master the instrument without mastering the Craft! Vinnie Zummo



Vinnie is a guitarist, drummer, producer, writer, arranger, sound designer, custom hip-hop drum loops, accordion,
chromatic harmonica, and top call session player and composer in NYC. He is best known for his eclectic approach and genre-hopping which is always bop-based. Vinnie has also recorded with many other artists. His bop trio has performed in NYC frequently as well as appearances in Santa Fe, Florida, and many, many more. At various times his trio has featured Janice Zummo (his wife and an amazing singer/composer in her own right), Yasushi Nakamura, Mike Clark, Cameron Brown}, Gerald Cannon, Adam Nausbaum, Ray Marchica, Terry Silverlight, Rick Cutler, Ron McClure, Chip Jackson, and Bettenelli. Vinnie has played with Bob Mover, Kenny Baron, Chet Baker}, Dom Minasi}, Kenny Washington, Rick Cutler, Will Lee, Frank Gravis, Dave Katzenberg, John Abercrombie, and many more. To learn more about Vinny go to his website: https://vinniezummo.wordpress.com DM: How long have you played the guitar? VZ: I started on guitar when I was 14. DM: Who are your major influences? VZ: Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Stravinsky, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, Cecil Taylor, Bill Evans,Wayne Shorter and, Dave Liebman . Why jazz? VZ: Because it's based on improvisation DM: How do you feel about the use of electronic effects with guitar? VZ: I feel good about it. I have been using guitar-synthesizers and effects for many years, but at the moment I mainly use an acoustic guitar. DM, Where do you think jazz is headed? VZ: I feel jazz is moving into a more world-music approach, mainly because of globalization, which allows easy access to different cultures and instant interaction and inspiration for all musicians and artists in general.



Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Fictional Account of a Young Musician Attempting to "Live a Jazz Life"

 

In the last twenty years, Music Schools have graduated hundreds of students. Most of them get degrees in performance arts and graduate to be released into the world or they go on to earn their masters and on to their doctorates.

In the fifties, up to the mid-seventies, early eighties, the only music degrees available were in classical music. With a resurgence of jazz, colleges and universities began hiring jazz musicians to develop jazz courses. Now you can't teach in higher education schools unless you have a Doctorate in music. Many of the professors who teach don't have the experience needed to be great jazz teachers. They have the knowledge to teach advanced harmony and theory but in reality, they never put this knowledge to practical use. Sometimes it's better to study privately with a great teacher than go to a college or university unless you want a degree to teach.
This is a narrative between a Student (guitarist) and his/.her teacher

Student: "I want to be a jazz musician."

Teacher: "Do you have any idea what it means to, first of all, be a full-time musician but a jazz musician"?

Student: "No, but I love music and I want to major in music in college. I've applied to the Berklee School of music. Manhattan School of Music, Julliard and the New School in New York City. I am hoping to get in one of them and study Jazz,"

Teacher: " Besides having good marks in high school you will have to audition. You will have to perform a solo guitar piece, some sight. reading, playing with a rhythm section, improvisation, and an oral question and answer test"?

Student: "Yes. That's why I'm telling you. I want you to prepare me for it. I have six months to get ready."

Teacher: "Are you willing to work hard and even though you are still in high school? You will have to practice at least three hours a day and still keep up with your schoolwork. It will mean giving up video games, going out with your friends, a very little TV, and using your weekends to practice eight to ten hours a day. Don't you have a girlfriend"?

Student: "Yes."

Teacher: "Do you think she is ready for this? Is she willing to cut down on the amount of time you spend together"?

Student: "I don't know."

Teacher: "Well, you better ask her."

The following week at his guitar lesson .

Student: "I spoke to my girlfriend and she said she is willing to try."

Teacher: "Ok. Let's get started."

The student sits poised and ready.

Teacher:" First of all, you have to name, recite and play all the major keys including all three related minor scales using the whole guitar neck for next week. You will be tested."

The teacher puts on the music stand a simple melody ( Smile-key of F-one flat ) and tells the student to sight-read it.

The teacher counts off a medium tempo.

The student begins to play and when it comes to the B-flat he plays a B natural. The teacher stops him and asks: "Did you read the key signature? "No," says the student.

Teacher: "Ok take this song home and when you come back, be able to play it in time and in the second, fifth, and seventh positions and then play the melody an octave higher in any position you like. Make sure you learn the jazz chords that go with it."

This goes on for five months. Every week the teacher gives him a lesson that will improve his musicianship. Going into the sixth month the student is playing chord melodies and reading tunes like Donna Lee and many of the Bebop standards. His improvising has immensely improved.

His audition dates are set and off he goes.

A few months later he hears from all the schools he applied to. He is accepted by all of them. He calls his teacher with the good news and asks: Which should I choose"? The teacher tells him to look at the teaching staff and who he will be studying guitar with. The student says ": I don't know." The teacher tells him to send me the list of teachers in all the schools. When the teacher gets the list he realizes that all the schools have good teachers, and some have heavy-hitters. He calls the student and tells him so. He also adds: "you have to decide what city you want to live in." The student thinks about it and decides he wants to live in New York City and go to Julliard.

Four years later the student graduates and has a degree in Performing Arts. Two years prior the girlfriend breaks up with him, knowing he will probably stay in NY and she does not want to move from her hometown. Throughout his education, he has stayed in touch with his former teacher. On graduation day he calls his teacher and says: " I have graduated and I am officially a Jazz Musician." The teacher congratulates him tells him, he isn't a jazz musician till he lives a jazz life

Student: "What do you mean? I have a degree that says I'm a jazz musician."

Teacher: "How many jazz gigs have you played? "Do you have your own sound?" Do you think your education is over because it has only just begun? Do you intend to stay in New York City? If so, how will you support yourself? Do you have a place to live? You know you have to be heard in order to maybe get some gigs and if you're lucky, maybe someone will hire you. You need to hang out at different venues and be seen. Maybe form your own group and play standards and original music, but most importantly you have to have your own style and sound and use good musicians. While all that is happening, you will have to get a day job to support yourself. This may go on for years. You never know. Meanwhile, you still have to practice and develop. All the young guitarists started like you. I remember seeing and hearing that many of the well-known guitarists that you know now played door gigs in order to play and that's still going on."

"Read their bios and see what they did. Read other bios not just guitarists. Research! Jazz life is not easy. It takes a lot of effort and determination to live like that and in the long run, you may not get the recognition you deserve" .

A few years later the student calls his ex-teacher and tells him he's making a living as a musician but he is playing club dates. The teacher says : "that's great, what clubs are you working in? The student responds and says: "you don't understand. Club dates in NYC are like Casuals in other cities. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Dances, Birthdays, Engagement parties. Most of the music we play is pop or rock. The only time we play anything jazz-like is at cocktail hours. Some of these musicians are not very good., I hate playing this music. After a gig, I go home and practice to get rid of that Aura that surrounds me. This is not the life I was hoping for. Maybe I'll go back to school and get my Master's in Education and teach in school." The teacher responds. I'm sorry but you have to do what you have to do."

The student does go back to school and gets a Master in Education.

He finds a job teaching music in an NYC public school system. He sends his teacher an email and tells him of his progress, but he is still playing club dates on the weekends. He does have his own jazz trio and every once in a while he books a gig with his trio at some local club or venue. They are door-gigs but he pays the musicians out of his own pocket. He keeps the door money. Slowly he begins to hate his teaching job. The kids really don't want music classes and are hard to handle and he spends most of his time disciplining them.

He has made some demos of his trio to send out to club owners and record companies. Most do not respond. He decides to put out a recording under his newly created record company. He doesn't realize the cost of such a production, especially if it is done right. A good recording studio will cost him $150 an hour or more. He will need, at minimum, three hours to record and probably another four to five hours to mix and master. Approximate cost $1500. Payment to his musicians, $1000.

Production costs which would include a master CD and about 100 CDS to send out to Agents and Radio Stations, that's another $800. He could also put it up on Bandcamp, but some radio stations will not play downloads and the same for jazz journalists. He made need a publicist to handle the promotion. He starts calling some publicists to get prices They tell him he may need a radio person too because they have a list and contact information for radio stations throughout the world. Before he knows it cost has grown tremendously. He will need about $10, 000, to do it right. The question is can he afford it? Is the investment worth it? Am I worth it? Where will I get the money? He says to himself, "I have 4000 friends on Facebook. I'll have a fundraiser. I will just ask for $5.00 apiece and I will guarantee them a copy of the recording.

He begins rehearsals. He puts a fundraiser on Facebook. He sends out hundreds of emails asking for donations to his fundraiser. A month goes by and he has raised $3000. He is disappointed. He puts another fundraiser on Facebook and sends out more emails. In three months' time, he raises around $8000. He doesn't think he will be able to get more. He thinks to himself: " I'll have to cut corners." He asks his musicians if they will do it for a little less. He talks to both radio and publicists people if they can give him a break? Everyone agrees. He now has the money and cooperation of everyone involved. A month later the project is completed. The publicists and radio persons get their CD and payment. He finds a distributor and he sets a release date for a month later.

He finds a venue to have a CD release party. He sends out tons of emails inviting friends, agents, and New York City-based journalists and radio people. He charges $10 at the door except for agents and such. The night of the party, the band was on fire and the audience's reaction to the music was great He was very happy. He also was able to recoup some of the money spent. Now the real work begins. Booking the group, getting radio and press interviews, and talking to agents. Realizing that reviews of his recording may take up to three months to be seen, he uses that time to practice and rehearse his group. He is finally living the jazz life, so he thinks.

He did get radio play around the country. His radio person sent him a report on what stations in what cities he was getting played. He sent the list to the agents he knew, but he thought he should do some research on his own. In each city, he found a venue or a club he might be able to book. He contacted each and every one of them, hoping to book a tour. He was getting very little response for his effort. Finally, some of the venue owners contacted him, but they were all door gigs, with the owners getting half of the money and the venues were so far apart in cities and dates that it was impossible for him to accept. So he waited for the reviews to come out. A few months later they come out but magazines like Downbeat didn't give him a review and by the time the other reviews came out, the radio play came down to a trickle.

Angry and depressed, he knew he had to make some decisions. Should I keep doing what he's doing? Continue teaching in a public school and play on club dates on weekends and every once in a while play a jazz gig or should he pack up and go home and teach there and try and play some jazz gigs in his home down? It was a depressing and hard decision to make.

What will he do? What should he do? Coming Soon: A Jazz Life? Part II

Monday, November 29, 2021

Contemplating Loss

 

Lately, even though my cancer has gone into remission and I’ve been able to build a nice online teaching practice, I ask myself why have I been so depressed? Thinking about this I realized I must feel a profound sense of loss.

 

The first time I actually felt loss was when my grandmother, Angelina  De Rosa, passed away. I was 20 years old. Grandma was the matriarch of the family on my mother’s side. I adored my grandmother. As a child, whenever my mother would visit her, I always tagged along. When in  high school I would visit her on my own because school was only four blocks away. When I was twenty I was waiting for a new car to be delivered from the dealer when she went into the hospital. A few weeks later the car came and I was the designated driver for my mother and her sisters. It was the first time I visited her. She was in a coma.

 

I said to her “hello Grandma”. She came out of the coma and asked , “ did you get your new car?” I answered, “yes”, and she went back into the coma. It was the only time she woke up .

A few days later she died. Instead of feeling loss, I was angry and it lasted a few years.

 

Then my Aunt Mildred suddenly died when a blood vessel in her brain burst. We were all in shock. I was very close to her and her children. She would babysit my brother when my mother went back to work and as a teenager I spent my summers in Huntington Long Island with them. Loss



My Aunt Christiana died  after that. She was matriarch after my grandmother. Loss. As children  we spent every Saturday night at her house. While the parents played polka, the kids ( my cousins) would play together. To this day I am grateful for that time because my cousins and I are still very close. Christina’s son Victor died shortly after that. Loss

 

 

My Aunt Ameilia  died a while back and the truth is I don't remember why, but it was a shock to the family as well as my Uncle Frank. He died of lung cancer. Because he serve in the army during World War II, he was given a Veteran's burial with a four gun salute. It was very impressive but I still felt horrible when he died and I sometimes think of him whenever I shave. He taught and gave me my first shave when I was 13 years old. Loss.

 

 

Then in December, 1976, my father died. That night staying at my mother’s house I was trying to sleep but I couldn’t stop crying when suddenly I heard my father say to me ,“ go to sleep Dom, go to sleep”. The next thing I knew it was the next morning. For months I could feel my father’s presence. Loss. About three months later I knew he was gone. I hardly ever feel him now and its’ been 42 years.

 

After my father the next devastating loss was my cousin Vera.

Vera was absolutely beautiful.  Both my mother and I adored her Whenever I would take my mother to visit her sister Florence I would visit with Vera who lived upstairs. Carol and I visited her when she was at Roosevelt hospital for a special operation for Pancreatic cancer. Although she was 66 years old, she looked like she did when she was 28.  When she died I couldn’t stop weeping. It was like I was saying goodbye to part of my childhood.

 

The next big loss was my mother. Oddly enough  even though my brother and I  were at her bedside when she died, it brutally affected me then.  I hardly felt her around  after her passing and the loss didn’t last long.

 

When my close friend, pianist Dennis Moorman died it was a shock. Dennis and I were friends and musical partners since the mid-eighties.  We created some great music together. Dennis was on dialysis for years. The first time he had a kidney transplant he almost died. 20 years later he decided to have another one. His wife Linette called and said he was in the hospital. Carol and I rushed to see him. He looked great. He was happy and smiling.

 

The next day Linette called and told us the transplant didn’t work and Dennis had died. Linette spoke to Carol first. She was concerned how it would affect me since I had open heart surgery a few months before. It affected me badly. At the wake and at the burial I was beside myself bawling like a child. That feeling stayed for a while, but eventually I settled down, but I miss him and our music and our conversations. He once said he considered me “one of the brothers”. Loss.

 

My Aunt Virginia died a few years ago. It was a shock that lasted a long time. My Aunt Virginia, my Uncle Tony and me would take my mother to see her oncologist every few months.

We actually had a good time and it was nice being together.

After my mother died I would speak to my aunt Virginia every week or every other week just to see how she was doing. It kept me close to the family. All my Aunts and Uncles and some cousins are gone and I miss them all. Loss.


There have been other losses throughout the years. My cousin Donna died a few years ago and it was a hard one to handle. She was the first one to meet my wife Carol because she picked us up at the train station to go to an anniversary party. Loss

 

I’ve been fortunate throughout my life having many friends, but 'best friends' is another story.  One of my best friends is Mitchell May. We met on the worse musical  job in the city.

That’s a whole another story. Mitchell ( bass) and I formed a duo and a trio with another friend, drummer Tony Lupo who I met in 1962 and stayed friends till his death 3 years ago.  The two or three of us would rehearse at Mitchell’s apartment every week where I got to know his wife Judith and his best friend Jerry. Jerry eventually married Dorothy and we all became good friends. Then Jerry died-loss. Next was Dorothy-loss, but the biggest loss was Judith. Till this day  Mitchell feels the loss and I feel it through him.

 

When my childhood friend, Joe Mattera, decided not to have dialysis  for treatment of his failing kidneys I knew it would be days if not hours before he died. Joe was my childhood big brother.

 

 He taught me how to play sports and he was my biggest musical fan. He had all my recordings and when he came back to visit his daughter in New York City, he always made sure we could get together. When I was asked to say something at his zoom memorial, I wrote two pages about our friendship but I was too upset to read it. My wife Carol took over for me. I was also asked to record a Monk tune for him which I did. They used the music for background as photographs of Joe throughout his lifetime were shown. Loss

My wife, Carol’s  mother passed and I was in the room when her father died and a year ago her brother passed. I still feel her pain and a sense of loss

Throughout the years many of my musician friends have passed giving me a sense of loss, but none has affected me as much as the recent last four.

 

 


Five months ago, my wife’s best friend, Ann Ratray passed away.

Ann ( actor, teacher and former Miss Rhode Island and winner of the the Miss Congeniality at the Miss America contest) and Carol were best  friends since they were teenagers. I met Anne in 1989. Both Carol and Ann lived in the same building.


Ann immediately accepted me as part of her family. We celebrated every Christmas Eve together. Her son Devin  (Home Alone’s Buzz) took guitar lessons from me and Luke photographed me for my press kit and her husband, Peter and I have been good friends for years and he cuts my hair once a month. 

 

When Ann got sick, she was eventually bedridden for months and then one afternoon Luke (her oldest son) called and said the end was near. Carol and I went downstairs, but Ann was hanging on. We left  to have  a quick dinner but Luke called and said Anne had passed. 

Both Carol and I went downstairs and we saw Ann, lying in her pink robe, gone. It’s an image that stays with me all the time. Loss

 


 

 

A few weeks later we had to put to sleep our cat Cole. The year before his brother Trane died. Both of our cats were like our children. We literally spent thousands on Trane to save him, but nothing worked and a year later Cole had the same affliction. We had a choice. Go the same route we did with Trane or just let his suffering end. We chose the latter. But I still feel him constantly around. A few times I called out to him. He slept my arms every night. The pain of watching him die was horrible and I haven’t let go yet. Loss

 

 


Then a few weeks later my best friend of 78 years Frank Montella, passed away. We grew up together. Our Mother's pushed us in baby carriages as they took their daily walks. We were always there for each other.  Frank served as a Medic in Vietnam. After his service he became a loud voice for the Vets Against The War.  The hole in my heart has not healed and I feel him every day. Loss

 

 


 Pat Martino,  Legendary Jazz Guitarist died three weeks ago.

 Pat and I were friends since 1976. Besides being friends he was an inspiration to me and thousands.  Although I knew it was coming, for he had  been sick for 3 years, his death hit me like a ton of bricks and I constantly feel him around. Loss

 

Anne, Cole, Frank and Pat: I walk with them inside me everyday and I hurt. If it had been months or even a year between their passing I think I would have handled it better, but practically all at once is too much. I find myself welling up with tears and hurting. In fact ( I'm not ashamed to admit) writing this has me in tears.

Realizing the root of my depression I thought it would somehow ease my pain, but it only reminds me why I’m so depressed. As the old adage says:

 

 Time heals all things. Hopefully, in time this will be true.

Dom Minasi

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

How Do You Say Goodbye?

 


How do you say goodbye to a friend of 78 years? Someone who was more than a friend. So many memories from childhood to adulthood.
As children we were always getting into trouble together. Like the time my mother chased me around the block because Frank and I rode our tricycles up a hill four blocks away from home. When she finally caught me I said : “I want Frank” and she said “ Frank can watch you get a beating”. Or the time when we were teenagers and Frank showed up with a Halloween cake with all kinds of trinkets on it and we proceeded to eat the “whole thing”. Then there was a time in the 90’s when we were roommates for a while and we would argue over the Rolling Stones. He loved them and I hated them.
At one point Frank moved to Los Angeles to follow his dream of being a working actor. Blaise Siwula and I had a gig at the Knitting Factory West and Frank brought all his friends to hear us play and later on he said to me:
“Dom…what the F was that?” When Frank moved back to NY he still showed up at my gigs even though he immensely disliked the music.
 
I was there when he got a divorce and how painful it was for him . I was there through all his girlfriends that never seemed to last. 
 
I couldn’t be there when he died. I knew it was coming . It was 3 weeks ago that they discovered the cancer had spread to his lungs.. I knew he wouldn't be with us much longer. The last time we spoke he could hardly catch his breath.
 
He was put in Hospice Home Care . The visiting nurse started giving him morphine for pain. He went into a kind of a coma. I called his sister Lucy ( who has been an Angel through all this) and I asked her to put the phone by his ear. She handed the phone to June another long time friend of Franks', and I told him how much I loved him and I will see him soon. June told me told me he actually responded to my voice and smiled. 
 
I could feel Frank’s presence all around me and then he died a few hours after I had spoken to him. I can’t describe the pain I felt. Part of me was gone. Later that night I spoke to his sister and she told me she couldn’t believe how many friends he had around the world. I could believe it.
Frank was a person who gave and protected. He never thought twice about helping someone.
After his service in Vietnam as a Medic, he became an EMS worker. There were so many times I would be walking down the street and I would hear a siren and it would be Frank. He would give me lift or the many times I would be on a gig and he would be outside sitting in the ambulance waiting for the next call.
While he was in Los Angeles , struggling to work as an actor he decided to go back to school and became a nurse.
Frank had so many stories to tell and he would tell them with such humor that he had us all in stitches laughing.
Frank made the world a better place for all he came in contact with.
 
Goodbye Old Friend I’ll love you forever. Till we meet again.

.
Dom.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Pandemic, Cancer and Jazz


 

 

Before the Pandemic came and showed its ugly face in March 2020,

I was pretty comfortable. I would go out of town two or three times  a year for good paying gigs ( NYC doesn’t have good paying gigs for my music and I won’t play for the door). I had 20 reliable students and my wife would pick up some acting or voice over gigs and I'd released one CD per year.

 

That all changed in a few days. My students did not want to be taught on line. All of a sudden I was down to five students. The out -of- town gigs stopped and a quartet recording  ( WIG) that we rehearsed for  three months was cancelled. Fortunately, I had already recorded my guitar quartet ( Eight Hands One Mind) with Hans Tammen. Harvey Valdez and Briggan Krauss. Thanks  to Hans Tammen, the mix was set and the master was handed into Jack DeSalvo and Unseen Rain Records.   

 

 Then December 2020  rolled around I was diagnosed with salivary cancer.

At first they thought I had lung cancer but more tests revealed it was in my right salivary glad right under my right ear. What to do?

Operate of course and take the cancer out.

 

Easier said then done. It seems most of the cancer lodged itself in my nerve, so they couldn’t get it all out. Meanwhile my surgeon , Dr. Peter Costantino, submitted my findings to a Tumor Board for recommendations.  In the interim I had a new oncologist, Dr. William Grace, who said the best way to fight this is with chemo and radiation.

 

Thirty- six precise radiations by Dr. Lederman and six  weeks of Chemo. At one point because of the Radiation, I lost my voice and  couldn’t teach. Fortunately, it all worked  out and I have been in remission for the three months. It took me a while but I was able to pick of five new students.

It did affect my playing. A side effect of chemo is extreme tiredness. My playing lost a lot but slowly I am getting it back.

 

I am not ready to go on the road again even though I have been vaccinated and I still am not accepting students in my home. I still feel it’s too dangerous out there no matter what the government says.

 

 Because of these doctors who saved my life I composed six new pieces to honor them. Each composition has their last name as a title.

 

Hopefully, maybe by the end of the year, I will be able to get back in the studios and record WIG  and the new quartet too.

 

BTW, the tumor board recommended that the surgeon take out the cancerous nerve which would have left my right side of my face paralyzed and I would dribble. Guess what I told him?

 

Dom Minasi

June 20yth, 2021