Jazziz: The Fully Celebrated + Michael Musillami

September 24, 2009

The new Fall 2009 issue of Jazziz features reviews of The Fully Celebrated’s Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity) and the Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s From Seeds (Playscape Recordings).

“The album feels fresh and playful,” writes Michael Roberts about the former, “displaying the creative exuberance typically associated with young players in the joy-of-discovery phase. [Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs’] approach empasizes wit, accessibility and a willingness to venture into disparate stylistic territories…the longtime bandmates can do more than genre-hop. The Fully Celebrated’s heady blend brims with a vitality that hasn’t ebbed with the passage of time.”

“Guitarist Michael Musillami performs one of the best high-wire acts in jazz,” declares Ed Hazell, “walking the line between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ without ever losing his poise. There’s no predicting the direction of any given tune. Arrangements make consistently imaginative and effective use of the horns. Seamlessly assembled and performed, From Seeds features not such a trio plus three as a fully realized sextet.”

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JazzTimes: Garrison Fewell + Michael Musillami

August 28, 2009

The resurgent JazzTimes shows two of our guitarists, Garrison Fewell and Michael Musillami, some love in the newly arrived August/September issue, making its return to active publishing status that much sweeter.

Variable Density Sound Orchestra should be on jazz education syllabi worldwide,” declares Michael J. West in his review of Fewell’s latest release on Boston’s Creative Nation Music. “It demonstrates how even free improvisation depends on musicians listening closely to each other. Guitarist Garrison Fewell’s septet uses some compositional structures, but the real backbone comes from developing and responding to each other’s spontaneous ideas. The products of that chemistry are gorgeous.”

In his review of the Michael Musillami Trio +3’s From Seeds (Playscape Recordings), Chris Kelsey writes, “Vibist Matt Moran, alto saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller join guitarist Musillami in performing his creative, forward-thinking compositions. The music is exceptional in all respects, from the fiery but respectful readings of Musillami’s tortuous compositions to the inspired solo work by one and all…Musillami is at his best when exploiting his nuanced quasi-acoustic sound, as he lays down long, unpredicatable freeboppish lines. Alessi and Moran are excellent, and Ehrlich is brilliant—his playing here is fresh and impassioned.”


From Seeds An AMN Pick Of The Week

July 15, 2009


Guitarist/composer Michael Musillami‘s latest release, From Seeds (Playscape Recordings), is one of AvantMusicNews.com’s Picks of the Week.

The record, the debut of the Michael Musillami Trio + 3, features bassist Joe Fonda, drummer George Schuller, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, saxophonist Marty Ehrlich and vibraphonist Matt Moran.


DownBeat: Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s From Seeds (Playscape)

July 13, 2009

“Guitarist Michael Musillami has a tone that’s impossible not to love,” declares James Hale in his 4 1/2 star review of Musillami’s latest record in the August issue of DownBeat.

“On From Seeds,” he adds, “Musillami has expanded his trio by adding saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, vibist Matt Moran and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. That makes for a potent sextet, and the guitarist’s writing provides a rich variety of settings.”


Music & More Reviews Michael Musillami’s From Seeds

June 13, 2009

Tim Niland reviewed the Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s new CD, From Seeds (Playscape Recordings), on his blog, Music and More, this past week, calling it “a complex and enjoyable album of modern jazz.”

He added, “Playscape flies a little bit under the radar because their releases are neither way out avant-garde or slavishly retro, but as far as thoughtful, completely modern jazz is concerned, they are one of the finest and most consistent labels and this is another excellent example of their work.”


Hartford Courant: Michael Musillami Trio + 3 At Firehouse 12

May 25, 2009


The Hartford Courant‘s Chuck Obuchowski reviewed the Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s Friday night CD release event for From Seeds (Playscape Recordings) at Firehouse 12 in Sunday’s paper.

“Musillami writes intricate, complex jazz compositions with built-in spaces to allow for lengthy improvisation,” wrote Obuchowski. “In concert, as in the studio, he surrounded himself with musicians who share his fondness for musical adventure. The evening’s final tune, ‘Graphite,’ served as the most powerful example of Musillami’s egalitarian approach; it featured interactive improvised passages by all six musicians in different combinations.”

He added, “Musillami has developed a very distinctive guitar voice over the years. His early work was fluent and well-executed, but in recent years his playing has matured, along with his writing ability.”


Michael Musillami’s From Seeds Released Today

May 19, 2009


Playscape Recordings is proud to announce today’s release of the Michael Musillami Trio + 3’s From Seeds, the first title released in the label’s 10th anniversary year.

The follow-up to 2007’s The Treatment, his trio’s critically acclaimed collaboration with renowned violinist Mark Feldman, this release finds guitarist/composer Michael Musillami augmenting his seven year-old trio, featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller, with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich and vibraphonist Matt Moran.

The group will celebrate the new disc this week with performances at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 (May 22), Teaneck’s The Puffin Foundation (May 23) and New York’s Cornelia Street Cafe (May 24).

What the critics are saying:

“Building on the jazz tradition with graceful strides, From Seeds is one of Musillami’s finest efforts, and a high water mark for a label whose longstanding dedication to quality is documented in each release.”
Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com

“[Musillami] continues to assert himself not only as a very competent performer, but especially as one of the most innovative composers on the scene. This sextet is potent, equally as able to turn on a dime, ride with the wind, or hop aboard a freight train of steaming power and perseverance…a marvelous new music recording of great depth and vision that retains its vibrancy upon repeated plays…highly recommended.”
Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

“As much as any of their trio dates, From Seeds shows Musillami, Fonda and Schuller to be one of the finest working units in jazz today, with or without the ‘+3’.”
 —Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York

“If you have been impressed with the guitarist’s mature and intelligent compositions, here are six more. If you have listened over the years, you already know that Musillami is an intrepid arranger and when given the opportunity to score his music, he does so with wit and polish. From Seeds is an aural delight, one more stellar recording from Michael Musillami.”
Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant