Vision Festival XIII Reviewed in the December Issue of Jazz Improv NY

December 11, 2008

This just in from our better-late-than-never bureau, writer Ken Weiss’ extensive review of Vision Festival XIII, held in New York this past June, graces the pages of the December issue of Jazz Improv NY.  

The review, which spans four pages, including an entire page of original photos, covers a wide range of performances from three of the six nights of the festival, as well as the Saturday afternoon Emerging Artist Showcase.

It’s a great way to get a feel for the diversity of this seminal week-long event, which Weiss calls “New York City’s premier annual avant-garde mystical happening.”  He adds, “this festival continues to serve as the foundation that stabilizes the city’s creative jazz music scene, offering a meeting place for fans (many of whom come from Europe each year) and fellow musicians to experience some of the current integral soundshapers and also for industry types to congregate and make new connections with artists.”

If you don’t live in New York, where the magazine is distributed free at venues and other jazz-related sites, you can download this month’s issue, with Jimmy Heath on the cover, here (PDF).  The review begins on page 10.


Michael Musillami Trio + 3 To Make New York Debut, Record New CD in Early 2009

November 20, 2008

 

On Saturday, January 31st, guitarist/composer Michael Musillami‘s newest ensemble, the Michael Musillami Trio + 3, will make its New York debut at Cornelia Street Cafe.  The group will be performing new original music, which it will then record the following day for its forthcoming May 2009 release on Playscape Recordings.  The Michael Musillami Trio + 3 augments Musillami’s longstanding core trio, featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller, with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich and vibraphonist Matt Moran.

“Guitarist Musillami is really on a roll lately, documenting a number of high quality sessions on his Playscape label,” declared Cadence reviewer Jason Bivins.  Critics called his latest, 2007’s The Treatment, featuring his trio with violinist Mark Feldman, “scintillating and provocative” (Bill Milkowski, Absolute Sound), “an intensely rewarding and conceptually promising avenue for the future of jazz” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com) and “as convincing a statement of what’s still possible with the instrumentation as anything I’ve heard in years” (Brian Morton, PointofDeparture.org).  It was also included in best-of-the-year lists in AllAboutJazz.com, Cadence, Coda, the Hartford Courant, Jazz Review and the Village Voice.

Musillami himself has been called “a superior guitarist” (John McDonough, DownBeat), “an adroit and creative musician” (Michael J. West, JazzTimes), “a fine composer of notable original music” (Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide) and “a modern-day jazz master” (Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal).  “His compositions develop in leisurely style from quiet simplicity to intricate complexity,” explained Jack Massarik in Jazzwise, “and the ensemble playing is civilized, sophisticated and clean.”  The Boston Phoenix‘s Jon Garelick adds,  “Musillami sounds familiar—this is swinging jazz guitar, after all—but not quite like anyone else.”

In a career that spans more than 25 years, Musillami has worked extensively as a performer, bandleader/composer and educator.  In addition to his flagship trio with Fonda and Schuller, which has performed in the U.S., Canada and Europe and released three CDs since 2002, he has earned critical notice as the leader of groups ranging from duo to octet featuring such prominent collaborators as Cameron Brown, Thomas Chapin, Drew Gress, Mario Pavone, Michael Sarin and Matt Wilson.  He is also the longtime Director of Jazz Studies at The Hotchkiss School and founder/director of the acclaimed Playscape Recordings label, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2009.