Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chris Kelsey & Dom Minasi, Duets NYC/Woodstock

There are recordings that are very good but perhaps do not stand out as breakthrough examples of improvisational brilliance, and there those that have that quality. Today's recording is one of those breakthroughs. I speak of Chris Kelsey and Dom Minasi's latest, Duets NYC/Woodstock (Tzazz Krytyk CD). As the title suggests it is a series of duets between Chris Kelsey on soprano sax and Dom Minasi on electric guitar, recorded last year in New York and Woodstock.

The two have perhaps never sounded so inspired. Chris on soprano burns through motives and structures his playing so that fire and sensibility are seemingly always conjoined. Dom's playing too has fire and a complementary free logic so that the two engage in a free counterplay that is exhilarating to hear and extraordinary in impact.

There are nine free segments, some brief, others slightly less so, but always focused and filled with virtuoso flourishes. There is almost a telepathic togetherness in where they set out to go in each segment. Chris is dry and brittle, terse yet ever expanding on the initial motivic cells he brings in. Dom has a more liquid tone, a fiercely cascading series of chords and note phrases that show much schooling yet an ever-more original use of the possibilities his guitar makes available to him.

They both stand out here as reaching a pivotal point in their free-open stance. It is a breakthrough moment, in short, a tall hurdle surmounted and an entry into the new ground that opens up after the long climb.

It is most definitely music that needs to be heard! Chris Kelsey and Dom Minasi are at the top of their game and the inspiration shown leaves you very impressed but also very stimulated, elated even. Hear this without fail if you can!

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