CD Alluvium: Dom Minasi + Hans Tammen
|Recorded 2013, released 2014 on Straw2Gold Pictures. Total Time: 47:19 minutes. Dom Minasi + Hans Tammen – guitar. Recorded Spring 2013 at Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center by Candelaria Alvarado. Preview full album and buy on Straw2Gold Pictures’ CD Baby page.|
Two guitars creating music where complex rhythms constantly morph from one to the other, flowing seamlessly like streams in a river.
All compositions by Dom Minasi (ASCAP) & Hans Tammen (GEMA). Musician’s photo and video by Scott Friedlander 2013. Background Image by Lolon/iStockphoto.
Dom Minasi has been playing guitar for over 50 years. When he was 18 years old he began teaching and working as a full–time musician. In 1974 he recorded two albums for Blue Note Records, which launched his career as a jazz artist. For the next twenty years, Dom worked with and recorded with the who’s who in jazz, while at the same time he began composing for Off-Broadway, authoring five instructional books and created a Literacy Through Song Writing Workshops for the NYC Board of Ed. In 1999, with his wife, Carol Mennie, they formed CDM Records and Can Do More, Inc., a company dedicated to education, theater and music. Since it’s inception CDM Records has released eight records. All meeting with glowing reviews and making the top ten lists of many jazz journalists throughout the USA and Europe. Since 2009 Dom’s has been recording for other record companies such as: re: KonstruK, Konnex, four recordings for Nacht Records, separately with Karl Berger, Michael Jefrey Stevens and Blaise Siwula; The Bird The Girl and The Donkey II on Unseen Records, Moments In Time on Solyd Records with Anthony Braxton.
Hans Tammen’s rapid-fire juxtapositions of radically contrastive and fascinating sounds capture the energy and abstract musicality that Coltrane brought to the saxophone. Originally inspired by Sonny Sharrock’s and Pete Cosey’s fiery and energetic playing, his music has been described as an alien world of bizarre textures and a journey through the land of unending sonic operations, his playing, as a critic observed, with his …fingers stuck in a high voltage outlet. Signal To Noise called his works “a killer tour de force of post-everything guitar damage”, All Music Guide recommended him: …clearly one of the best experimental guitarists to come forward during the 1990s.
The music for his 15-piece ensemble THIRD EYE ORCHESTRA (string and wind quartets, extended rhythm section, voice and electronics) is inspired by west african roots of Jazz, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Steve Coleman, and Stravinsky’s layering or Steve Reich’s phase techniques. All About Jazz called the music “nothing short of breathtaking”, and “a masterpiece of musical evocation”.
Dick Metcalf / Improvijazzation Magazine #140
Dom Minasi & Hans Tammen – ALLUVIUM: All of us who improvise, & many who listen to improv, know that moments like those you’ll hear on Dom & Hans new CD are far & few between. They are totally sensitive to each others’ movements, but also understand just how to wrap the listener in to their intricate sonic adventures. Pieces like “Finger Dance” will have your mind hopping all ’round the room… this is a great improvised tune, and you won’t want to be without it in your collection of the coolest. It was the rapid pace on “Chasing Bulls” that caught my vote for favorite track of the 16 pieces offered up for adventurous listeners, though – improvised jazz doesn’t get any better than this! I give Dom & Hans a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want to hear “different” in their jazz experience. “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is right at the top – 5.00; which means that they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best improvised guitar jazz”. Get more information atDom’s page for this CD or the Straw To Gold Pictures label. Rotcod Zzaj
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Gregory Applegate Bass & Guitar Blog
[Alluvium] has a focus on sound and grit. There are almost punk-ish, post-Beefheartian moments on this set of improvisations. Hans initially looked to Sonny Sharrock and Pete Cosey as influences. Some of that is in there in his playing, but much more of his own besides. Dom has influences in roots harmomelodism from Johnny Smith on, but then has taken things out in his very own ways, which can vary as widely as you could imagine, from pulsating, harmonically pinned fluorescence to sound-sculpting.
This is an album that shows a rare, vibrant species of chemistry between two guitarists. They travel the spaceways and they plant their feet firmly on earth as well, sometimes in a heartbeat.
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Paul Acquaro: FreeJazz Collective
Experimental guitarist Don Minasi has recently released two engaging duo albums… Both albums are restlessly searching and featuring Minasi’s warm jazz guitar tone and signature rapid fire melodic streams.
Alluvium is the guitar duo with Hans Tammen. Using percussive strumming and non-standard chords as a baseline (not bassline), the two musicians set out on course where they dodge and weave around each other as snippets of melodic runs smash into tonal clusters. A recognizable guitar sound takes its time to even appear on the title track – rather we hear percussive hits on the instrument’s body until the track heats up into a collage of textures and rhythms. The following ‘Sand and Rain’ finds the guitarists circling around a delicate tune – finger picked figures make up the background as a long form melody slowly unfolds.
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Ken Waxman: JazzWord
A similar showdown between electronic induced artificiality and pure instrumental tones exists on Alluvium. Except in this case, Minasi’s plectrum skills more appropriately link to the mainstream. Someone who began his career with major label exposure, the veteran guitarist’s has maintained a transformative approach to standards alongside more experimental forays. Nevertheless, although many of the improvisations appear to centre on spaces created when guitarists play high up on the neck, beneath the bridge, and use slurred fingering, the underlying continuum and daring finger picking are far removed from electronic interface or preparations. The final four selections – including the last “Rapid erosion” which includes wordless metrical chanting from one player – are cast in the relaxed mode. This sequence would never be confused with one involving Joe Pass and Herb Ellis, the plectrumists’ breakneck runs and chunky rhythms wed them to the Jazz tradition.
More crucially, no matter how many neck hand taps or percussive rasgueado is exposed, every tone is related to the instrument. Unlike Tammen’s and Maroney’s raison d’être, Tammen and Minasi never deny the sheer guitar-ness of the guitar.
The brief “Silt” for instance manages to explore the dynamic limits of crunches and strums while remaining a sensitive duet. Scrapped, spun and rippling string pressure exposed on “Finger Dance” still allows the two to downshift to easygoing swing; while a tune such as “Sand and Rain” casts them in classic guitar duo stance, as one flat-picks the melody and the other creates the accompanying ostinato. “Chasing Bulls” and “Don’t Look Back” may be the most overtly avant-garde of the duets, but throughout both guitar lines are deconstructed not endangered. Although stick-on-neck whacks are audible, the strangest tones heard are squeals that sound as if their source is horns rather than guitars.
Guitar fanciers of every stripe should be (come) familiar with Tammens’s work. Each of these CDs demonstrates that his playing can fascinate whether in a quasi-traditional string duo or using add-ons to jaggedly dismantle expected timbres.
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Eyal Hareuveni: AllAboutJazz
[Dom] Minasi and experimental guitarist Hans Tammen, known for connecting his so-called endangered guitar to software and electronic devices, met in violinist Jason Hwang’s Spontaneous River ensemble, Symphony of Souls [Mulatta, 2011), where the two played acoustic guitars. The short duo moment of Minasi and Tammen was for both a rare magic moment, and the two decided to explore the duo format more and kept jamming until the recording ofAlluvium.
[…] this musical meeting is much more adventurous. It contrasts the warm, flowing sound of Minasi’s guitar with the inventive, experimental playing of Tammen. Tammen uses the guitar body and its strings as an acoustic sound generator (hammering it, squeezing and rubbing its strings, and always searching for new sounds), while Minasi weaves these jangled, chaotic and percussive sounds into serpentine lines, attempting to structure these fleeting sonic flashes in clear and cohesive narratives.
The different temperaments of these inventive guitarists charges the sixteen—again short and concise—improvisations with disquieting tension. Their dense and uncompromising interplay rarely rests on a reserved or playful form of interplay except on the short segments of the bluesy “Whispers from the Heart” or the surprising comic, last piece, “Rapid Erosion.” Minasi and Tammen never attach themselves to a theme, melodic vein or any form of linear progression but are busy exploring the common ground of such brilliant, intense collision between their distinct and highly personal styles.
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Dick Metcalf: Cadence Jazz Magazine, Vol 42, No. 2
Most of us have heard “Dueling Guitars”, but have we heard them in “improv mode”? Dom and Hans ensure that every note flows cleanly and with total sonic purity, leaving the soil that is our mind full of new thoughts and inspirations… you can think of their work as sonic mining, making each and every little thought in your head become vibrant and full of life! Don’t expect the tunes to have clear separations, either… the whole idea here is that every stone gets refreshed by the exuberant energy these two project… especially on pieces like “Finger Dance”.. in fact, I would advise that (for your first listen, anyway) you do this with headphones on, from start to finish! If you’re a veteran listener of improvised jazz, you’ll hear the castanets on “Chasing Bulls” and revel in the dance with the players… I can guarantee that you’ll (also) mark it on your playlists repeatedly. When it comes to improvised guitar, Dom is a true veteran, mining nuggets from each sound, and though this is my first listen to Hans, he’s clearly in the same league. It was the little vocal snatches on the closer, “Rapid Erosion”, that won my vote for personal favorite of the sixteen pieces offered up for your (long-term) aural enhancement, though… if your mind isn’t enriched by the end of this 3:04 gem, it never will be. I give Dom and Hans a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.
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Dan Bilawski, AllAboutJazz: Dom’s Duos
In calling this album Alluvium, and in creating miniature works with titles like “Silt” and “fluvial,” Minasi and guitarist Hans Tammen seem to settle into the idea of sound-as-sediment. It’s a striking sonic proposition that’s realized through various means—guitar-as-percussion sounds, zither-esque plucks, vocalized passion and fury in sync with guitar statements (“Rapid Erosion”), and a general embrace of turbulence. Minasi and Tammen create sixteen miniature canvases with splattered sounds, aural shards, and scrappy strumming. Queries can lead to cacophony and calculated blends (“Clearwater Flow”), disconcerting and trance-inducing weaves and counterpoint serve as grist for the mill, and flapping sounds are met with skulking gestures.
The music, like silt itself, is dirty and muddy in certain ways, but it’s also crystallized and clear in nature. Hearing Minasi and Tammen rummage around and play with and against one another is a visceral experience. They prove to be an uncompromising pair, capable of creating moody soundscapes, sonic oddities, and raw episodes that cut to the bone.
While each one of these dates speaks in different ways, they all help to form a fuller picture of Dom Minasi’s artistry. He continues to inspire, creating powerful music that appeals to open ears.
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