Dom Minasi Guitar Quartet: Eight Hands, One Mind
Unseen Rain Records, recorded 2019, released 2021. Total time 32.30 minutes. With Dom Minasi, Briggan Krauss, Harvey Valdes, Hans Tammen.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Hans Tammen
Cover painting by Tom Cabrera
Photo of Hans Tammen by Scott Friedlander
Design by Qua’s Eye Graphix
An Unseen Rain Production
All music by Dom Minasi
Dedicated to Bern Nix
In Memory of Bern Nix
I thought about writing for four guitars for a while, but I didn’t want it to be another ordinary jazz record and since I am very much into contemporary 21st Century music, I thought why not go that route?
After I finished writing I thought about who could I use? They have to be able to read and play free form improv. I immediately thought of Hans. We had already recorded together, and he understood the concept. I had been listening to Harvey for a while and I loved the way he played. For guitar one I asked Bern Nix. Bern had played with Ornette and we played together, too.
The group was intact. Just as we were about to have the last rehearsal before recording, Bern passed away. It was a shock to us and the whole jazz community. I put the project on hold for about six months . I asked Hans if he knew someone and he told me about Briggan Krauss. Briggan agreed to come over for a rehearsal and he fit right in. We rehearsed for a while and recorded. What you hear is the result.
Each piece, even though they have names, are like movements. Each movement related to each other that moves forward.
I would like to thank Jack DeSalvo for his confidence in all that I do and letting my music be heard through Unseen Rain Records.
Downtown Music Gllery Newsletter / Bruce Gallanter
The opening piece starts off with layers of angular guitar parts, tightly organized yet still strange sounding nonetheless. Things slowly break into different solos, duos, trios and quartets. It actually sounds as if Mr. Minasi had written for four different versions of himself, since each guitarist adds another shade of what sound like atangled yet tight collective. Layers of interlinked bent chords, as well as odd single note insertions. While one guitarist solos, Minasi adds his own twisted jazz chords as punctuation. The other guitarists also add their own unique/weird chords so that there are several layers of lines all revolving around one another. Although things rarely get too dense, there are so many interconnected fragments all swirling simultaneously that it is a marvel to capture this fleet spirit. When things do approach a more dense level, the heated activity is almost too much to believe yet always settles down into a more relaxed section or conclusion. It sounds as if Mr. Minasi has written some skeletal themes which are interspersed with various layers of focused and free chords from his collaborators. This guitar quartet don’t quite sound like any other quartet that I’ve heard before and I must admit that this is some of the most fascinating music I’ve heard in recent times. Take some time and listen closely to this unique new world. Original Review here.
All About Jazz / Hrayr Attarian 5/2021
Restlessly innovative, guitarist Dom Minasi is a stalwart of the creative music scene. A brilliant improviser and composer, Minasi deftly utilizes his inventive ideas as launching points for his equally exciting extemporizations. On the unique Eight Hands One Mind, Minasi joins three other intrepid guitarists for a fiery and poignant tribute to another trailblazer, the late guitarist Bern Nix. The others in the group are the master of prepared guitar Hans Tammen, the virtuoso Harvey Valdes and the versatile Briggan Krauss who is also an accomplished saxophonist. Together, the four musicians overlap stimulating lines that are often simultaneously dissonant and lyrical. The result is an intriguing and intricate sonic tapestry.
"Sucker's Paradise," for instance, opens contemplatively with a melange of sparse notes and silent pauses punctuated by brief rhythmic vamps. These refrains are themselves quite angular and vibrant. As the piece evolves the ensemble's repartee grows more passionate and delightfully riotous before closing with a return to the dynamic head. Elsewhere, "Misguided Heart" is a cinematic tune with shimmering melodic fragments coalescing into an expansive soundscape. The individual spontaneous expressions grow and expand with measured fury and engaging atonality. A melancholic mood prevails as twangy strums and forlorn pizzicato enhance the theatricality of the exchanges. Similarly "Dancing Rosetta'' has a dramatic ambiance with abstract dialogues contributing to the tension. The performance is peppered with latin hints sometimes, and blistering rocking chords at others. Nocturnesque and ethereal phrases bisect the track, building a Zen serenity. A provocative and haunting interplay of resonant strings echoing one another concludes the album on a high note.
As the title suggests, Eight Hands One Mind is more about the cohesive ensemble sound than individual solos. Yet the individuality of each artist still comes through loud and clear. The inner synergy of the group is manifested in balancing their distinctive styles with the shared musical vision. This intelligent and moving album is an apt homage to the ground-breaking Nix. Original review here.
Jazzis Magazine / Bill Milkowski 4/2021
Dom Minasi’s renegade guitar quartet project blends elements of 21st century composition and wide-open improvisation while showcasing his inimitable approach to the instrument. From highly disciplined, through-composed passages to atonal detours into freedom land, Eight Hands One Mind is as entrancing as it is challenging. Original review here.
Oscar Grroms / O’s Place Jazzmagazine 4/2021
Yes, these four guitarists, Dom Minasi, Hans Tammen, Harvey Valdez and Briggan Krauss, are in unison with Eight Hands, One Mind, and they come together on numerous selections to harness the power of a collective cultural thought process. However, there are times when this crew is definitely multitasking and going in different directions, yet still within the same book. There are six selection in 32 1/2 minutes of edgy guitar interaction.
Original review in O's Place Jazz Magazine.