July/August 2001

Michael Musillami
Groove Teacher
Playscape Recordings

On Groove Teacher, Musillami leads a bold, beat-driven septet recorded in December 1994 and first released in 1999. As the third recording of original compositions that began with Archives (1990) and Mar's Bars (1992), this exciting nine-tune set features Chapin (alto sax/flute), Claudio Roditi (trumpet), Ralph Moore (tenor sax), Kent Hewitt (piano), Chip Jackson (bass) and Steve Johns (drums).

A credit to his leadership capabilities, this is a creative team effort and the whole they achieve together, enhanced by solo improvs from Musillami and other fronting musicians (especially Chapin, to whom the album is dedicated), provide stimulating listening. Selections in varied tempos and moods tend to focus on Musillami's writing more than his performing talents. Highlights include two longer pieces: the skirting "Off the Glass" and the stirring spree "Open Ended," but there's plenty of synergistic energy throughout to exhilarate the listener. This outing is everything you'd expect from such high-caliber musicians.

Originally published in July/August 2001
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