Time Will Tell
I came to guitarist Dom Minasi's Time Will Tell (CDM) expecting great things. His last album, Goin' Out Again, recorded with his regular trio, including bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Jackson Krall, was one of last year's best. On his latest, Time Will Tell (CDM), Minasi changes direction a bit; instead of the roiling abstraction that characterized the last record, Minasi takes a gentler, more straightahead approach. The album definitely has its moments, in particular a wonderfully arranged and beautifully sung version of "'Round Midnight" featuring Minasi's wife Carol Mennie on vocals. Much of the rest, however, leaves me wishing for a bit of the wild-and-wooliness that makes his work with Filiano and Krall so compelling.
Filiano is present here, and he's his normal superlative self; the man can play anything in any style. Cellist Tomas Ulrich shares the front line with Minasi. Ulrich, a terrific free improviser, is a bit of a fish out of water in this context. Drummer John Bollinger swings nicely but never really asserts himself. The project as a whole seems curiously domesticated compared with Minasi's other work. Granted, it's a conceptual shift, a creative choice: Minasi presenting a blend of his inside and outside selves, showing us he can swing in a conventional manner. It's good in its way, but I prefer his feral side.