Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Michael Musillami: Zephyr

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Zephyr successfully achieves its modest ambition. Pride, released in 2014, was a two-hour extravaganza that abetted guitarist Michael Musillami’s trio with rugged, notable guests (Kris Davis, Mark Feldman, Jimmy Greene), containing a live disc revitalizing old Musillami numbers and a studio disc that culminates with a four-song suite. By contrast, Zephyr sticks to the longstanding trio of Musillami, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller. For their eighth release in 13 years, they impulsively entered the studio after a short tour in the spring of 2015 and laid down a half-dozen personal but unpretentious Musillami originals.

The trio interplay is spare and spacious, seasoned with Musillami’s compositional imagination but girded with vamps and a slightly funky lilt that is more straightforward than much of his previous output. The disc is framed by remembrances dedicated to his former bassist and friend, Dave Shapiro (the three-way call-and-response “Loops”), and to Dawn Hochsprung, the mother of his son’s wife, who was killed in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, where she was principal (“Remembering Dawn”). A ballad for his daughter, “Francesca’s Flowers,” is a fragile tone poem. “Zephyr Cove” and “Pacific School” are musical meditations on landmarks from his childhood.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published