aec.cdb5637409539.2 12/9/08 New

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    Beijing Playscape

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Review Text Guitarist Michael Musillami runs Massachusetts-based modern jazz label Playscape Recordings. But more importantly, the artist possesses an idiosyncratic style, due in part to his picking techniques and his warmly executed tonalities and both of which he aptly employs on his new album, Beijing.The album title actually refers to the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing, where Musillami derives inspiration, although this effort is firmly rooted within the jazz idiom. With this release, the guitarist leads his trio through a production awash with a sense of intimacy via the artists' close-knit musicianship. They mix it up rather nicely on many of these tracks. As they venture into a few free-form escapades to complement off-kilter blues-based interludes and traditional swing formats. Musillami's artisanship includes a rhythmic and subtly driving methodology, augmented by rapidly executed single note flurries. Moreover, bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller play equally important roles here. Everyone participates, whether it's Schuller's sizzling rim-shots -- emulating a Chinese percussion instrument -- or Fonda's swerving, rock-solid lines. At times, the band simply caresses a tune while also pursuing knotty time signatures and soft balladry. Therefore, you can generally count on Musillami to offer the willing listener something a bit different than the tried and true. This one works, in a quietly prolific sort of way. ~ Glenn Astarita

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Jade Welcoming - 2:38
  2. 2. Beijing - 9:42
  3. 3. Dazu - 1:27
  4. 4. Swedish Fish - 6:38
  5. 5. Fragile Forms - 5:02
  6. 6. Op-Ed - 7:22
  7. 7. Mogao - 1:38
  8. 8. Icons - 4:45
  9. 9. Pivot - 4:12
  10. 10. Present - 4:07
  11. 11. Caterpillar - 2:10

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