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Guitarist Dom Minasi was born March 6, 1943, in New York City, the same birth date as Wes Montgomery. A primarily self-taught, natural musician, in his youth he backed singers and played his share of rock & roll, church dances, and small jazz combo gigs starting at age 15. As an educator, Minasi took many private students at a young age, while launching a professional career with two albums for the Blue Note label in the mid-'70s.
Unfortunately, this was a time when Blue Note was being sold, and the company was not supportive promotionally. Minasi dropped out of the recording scene and freelanced locally for the next 15 years, playing occasionally with jazz pianist Dennis Moorman and going back to school at Lehman College, where he graduated with a degree in composition in 1990. By 1993 he was doing off-Broadway shows, in the midst of writing nearly 300 compositions, working with children in the New York public school system, and preparing for a comeback that would see him reinventing his style improvisationally. Honing extended techniques and advanced harmonic theories, Minasi also found time to write several books on music disciplines, including improvisation, theory, and chord substitutions, and he continued conducting workshops for kids.
In 2000 he was back in full force, producing CDs for CIMP and his independent CDM label in tandem with his wife, vocalist Carol Mennie. Extended works, extrapolations of Duke Ellington's music, and brave, pure improvisational excursions found Minasi a new audience. Some of his collaborators have included Michael Jefry Stevens, Blaise Siwula, Ken Filiano, Joe McPhee, Tomas Ulrich, Steve Swell, Borah Bergman, Perry Robinson, Bryan Olson, Matthew Shipp, Jackson Krall, Jon Hemmersam, and John Bollinger. His book A Singer's Guide to Reading Rhythm was released in 2007, and he has performed at the International Society for Improvised Music conferences in 2006 (Ann Arbor, MI) and 2007 (Evanston, IL). ~ Michael G. Nastos