Dom Minasi's Guitar Hang


Welcome to Dom Minasi's Guitar Hang

For this month's choices we have five incredible guitarists, all special in their own way. Let me introduce you to: Dan Wilson, Tim Mirth, Cecil Alexander, Dave Askren and Larry Corban.


Dan Wilson

Growing up in Akron, Ohio, Dan Wilson spent the majority of his youth within the church community, where his musical path began. His musical identity has been shaped by everything from gospel and blues to traditional jazz, hip-hop, and horn players like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson.

After graduating from Hiram College, Wilson made his recording debut with pianist Joe McBride and performed to worldwide acclaim with Joey DeFrancesco and Christian McBride’s Tip City, eventually recording his debut as a leader To Whom It May Concern. Wilson has been honored to share the stage with jazz greats including Eric Marienthal, Russell Malone, Les McCann, René Marie, Jeff Hamilton, David Sanborn, and Dave Stryker. He also teaches jazz guitar and music theory through private lessons. 

Wilson’s career took him on an exploratory journey into foundations laid down by the guitar/organ tradition, eventually leading to an invitation to perform with jazz great Joey DeFrancesco’s trio quartet, with which Wilson went on to earn a GRAMMY® Award nomination for DeFrancesco’s Project Freedom album (Mack Avenue Records, 2017). This collaboration allowed the guitarist to insert his dialect into the musical prowess and respect that DeFrancesco had earned throughout his journey.

Wilson had been playing with DeFrancesco for a few years when he met bassist, composer, and arranger, Christian McBride. From there, Wilson went on to tour with McBride’s trio Tip City, eventually leading McBride to serve as a producer on "Vessels of Wood and Earth" and release the album on his newly formed imprint Brother Mister Productions through Mack Avenue Music Group. 

To learn more about Dan, visit his website:

DM: How long are you playing?

DW: I’ve been playing guitar for 24 years now. I started at the 1998 church summer camp. There were so many amazing guitar players in that particular church, and they were all into Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson. I started gigging at 19 and went to undergrad at Hiram College and grad school at Youngstown State University.

DM:: Why Jazz

DW:Jazz was a natural next step from the church music that I was already playing. Many of the devotional songs were nearly identical to a jazz blues. The standard blues form is 12 bars, but many of the gospel devotional songs such as “Since I Laid My Burdens Down” are 16 bars. When I heard Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith playing “Down By The Riverside,” I remember thinking it was just church music with more chords. Ironically, I used to get in trouble for playing Wes Montgomery stuff in church.

DM: Who are your major influences?

DW: I’d have start with some church guys you probably never heard of. Fred Dryer and Isaac Fontaine were playing like Grant Green in church the 50’s. That paved the way for Arthur Lee Gale, my first guitar hero. He revolutionized the way guitar was played in our church. I was obsessed with his playing. After Arthur Gale, there was a whole new generation of guitarist that came along in the 70s and 80s. Guys like Israel Sims, Tony Gray, and George Sims, Ray & Mark Green. The generation after that, brought along guys like Gary Waugh. I’ve never seen a more naturally gifted guitarist than Gary. It’s like the instrument was made for his brain. Martin Summers, James Davis, John Davenport, and many others. The influence of all of these guitarists helped me form an identity.  Wes was my first jazz influence, but I really gravitated to Joe Pass when I was about 16-17. Charlie Christian was a big one, because many of my church heroes were into his playing. When I heard George Benson, that was a wrap. I had never heard guitar mastery quite like that, and I haven’t heard anything that has resonated with me like that since.

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics in jazz?

DW: I love them. They’re just another tool for musicians. If the musicality is there, I don’t care what tools are being used. It’s going to sound good.

DM:  Where do you think Jazz is Headed?

 DW: Jazz has always had strong roots and long branches, so I think the sky is the limit. I’m musicians from every corner of the world bring their unique cultural and personal identities to the music, and it’s very inspiring. I think it’s important to remember that was, is, and always will be African-American music, but it’s for everyone.  

Tim Mirth 

Cleveland-based guitarist and composer Tim Mirth is an adventurous artist constantly seeking to create, explore, and bring energy into the world. With a seemingly limitless variety of output, it’s the deep love of jazz music and spirit that drives all his various projects. Studying classical and jazz in college and with great musicians such as Steve Adelson, Steve Aron, Jack Schantz, Rodney Jones, Peter Mazza, Bob Fraser, and Chris Crocco, Tim is constantly looking to refine his craft. It's the reaching and seeking from artists like Coltrane, Rosenwinkel, Mingus, and Dolphy that Tim constantly strives to reach, even learning other instruments from as viola to widen his perspectives.

Tim has performed through the Eastern US and Europe with a variety of groups such as Night Terrors, Stellar Regions, Red Side Visible, and the Tim Mirth trio. He’s been involved in releasing over 10 albums, including some recent recorded projects like Mirth Co-Liberation’s Wayne Shorter Tribute, Red Side Visible’s “A Break from Normality” adventurous odd-time jazz metal, and Night Terrors’ “Hear Again?” free jazz/through-composed madness. Next to release is a live record from modern jazz fusion band Stellar Region.

To learn more about Tim, visit his website

DM: How long are you playing?

TM: I started playing guitar in 1991. I remember sneaking up into the attic, finding my dad's Gretsch Corvette, and beginning to mess with it. I had no idea how guitar worked, but then after tinkering figured out that fretting the instrument changed the pitch on the instrument. I fumbled together "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and was hooked and never put it down since. 

For the first 7 years or so I was self-taught, but always learning stuff off of records and guitar magazines. This was the early 90s, so grunge had just hit, and started making bands over the next couple of years, and playing shows. I recall taping stuff off of the radio and just trying to figure out any songs I could. I also was a student of music itself, and always remember thinking reading and theory were important, even when we couldn't afford lessons. Over the years I have been fortunate to study with some great musicians, not just guitarists, but studying composition, arranging, piano, and more. Including studying music in college, plus living in NYC for 5 years. Not to mention performing with great musicians is always a learning experience. 

DM: Why Jazz?

TM: A few significant events happened that sparked my attention to jazz. One time, in particular, my dad was recommended to check out John Coltrane. My dad bought the "African Brass Sessions", and needless to say, it floored him, but not only him, it floored me too. There was something there that just hit me right in the soul. Still does. I was 16 at the time.
From then on I knew I had to learn more about it.
It's kind of funny in a way, my path towards jazz had almost nothing to do with the guitar, or any instrument really, but it was through the likes of Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Mingus, and Louis Armstrong that I really got hooked. And it's much the same today.

 Though the harmonic stuff is fascinating in jazz, it's the message of freedom and history with jazz that really appeals to me. I can't think of another musical form that so plainly expresses the human spirit. The human spirit and life is always changing and evolving and I feel jazz expresses those highs and lows in real-time. It's sort of hard to explain in words, but those that have experienced it, relinquished themselves to it, can't deny it.

DM: Who are your major influences?

TM: I've mentioned quite a few, but over the years it has massively expanded. On the guitar front, I'm am constantly amazed with so many musicians, it's truly an instrument that seems to express many personalities. Some of the ones I have gravitated to over the years are: Wes Montgomery, John McLaughlin, Grant Green, Lenny Breau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Allan Holdsworth, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Hedges, Danny Gatton, Ted Greene, Wayne Krantz, Stanley Jordan, Steve Vai,  and so many more. 

On the non-guitarist front, I'm enamored with Coltrane, Dolphy, Shorter, Mingus, Monk, Jarrett, Melhdau, Carlock, Herbie, Hubbard, Davis, Bird, McCoy, Brandford, and others we know by one name alone.

From the compositional standpoint, some favorites include Shostakovich, Shorter, Mingus, Bartok, Rosenwinkel, Liszt, Bach, Zappa, Mike Patton, and many others I'm forgetting right now. 

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics in jazz?

TM: Well, as someone who has used it a lot, I guess you could say I'm good with it. Though I don't know if was turning 40 or not, I've been gravitating more and more toward acoustic sounds these days. But back to the question of whether I think it is acceptable or not, I find it kind of a funny question as a guitarist, because we basically have to use electronics, or no one hears us. For us, our instrument is never just a guitar, it's always a guitar, cable, and amp, that at a minimum make our sound. So much so, that we even tweak the EQ, the gain, the pickup heights, etc... We have no way around it. Acoustically guitar is just not loud enough to keep up with basically any other instrument. So we deal. 

But if we dig deeper into effects and whatnot, I feel like this is a long-established practice in jazz, well over 60 years at this point.  It's not whether it's ok or not, electronics ARE part of jazz. 

DM:  Where do you think Jazz is Headed?

TM: This is a very interesting question. This may have always been true, but there are a lot of different, let's call them, forces happening. A couple that comes to mind is:

1) The Traditionalists - Certainly, Wynton is famous for this approach, but I think there is a large crop of players coming out today too, fairly young, that are more or less treating jazz as a historical piece. Much like classical players. I think this is great, and there are a fair number of extraordinarily talented players in this "force". I expect it to keep growing over the years, and you might even say this is now the most dominant force in jazz, particularly with universities and like (and fewer gigs to experiment). 

2) The Modern Traditionalists - I see this more as the group of people playing jazz, more or less in a post-Be-Bop style. So practically from the 60s onward. Also, this group is looking less to innovate, but more or less to repeat what was already done well. This is also an extremely impressive group of musicians. There was a lot of great music in these eras, and it's nice to see it being preserved. This "force" is nearly as dominant as traditionalists. 

3) The Seekers - of course, this is generally the outcasts. Often questioned if what they do is even jazz. The ones that are bridging gaps between genres, see jazz as more than tradition. What seems to happen with this group is they create the traditions that later get followed, but often in obscurity. However, there are some that have reached really successful states. For what it's worth, in my opinion, the best of this group are trained in the traditions but choose to express themselves differently. 

I suppose I laid this out, just to say I think jazz will always have a future because while it has its ups and downs in terms of popularity, as I mentioned above, it expresses the human spirit in a way that is hard to express any other way and through many avenues. This will keep it in the spirit of man forever if nothing else. 

I guess, one last point on the business side of jazz. In my opinion, it's never really been the complexity of jazz that has turned of the larger audience, but more of a delivery/messaging that makes it difficult. If we look at the movie and TV industry, the most popular and successful outputs are some of the most complex stories and narratives .and, let's face most over the top. Complexity doesn't scare the layperson away, marketing does. One day someone will figure it out. I believe it

Cecil Alexander

 Cecil Alexander is a guitarist, composer, and arranger from Muskegon, MI. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2016 with a B.M. in Jazz Composition. He is a recent graduate (2019) of the Jazz Performance M.M. program at William Paterson University. Cecil was the 1st place winner of the 2017 Wilson Center Jazz Guitar Competition and the 2018 Lee Ritenour Six String Theory Competition. As of recently, Cecil was one of 3 finalists in the 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition. Cecil has recorded/performed with Bill Charlap, Antonio Hart, Lee Pearson, Luis Perdomo, Nathan East, and Steve LaSpina. Some of his greatest influences include Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Grant Green, and Miles Davis. As of Fall 2021, Cecil started a teaching position at Berklee College of Music as an Assistant Professor of Guitar. Cecil recently was recently signed to Heartcore Records, a Berlin-based label founded by legendary guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. Cecil’s debut album with Heartcore, Introducing Cecil Alexander, will be released on September 23rd, 2022.
For more information about Cecil visit his website:
CA: I’ve been playing for 19 or 20 years. I started when I was 8, inspired in part by the movie Back to the Future where Marty McFly plays “Johnny B. Goode.” My parents were also big music fans and were very encouraging of me wanting to pick up an instrument. I took lessons for 2 years, stopped out of frustration (I didn’t understand that you have to practice), and picked it up again at 12 after hearing Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. I learned songs and solos off of records by Hendrix, Albert King, and Buddy Guy, and took lessons on and off. Towards the end of high school I went to a summer program at Berklee College of Music and took lessons with a great teacher named Curt Shumate, who hipped me to Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, and Kenny Burrell. I was primarily a blues focused player at the time and Curt gave me all the right jazz guitarists to check out- they provided a digestible entry point for me. I went home after that program set on getting the Jazz thing together and started transcribing, listening, and playing a lot with people in my hometown. I later went to Berklee for my Bachelor’s, where I studied some more with Curt, as well as David Gilmore, Thaddeus Hogarth, and David Tronzo. 

After Berklee, I went to William Paterson University for my Master’s, where I got to study with Gene Bertoncini, Aaron Goldberg, Bill Charlap, Harold Mabern, Rich Perry, Steve LaSpina, and Bill Goodwin. This was a really crucial point in my development, as many of my professors were kind enough to take me on for playing opportunities around New York and New Jersey- I learned a lot just by getting to share the bandstand with them. 

DM: Why Jazz?

CA: I love studying the lineage of music. Being able to hear traces of Louis Armstrong and Lester Young in Charlie Parker, and being able to hear how Charlie Parker influenced every major instrumentalist after him- Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane- it’s a really beautiful history. All of these people loved this music so much and banded together to create a deep, folkloric art form.

I also love the freedom afforded by improvisation. Obviously, there’s improvisation in other styles, but having a shared language with other musicians that are informed by this tradition is so satisfying. A good example is playing with a great rhythm section and having them be able to predict certain things you’re going to do rhythmically/melodically/harmonically because you all know the same records. 

DM: Who are your major influences?

CA: Charlie Parker is my favorite musician of all time. I’ve gotten so much inspiration from listening to him and transcribing solos of his. I also love Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Dorham, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Joe Henderson, Wes Montgomery, Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Smith, Ornette Coleman, and George Benson. I’m probably missing quite a few, but these are some of the artists that I never get tired of listening to because I’m always able to hear new things in their playing/composing. Outside of the “Jazz” umbrella, I also love Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Grover Washington, Gerald Albright, David Sanborn, and a host of other more contemporary artists- that’s a lot of the music I grew up listening to with my parents. 

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics in Jazz?

CA: I think it’s super hip. It’s only inevitable that things like effects pedals, drum programming/sequencing, etc.. would be introduced into the music as the years go by. Personally, it’s not something that I hear naturally as a part of my sound (maybe that'll change, I can't say), but I like to hear it in other people’s music. I like how Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Brad Mehldau have made it such a natural part of their playing and composing. 

DM: Where do you think Jazz is headed?

 CA: I don’t think it’s for me to say. I’d like to think that whatever the newest popular music trends are will keep making their way into jazz, like what’s being done with the fusion of jazz and hip hop/trap/r&b/etc. It’s all good to me, I’m excited to see where the music .goes.

 Dave Askren

Dave Askren has performed with a variety of jazz/Latin jazz/instrumental artists, including Bob Moses, Antonio Hart, Delfeayo Marsalis, Hendrik Muerkins, Stuart Hamm, Bruce Arnold, Bobby Shew, "Rhubumba", Sal Cracchiolo, Jimmy Branly, Joey DeLeon Jr, David King and Reid Anderson (The Bad Plus), Norman David, Ben Schacter, Gray Sargent, Kevin Eubanks, Gary Foster, Tony Rizzi's "Wire Choir" with Pete Christlieb; Mike Vax, as well as commercial recording artists including Marilyn McCoo, Latoya Jackson, Linda Hopkins, Little Anthony, The Coasters, The Platters, The Diamonds, The Drifters, The Marvelettes, Brenton Wood, Dato Shake, Kenny Hamber.

For more info about Dave, visit his websi

DM: How long are you playing? 

DA: Well, I’m over 60, so we’ll use that for the historical baseline… When I was around 12ish, I was playing clarinet in school and private lessons, I got ahold of some old acoustic guitar w 2-3 strings on it. I just tuned it by ear and played stuff sliding up and down, fingered notes against open strings. I like to joke that I was playing like “The Edge” before he was!

By age 14-15 I was playing in rock/blues/R&B bands - on sax. But I wanted to ROCK like the guitar players, and I thought I could play as well as them, so I switched over. Pro gigs ensued - school dances, pool parties, etc - we even had an agent, and we had to have our MOMs drive us to gigs before age 16! Once we had our driver’s licenses, we worked even more.

Started listening to  jazz (next section) so took some lessons.  One guy showed me my first “chord solo” - a simple version of Misty. Then I got with great Dayton Ohio guitarist Jason Hollinger who had me work on my technique. After High School, it seemed like my gigs were only OK, mostly pop/rock/R&B, etc, but the musicians weren’t that serious - I needed to move on. My dad said “What’s that Berklee you’ve been talking about? If you’re actually going to take music seriously, you should go to COLLEGE!” But that was easier said than done. He couldn’t pay for the whole thing, so he made a deal - If I pay HALF (first year in advance), he’ll handle the rest. So I bucked down, saved my meager $$ from gigs, pumping gas, and working at restaurants, and at the age 20, I was off to Boston! Changed my whole life!

My butt was kicked immediately at Berklee. The old-school teachers didn’t mess around ."get your s*** together, or “call your mommy to come and get you!” This was the late 70’s. Anyway, I kept playing, studied with great teachers at Berklee, and also some non-Berklee Boston legends - Jerry Bergonzi, Charlie Banacos, Mick Goodrick (his pre-Berklee days), etc. Not long after leaving school, I was still around town gigging, and one of my great teachers (and friends) Al Defino, called me and said “call Leavitt asap Dave”. I had also studied with Bill my last year there, to get the inside track on the “Modern Method for Guitar” books - from the actual author! So I was hired to teach at Berklee. It was nice hanging with that great guitar faculty who had been my mentors earlier. But, being a short-sighted youngster that I still was, I started thinking: “Damn, I’m still young and haven’t done what I want to with my own career yet, and now I’m just stuck helping students with THEIR careers!”. So I quit and moved to LA w my girlfriend (a LA native) for gigs. I played all kinds of music, some touring, but in recent years got mostly back to my straight-ahead jazz roots and teaching gigs.

DM: Why Jazz

A: Coming out of HighSchool in the late ’70s, the "fusion” era, that was easy. Playing rock/blues /R&B, but hearing Miles (Jack Johnson etc), Chick (Hymn of the 7th Galaxy, then Light as a feather), Mahavishnu, etc - It was a done deal. But my fusion phase was short-lived. (although I would revisit it for a minute in late 80's Boston and early 90's LA). I also heard and saw live George Benson and Pat Martino in the late 70s. I was especially drawn to that sound/style. And I have to give credit to my DRUMMER friends exposing me to jazz. It makes sense. If you play rock drums and hear Elvin Jones, Buddy Rich, etc., it’s the exact same SOUNDING instrument, just some guys kicking A** more than the rockers! In contrast with guitar players who may be used to a Hendrix etc, rock SOUND, the old-school texture of guys like Burrell, Wes, etc, is just so different that it takes time to appreciate. Pretty soon I heard "Four and More" under the right circumstances, end of the story. Anyway, by the time I was 20,  and heading to Berklee, I was all in!

DM: Who are your major influences?

DA: For guitar - Benson, Martino, Wes, Hall, Burrell, Bickert, Pass, Breau (he totally messed me up for a while!), Scofield, Frisell, Goodrick (although Hendrix, Carlton, McLaughlin, etc,  and blues players are still in there)

But for jazz in general,I'm ALL ABOUT Miles. His personal playing, and most of the guys that played with him (and Bird too) - especially the great 50's-60's quintets, (all THREE of them!) but also 80's for a minute. (I was at the '81 KIX concert and that "We Want Miles" group was amazing)

The piano players, were Evans, Herbie, Wynton, and  Red Garland.  Saxes, Trane, Wayne, Cannonball, Dexter, George, Hank Mobley. Trumpets, Miles, Freddie, Clifford.

And the great basses and drummers from the above groups - paid a lot of attention to them as well.

I'm not just naming big names. Everyone I mentioned (and more) has been a big influence, and I have transcribed and/or studied their playing deeply, for years.

I also should mention that in my young adult formative years, being in Boston, the great musicians in that scene also had a lifelong influence on me: Garzone, Bergonzi, drummers Bob Gullotti and Bob Moses, etc.

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics in jazz?

DA: Of course, we do play "electric" guitars! But regarding “effects”, I'm fine with it.  I was way into Frisell. Saw him many times in Boston in his early days, when he was so innovative.  EVERYBODY wanted him in their bands! So I was doing that effects vibe for a while. During the late 80s, and early 90's I played a lot of gigs that way and even did some recording. Unfortunately,y those records are not commercially available.  Dave King and Reid Anderson,  (pre "Bad Plus”). I used plenty of effects playing pop and fusion music. It seems like a lot of "jazz" guitarists, even great players, who made their careers back in that era, still use the same electronic textures and, it sounds dated to me. Even Frisell and Scofield  (and late Abercrombie) got tired of that "swirly, wet stuff”,( their own words...) and they use way fewer effect sounds in recent years. 

 Nowadays, it seems like every young guitar player, playing straight-ahead jazz, must have a pedal-board! Ha-Ha! In recent years the electronics that I have spent a lot of time working on, (seriously) are my amps/speakers, guitars/pickups!

Question:  Where do you think Jazz is Headed?

DA: Well, that probably would bring up the topic "What is the definition of jazz?" - but let's avoid that can of worms!

Like it or not, "jazz", a century after it's early development, has become an established "art form” that will continue to exist in various forms. Different players will present it as it was played in various eras - Dixieland, Swing, Be-bop, Post-bop, avant-garde/free, fusion, etc. and I'm fine with that. Some other players will like to "push the envelope”, like the original innovators did, trying to experiment by playing in new ways, combining the old styles with different world music, pop, etc. and I'm good with that too. I think it can all exist together and some form of "jazz" will live on.


Larry Corban
Larry Corban is a New Jersey jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader with 5 CDs out as a bandleader. His rhythm section of choice is the Aperturistic Trio (pianist James Weidman, bassist Harvie S, drummer Steve Williams). Alto saxophonist, Steve Slagle, guested for 3 cuts on his fourth cd, Corban Nation. Corban Nation was on Jazzweek: 20 weeks on the Top 100, peaking at #18 overall; CMJ Jazz Chart: 7 weeks on Top 40, peaking at #4 overall, and RMR Jazz Chart: 19 weeks on Top 50, peaking at #1 overall. His most recent and fifth cd, Emergence, is coming out on April 26, 2019. On his fifth recording as a leader and third with the Aperturistic Trio, Larry wields his burgundy Gibson L-5 with a blend of unabashed swing on uptempo burners and tender lyricism on relaxed ballads. This time out the core quartet is augmented by tenor sax titan, Jerry Bergonzi, who elevates the proceedings with ferocious blowing on four tunes. The music is on the cusp of straight-ahead jazz in the present moment with an intentional nod toward the mid 60's Blue Note era. 
Larry has had extensive experience working with some of the world's greatest musicians! He has played, performed and/or recorded with Jerry Bergonzi, James Weidman, Harvie S, Steve Williams, Steve Slagle, Omer Avital, Avishai Cohen, Buddy Williams, Sylvia Cuenca, Essiet Okon Essiet, Ron Affif, Ralph Peterson Jr., Vic Juris, Oz Noy, and Wayne Krantz. He has subbed the guitar chairs at School of Rock, Motown the Musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Mary Poppins, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and Big Apple Circus. Larry holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Ithaca College and has studied privately with Pat Martino, Wayne Krantz, Joanne Brackeen, Jack Wilkins, Vic Juris, David Fuze Fiuczynski, Mick Goodrick, Steve Brown, and Rick Beato.
To learn more about Larry, visit his website:

DM: How long are you playing?  

LC: I started playing guitar at 11 years old. Hearing The Beatles,  Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen drew me to music. When I started taking lessons at the local music school, my main interests were blues rock, classic rock, and hard rock as played by Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, and Eddie Van Halen. 
When I went to the Berklee School of Music 5-Week Summer Session at 15, I discovered jazz fusion and players like Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Mick Goodrick. I was exposed for the first time at Berklee to Weather Report, Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. 
I graduated with a  Bachelor of Jazz Studies from Ithaca College where I studied with Steve Brown and Rick Beato. By then, I was listening to more straight-ahead jazz in school and discovered players like Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, Ed Bickert, and Jimmy Rainey along with horn and piano players like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
Upon moving to New York City, I studied privately with Vic Juris, Wayne Krantz, Joanne Brackeen, and Dave Fiuczynski. 

DM: Why Jazz? 

LC: I was always drawn to improvisation and jazz puts improvisation as the centerpiece of the art form. The idea of creating a band sound based on listening to each other at the moment has always intrigued me. I was interested in learning the American Songbook but also love to compose. I found through writing tunes that one’s playing naturally changes based on the context they present themselves in. This process of finding different contexts for one’s playing is definitely more of a journey of self-discovery to an end result.

DM: Who are your major influences?

LC: When I first started playing my main influences were coming from blues rock, classic rock, and hard rock. I liked Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, and Eddie Van Halen. After going to the Berklee Summer Program and getting into jazz fusion, I started listening to Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Mick Goodrick. I couldn’t get enough of Weather Report, Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. When I got my Bachelors in Jazz Studies at Ithaca College, I got more into straight-ahead jazz and started listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, Ed Bickert, and Jimmy Rainey. I also became interested in listening to horn players and pianists like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

DM: How do you feel about the use of electronics in jazz?
LC: It’s contextually driven. My guitar and amp preference in a straight-ahead jazz playing situation is a Gibson L-5 1978 CES Series direct into an Acoustic Image CLRS-1 head running through a Leonardo Cabinet with a 10” speaker. If the context changes to more of a rock or funk sound, I’ll be more inclined to use a solid-body guitar like a Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster, or Fender Telecaster with a distortion, boost, delay, chorus, phase through a Mesa Boogie Transatlantic TA-15 amp. My pedalboard consists of an OCD Distortion, an RC Booster, an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay, an Arion Stereo Chorus, and an MXR Phaser. 

DM:  Where do you think jazz is headed?

LC: Jazz will evolve by either continuing to maintain its classic straight ahead form or by fusing different styles in new and original ways. As Thelonius Monk stated: “When you’re swingin’, swing so more!” “Play in such a way as to make the drummer sound good!” Traditionally speaking it’s all about swingin’.
Since Jazz can have such a wide panoramic view musically, the fusing of different styles musically is still an ongoing journey of discovery.

I want to thank all the participants for their talent, and giving us wonderful insights into  their lives and careers
Dom Minasi







  1. Dom Minasi - This is a fantastic webpage you've got going. I hope there'll be a lot more!!


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