Firehouse 12  45 Crown Street  New Haven, CT 06510  203.785.0468

Michael Musillami

electric guitar

Performer's Website

Veteran jazz guitarist/composer Michael Musillami is known to critics as "a superior guitarist" (DownBeat), "one of the more imaginative guitarists in jazz" (Signal to Noise) and "a modern-day jazz master" (Edmonton Journal). They have also noted that his distinctive original compositions "mine not only the fertile vein of classic jazz but the outer reaches of creative music" (Hartford Courant), calling his music "honest, frequently surprising, and consistently exciting" (JazzTimes).

Born and raised in California, Musillami was inspired early on by musicians including Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bill Evans. He studied with renowned guitarist Joe Diorio before moving permanently to the East coast in the early 1980's, working primarily in organ trios led by Richard "Groove" Holmes and Bobby Buster among others.

In addition to paying his dues as a sideman performing with musicians such as Junior Cook, Dewey Redman, and Curtis Fuller, he became a part of the circle of musicians connected to the Hillside Club in Waterbury, Connecticut, including frequent future collaborators Thomas Chapin and Mario Pavone.

In 1999, Musillami founded the Playscape Recordings label to give himself more control over his recording career, and to provide other musicians with a supportive environment for creative music. Built around a cadre of frequent collaborators, the label has garnered extensive critical praise and a catalog of more than 40 diverse releases. "Like Blue Note or CTI in their prime," writes Signal to Noise reviewer John Chacona, "Michael Musillami's Playscape label has a signature sound."

Musillami has led and co-led a variety of ensembles, recording more than a dozen CDs and touring in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Some of his notable ensembles include the "Motion Poetry" quartet and "Pivot" quintet with bassist Mario Pavone, an octet that performs arrangements of Thomas Chapin's music, and his flagship trio featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller.

In 2006, he released Fragile Forms (Playscape), which unveiled his latest ensemble, Michael Musillami's Dialect, featuring pianist Peter Madsen, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Matt Wilson. His most recent release is September 2007's The Treatment, a two-disc set featuring a new studio recording and live concert DVD documenting his trio's ongoing collaboration with violinist Mark Feldman. The group will tour Europe in early February 2008.

Firehouse 12 Performances

Michael Musillami Trio + Kris Davis Friday, October 3, 2014, 10:00p
Michael Musillami Trio + 4 Friday, March 30, 2012, 10:00p
Michael Musillami Trio + 3 Friday, May 22, 2009, 10:00p
Michael Musillami Trio with Mark Feldman Friday, October 5, 2007, 10:00p

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