up in the Boston area, Mill City Trio combines the talents of Anthony
DAnna (drums and percussion), Jamie Dunphy (guitar)
and Greg Passler (guitar and bass). With a sound that is similar,
at least in style, to guitar fusion trendsetters like Pat Metheny
and Kurt Rosenwinkel, the groups 2010 CD Looking Up has
received much praise from critics and fans alike. Guitar fans will
note that Mill City Trio have several other albums in their catalogincluding
Solstice (2006) and Deep Down (2008)but 2010s
Looking Up is a great place to start to discover the jazzy,
atmospheric, guitar based Mill City Trio instrumental sound. The overall
sound of Looking Up is modern mainstream jazz, yet fitting
in on the album, among the electric guitar based tracks, theres
also an intriguing acoustic based cut here called Whirlpool
that features a kind of bolero like Nuevo Flamenco groove that also
holds up quite well after repeated listening. Interestingly, in addition
to their original jazz compositions, at their concerts, Mill City
Trio has also featured revved-up versions of Canarios
by Baroque composer Gaspar Sanz as well as a cover of Overkill
from 80s rock band Men At Work. One of the best guitar-based
instrumental jazz albums of 2010, Looking Up is a worthy musical
mood changer that will have you looking up in no time. www.MillCityTrio.com
MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents
GREG PASSLER AND JAMIE DUNPHY of Mill City Trio
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
Passler: I've been playing for over 25 years. For several years, I
initially studied classical guitar - then as a teen, I also began
to explore rock and jazz with the electric guitar. I explored all
of these styles at music school. Besides guitar, I play electric bass
(I've also been working on upright) as well as some banjo.
Jamie Dunphy: I've been playing guitar since I was about 11 or 12
years old, although I honestly don't ever remember not playing. I've
tried a number of other instruments along the way; in fact, my undergraduate
degree focused on trumpet performance. However, by the time I got
to grad school, I had decided to return my focus to the guitar. I
was lucky enough to study with a fantastic guitarist named Rick Schilling
at UMASS Lowell, and then with legendary jazz guru Charlie Banacos.
I'm currently studying Renaissance lute with Olav Chris Henriksen.
It may be a detriment to my career, but I like so many different styles
of music and want to explore them all!
JD: Our new disc is called Looking Up. This is our
third release and features our usual lineup of Greg, myself, and a
wonderful drummer named Tony D'Anna. The recording was engineered
by Brian Charles at Zippah Studios in Boston. He did a great job capturing
a nice intimate sound, and creating a studio environment that was
conducive to good performances. Our first two CDs were essentially
live recordings, but on this one we allowed ourselves the luxury of
some bass and percussion overdubs. There's even a track, "Whirlpool"
that features Greg and I on nylon-stringed guitars. I think the new
album really showcases the rapport the three of us have developed
over five years of playing together.
GP: My main guitar is a 1980's Fender Bullet that I purchased
a few years ago. The guitar has been customized with a Harmonic Design
Z90 pickup in the neck position and a TV Jones Power Tron pickup in
the bridge. It's an unusual guitar for playing jazz, but I really
like the neck and the sound I get out of it. For bass I use a Fender
Jazz Bass Special. The bass has had it's frets removed (so it's fretless).
I also played upright bass on "Whirlpool" from the CD, we
were going for an all acoustic sound on that track. I like the action
high on all my instruments, I think that helps get a bigger more robust
sound (especially with the bass). For amps I use a Henriksen jazz
amp for both bass and guitar. I also used an old Fender Sidekick Reverb
for the guitar tracks on the CD.
JD: My main guitar is a Washburn J-10 archtop with a Kent Armstrong
floating pickup. I use LaBella flatwound strings and Dunlop nylon
picks; the combination of the two creates a really mellow tone. Right
now I play through a modified Roland Jazz Chorus; an amp maker in
New Hampshire named Phil Bourgelais built a new cherry cabinet for
it, which really warms up the sound.
The guys who initially drew me to jazz guitar were the post-bop guitarists,
Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, and especially Herb Ellis. A really influential
album for me was Dave Douglas' Songs for Wandering Souls, which
features Douglas on trumpet, Brad Shepik on guitar and Jim Black on
drums. This was the recording that convinced me that a trio setting
with drums but no bass could be really effective. The variety of textures
they create on this album is incredible, considering the limited instrumentation.
I like Shepik's playing a lot. Like Greg and I, he's someone playing
contemporary jazz with a classic, clean sound.
GP: Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Ran Blake, Shirley Horn, Bill Evans,
Chet Baker, Duke Ellington. For guitarists: Wes Montgomery, Jimmy
Raney, Lenny Breau, Mike Stern. Some influential recordings would
be: Shape of Jazz To Come (Ornette Coleman), E.S.P.
(Miles Davis), Money Jungle (Duke Ellington) and Sonic Temples
(Ran Blake). I've also studied Indian Music with Prasanna Ramaswamy
and I think his latest recording/collaboration as the Ragabop Trio
GP: We are planning on continuing to promote the CD through
gigs and radio airplay etc. We'd also like to play some jazz festivals.
Our website is www.millcitytrio.com.
Please contact Jamie Dunphy: firstname.lastname@example.org