Zephyr: Michael Musillami Trio
Michael Musillami – guitar, composer
George Schuller – drums, bells
Joe Fonda – bass
1. Loops
2. Pacific School
3. Francesca's Flowers
4. Zephyr's Cove (bass introduction)
5. Zephyr's Cove
6. Environmental Studies
7. Remembering Dawn
Playscape Recordings is proud to release Zephyr(PSR #040115), the latest release from veteran guitarist/composer Michael Musillami with his flagship trio, featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller. Zephyr is the Michael Musillami Trio's eighth release in the group's 13-year history.

Although the finished product culminated in the studio, Zephyr's evolution began as the trio kicked-off a tour in March 2015 with brand new music beginning in Edmonton, Canada and ending in Lafayette, Indiana. From the first track, Loops, a tribute to the late bassist and long time friend Dave Shapiro, Musillami's music continues on a nostalgic path with memories of his childhood in Pacific School, and of family vacations in Lake Tahoe with Zephyr Cove, to the last track Remembering Dawn in memory of his daughter-in-law's mother, Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung. Traveling back from the tour and exhilarant from the enthusiastic response from listeners at every venue, the trio unanimously agreed this new music was ripe for further documentation. "We had rehearsals prior to the tour, but knowing where new music will take us is only ever realized on the bandstand," writes Musillami in his liner notes. "It was such an explosive tour that during the 14-hour drive back to NYC we were all in agreement that we should document this new set as soon as we could get into the studio." The trio's sense of urgency paid off and from the road Musillami booked a session just two weeks away at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT.

Critics have called the group's music "truly original" (Michael G. Nastos, AllMusic.com), "challenging and adventurous" (Bill Beuttler, Boston Globe), "scintillating and provocative" (Bill Milkowski, The Absolute Sound) and "honest, frequently surprising and consistently exciting" (Ron Wynn, JazzTimes). "Working on an almost telepathic level," adds Cadence reviewer Troy Collins, "they have developed an innate familiarity with each other that enables them to second guess abrupt tempo changes and harmonic detours with split second timing. Although the trio certainly doesn't need any help navigating Musillami's compelling tunes, they are occasionally joined by a few guest soloists, always to remarkable effect."

Musillami's career spans more than 30 years and includes extensive work as a performer, bandleader/composer and educator. In addition to his trio, which has performed across Europe and North America and released seven other recordings since 2002, he has earned international acclaim as the leader of groups ranging from duo to octet. When not working with his own bands, he teaches at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and manages Playscape Recordings, the highly regarded independent label he founded in 1999.
Top 10 release of 2015
— Vittorio Lo Conte,
The trio does a great job of creating lush, bluesy waves, from soft elegance to poignant melancholy. There is a certain subdued charm going on here that I find most enchanting.
— Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
As always when it comes to Musillami and its sidemen, this disc is among the best of the year.
— Vittorio LoConte, Musiczoom
It sounds like they think, as well as play, in total sync: the love of staccato melody and complimentary interaction make this trio truly stand out. Their ensemble play is the norm, rather than having the guitar lead with simple timing support from the rhythm section. All selections are Musillami compositions. If you have heard and liked them before, you will want to grab on to this one, as well. If you're not familiar with them, this disc is a terrific place to start!
— Dave Rogers, Tain Radio
This album worked very well there is a quiet confidence that the musicians have in each other and in the music that they are playing that is evident, and they are able to distill their music to a core that needs no adornment but simply is.
— Tim Niland, Jazz and Blues Blogspot
Zephyr shows all the wealth of his [Musillami's] vocabulary; instrumental as well as compositionally. 4 stars ****
— Mario Calvitti, All About Jazz - Italy
Although these musicians sometimes push toward experimentation in their work together, here they seem content to revel in their fine rapport. This proves to be a wise idea.
— Peter Margasak, Downbeat Magazine