Friday, April 1
Beat Niq Jazz and Social Club
Alberta-born jazz drummer Sandro Dominelli loves a challenge. From the beginning of his career, he has, as he describes it, done it all.
Throughout his career hes enjoyed his roles as sideman, bandleader, musical-theatre composer, music clinician and adjudicator and more recently he has focused on composition. By taking on these different challenges, Dominelli has pushed himself to improve. "The risk is the growing and it keeps you modest," he says. "It keeps you real and it enhances your overall ability to play, to write (and) to compose the whole aspect of music making. Every time I throw myself in the fire or get out of my comfort zone, I come out a little later and Ive learned something from that."
Moving out of that comfort zone isnt necessarily just an emotional change. Dominellis risk-taking recently took him outside of North America. It started with his involvement with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks research trip for their upcoming performance for Bulla. Literally translated as making a racket or a fuss, Bulla promises to be a spectacular hybrid of music and movement with more than 20 dancers and several guests from Cuba.
"They (Decidedly Jazz) took me to Cuba in November, for the beginning of this mass production theyre putting together," he says. This trip was life-changing for Dominelli and it wasnt just the Cuban music it was Cuban life that touched him. "It aint about grabbing the money and getting rich and getting richer. It aint about political movements. It aint about hockey or soccer or any sports for that matter," he says.
Of course the music had an impact, too, especially the famous rumba clave, the trademark rhythm of Cuba. "Its a folkloric rhythm that youll see bands will play. Even in 15-piece bands you always have somebody playing that rhythm," he says. "That rhumba clave starts at six in the morning and stops at about two in the morning." In Cuba, the music is quite literally everywhere. With people dancing in the streets, its almost contagious. "Its out of control," says Dominelli. "Its like nothing that we could ever see happening in North America. Its something that really changed my life."
Dominelli is not alone. About a dozen Alberta musicians including Caravans John Reid and bassman Kodi Hutchinson have become regulars at the Havana jazz festival in the last few years. "I mean that place is just electric," says Dominelli. "The vibe, man, is so thick."
That vibe has certainly had an effect on Dominellis compositions. While the results of his travels may not be as apparent on his latest album, Meet Me in the Alley, they will come to the fore with the music he helped create with Chris Andrews for Bulla.
"Im much more educated," he says. "Even though Ive played and fooled around with some Cuban rhythms for the last 20 years, Im now more familiar with what is what and how its supposed to sound."
Bulla will be opening in Calgary in June and Dominelli is looking forward to the music from Bulla being recorded. He promises that it will be amazing.
"I tell ya, its a band that will have played together for two and a half or three months, and then theyre gonna go in the studio and the compositions will be happenin," says Dominelli. "Its gonna be smokin, like the Cuban element the real McCoy."