Posts Tagged ‘Nu Jazz’

Jamsphere Music Review Dream Field – Domino Grey & Donna S

September 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Dream Field album review by Jamsphere

Domino Grey featuring Donna S. – “Dream Field” encapsulates the essence of music itself: creativity, passion, skill!

The album “Dream Field” is the combination of producer Domino Grey and multi-instrumentalist Donna S. The two came together to create music that is Jazz-Hop in spirit. The album which contains 11 tracks includes “A New World” from the Butterfly Affect series which is given new treatment, as Donna S. adds her touch, as well as the bonus “Melody Diagnosis” from the Back In The Black release. This is neither pure jazz nor hardcore hip-hop but rather an extension of the two. In other words, this is quite simply an inspired album. The sax from Donna S is sharp, sexy, lyrical and creative, while Domino Grey is as musical as his ever have been on the boards and keys.

The album cover

“Dream Field” is a real high-water mark in the electronic, hip-hop and jazz instrumental crossover field, one that doesn’t seem under any real threat of being surpassed for a little while. Different themes and tempos come together in this urban quilt of jazz-hop textures to make this one of my favorite Domino Grey albums. If you like a groove, but prefer the kind of sophisticated cool you can play even for your parents over the hard core you only listen to when you’re in full party mode, “Dream Field” is for you.

For whatever reason most jazz-hop albums fail but this one works, and I think it’s because of the sax, which as opposed to voice, has a sweeter, rounder, more inviting sound. Thus being less alienating, no matter which side of jazz-hop, you’re coming from. This blend is at its finest here, being inventive, original and in your face, while showcasing both ‘street-based’ and introspective tunes. The album opener “Stylus Grande” takes fusion to another level with an amazing rhythmic groove and some straight Sax hooks.

Donna S. blowing her horn!

It’s on track 3 – “Magic King”, that Donna S breaks free with some serious phrasing while Domino Grey turns up the sound effects. From there on out, the two turn up the heat and the tempo on “Hold Them Off A Little While”. “Fade Distorts” fuses some intense sax lines with beats, samples, instruments and what sounds like some direct voices talking from the studio, into some eclectic lounge loving jazz.

The formula for the most part works extremely well. Donna S blends really well with these jazz-hop-centered beats. And nowhere does she shine much brighter with some thrusty melodic blowing than on, “Top Floor Moorings”, which runs over a straight driving beat by Domino Grey“A New World” is a more of the same ear candy, but percussively aggrandized with respect to the previous track.

However it’s not the genre-fusion in itself that makes this such a great album; it’s the way in which it is fused that is impressive; “Abstraction Layers” and “Melody Diagnosis” proves the case in point. Domino brings in the most disparate electronic and organic sounds to cook in his musical melting-pot on this album. I don’t think anybody has done a better jazz-hop ‘fusion’ job than this so far. “Dream Field” is a far cry from the nonsense which passes as music in the mainstream culture. This album encapsulates the essence of music itself: creativity, passion, skill – it is amazing, and so are its primary interpreters, Domino Grey and Donna S.


Domino Grey feat Donna S Dream Field Nue-Jazz-Hop album

September 9, 2015 Leave a comment
Dream Field Album Cover

brash brass and bold bass

Dream Field Domino Grey featuring Donna S

       It’s brash brass and bold bass as Domino and Donna frolic in a field of dreams. “New World” from the Butterfly Affect series is given new treatment as Donna S. adds her touch. This album also includes the bonus “Melody Diagnosis” from the Back In The Black release.

She plays the brass, he slays the tracks. It’s the combination of producer Domino Grey and multi-instrumentalist Donna S. They came together to create music that Jazz-Hop in spirit. It’s a Dream Field of sultry, sexy, saxy songs. Enjoy. Album art photography by Marta Bevacqua.

Available on Itunes, Beatport and other sites where fine music is sold.

Track Listing

  1. Stylus Grande   3:23
  2. Should I Tell Her Something?   3:58
  3. Magic King (the Wizard is Out)   4:25
  4. Hold Them Off A Little While 3:26
  5. Fade Distorts 98   1:47
  6. Top Floor Moorings 3:50
  7. New World Feat. Donna S 3:35 [previous version: Butterfly Affect III I of the Beholder]
  8. Oh No She Didn’t     2:21
  9. Abstraction Layers 3:47
  10. Little Girls   3:46
  11. Melody Diagnosis 4:03 [Previous Release: Back In The Black]

miniStori Domino Grey’s Donna Schwartz from Melody Diagnosis Nu Jazz instrumental

September 19, 2011 3 comments

It’s part III of the ongoing series behind the Domino Grey album Back in the Black.

Melo – D

Thus far we’ve touched base with the producer and a vocalist from Domino Grey’s newest musical endeavor, Back in the Black. Now let’s get in tune with ½ of the duo that composed my favorite track on the album, #14 Melody Diagnosis.  She would be none other than high – brass trumpeter, Donna Schwartz

Melody diagnosis isn’t my favorite feature because it is superior to the others, but because it’s unintentionally similar to the works of the late Jun Seba (Nujabes) and extremely well executed ↓

As a long time fan of Seba’s work the nostalgia was refreshing, even more so upon discovering Domino Grey wasn’t aware of who Nujabes was. For more about this collaborative effort keep reading ↓

ministori: Tell us a bit about your musical background and how you came to play so many instruments.

Donna Schwartz: I’ve been playing music since I was 9; I started on trumpet and played classical and jazz since then. I always liked the sound of the sax, so I got some tips from some friends and basically taught myself how to play tenor and alto saxes. I met my mentor, Lou Doboe, a.k.a. Lou Saxon, in my late 20′s, and he helped shape my sound and style.  He passed away from cancer a few years ago-I owe him a lot. I teach elementary instrumental music, so I made sure that I knew how to play all the instruments I teach.It’s important to model good sound, posture, etc. for the students.

ministori: As a musician who usually plays in a band, did you find the transition to a music studio difficult?

Donna Schwartz: I’ve done a little studio work before – one was for a demo DVD, others were for demo CD’s. I played trumpet for a fundraising CD for my church in New Hyde Park (Holy Spirit). I prefer playing live than in a studio – I like for performances to be spontaneous. I like to teach that way too… This studio gig was a little difficult only because it was over 90 degrees outside, and we had to shut off the fans because they were too noisy! The mouthpiece was slipping all over my face!  It was fun though!

ministori: How did you work out your part in Melody Diagnosis? Did you freestyle your performance or write a specific score to play in the studio? How is the creative energy divided?

Donna Schwartz: I played what I felt from the music; I didn’t have anything worked out. I came up with a couple of cool licks and tried to expand on them. 

ministori: How did you decide what elements to contribute to that track? Did you know what you would be performing or was it more of a jam session?

Donna Schwartz: I think more of a jam session. I like interacting with other performers and creating that way. i do like to know the form and where I am coming in, etc.  There are times when I like to work out a line or two that I think will be hot, but this time, we jammed.

ministori: That track has a very jazzy feel. Is that part of your musical history or do you adapt your playing style to the track?

Donna Schwartz: The answer is both. After getting the feel for the tune, some lines came out that were more jazz-oriented.

ministori: Is it true that you have several other songs recorded with Domino Grey and what can we expect from the near future?

Donna Schwartz: We played over a bunch of tracks in that session, so we shall see…

ministori: For electronic music and hip hop in general, musicians seem to have been moved out of the picture beyond their sampled contributions. Do you believe there is a real value in music being created from live playing as opposed to programmed using computers?

Donna Schwartz: I do feel that live playing adds something special to a performance.

ministori: I believe you were called specifically because the horns parts in the original recording were rejected by the label and the track was going to be shelved. Why are horns and brass so difficult to replicate with samples and synthesis?

Donna Schwartz: It’s difficult to replicate the articulation styles brass and wind players are capable of producing. Also, each person has a unique sound that changes in different registers and with different articulations; those aspects can’t be truly replicated through sampling.

ministori: There is a debate between playing by natural instinct and having a formal education in music. Is music theory a necessary key for unlocking creativity or is it a group of rules that restrict the artist’s imagination?

Donna Schwartz: I used to think that you had to be formally educated and that you must read music and have worked through Bach chorales. I think having a passion, working on your craft and developing your ears are more crucial for performance. Reading is great and it helps if you want to be a studio musician or play others’ music, but it is not totally necessary.

ministori: Where can we find more of your music and information on some of the bands you play with?

Donna Schwartz: My previous band was Shades of Blue, where we performed blues and some classic rock tunes. We had some videos out on YouTube under Shades of Blue NY. I currently am performing with Joplin’s Pearl, a Janis Joplin tribute band and rock and roll band. ( or search for Joplin’s Pearl on Facebook) We also perform original rock music by Amber Ferrari, formerly Amber Rose from the dance/techno circuit.

Thanks for interviewing me!  :)

ministori: My pleasure. Thank you for the amazing interview!

READ Part I with Domino Grey


→ To purchase more of Domino Grey’s music check out his iTunes page, thedynamicuniverse, or cdbaby for the physical release. Stay tuned for up coming interviews with the female vocal and musical talent of  the album! ↓