Today, Big Gigantic producer/songwriter/saxophonist Dominic Lalli has announced the debut release from his jazz project Dominic Lalli’s Bluebird Quintet, A Blind Man’s Blue, available this Friday, July 10th. The title track is available now for streaming and download everywhere.
Lalli assembled the Bluebird Quintet in 2010 and recorded what would become A Blind Man’s Blue. He was forced to put the record aside because, right at that point, Big Gigantic started to heat up. He poured all of his attention into the group, which slowly but surely became a festival-headlining phenomenon renowned for boundary-busting electronic music and groundbreaking technology. After a handful of Bluebird Quintet gigs in 2018 and 2019, 2020 presented the opportunity to finally finish A Blind Man’s Blue.
“For so long, I had focused all of my energy on Big Gigantic,” Lalli affirms. “I needed time to mix and master A Blind Man’s Blue. Once the pandemic hit, I knew I had to finish it. All I did pre-Big Gigantic was jazz. A lot of that music is part of my lineage. That’s why it’s so important for me to release this now.”
Consisting of three covers and four originals, he initially tracked the project with Eric Gunnison (piano), Bijoux Barbosa (bass), Rudy Royston (drums), and Greg Gisbert (trumpet). On the 10-minute original title track and first single “A Blind Man’s Blue,” Lalli’s performance twists and turns through a smoky soundscape held down by a boisterous bass groove, melodic piano and steady beat.
“I’ve had the name for the past 10 years,” Lalli says. “It makes you ask, ‘What is A Blind Man’s Blue?’ Some of the music represents what it might be: a beautiful struggle. The chords, harmony, and melody illuminate this struggle on the first part before the light opens up on the bridge. You find your own happiness at the end.”
He slightly rearranges and adds his own touch to show tune standard “Golden Earrings” (popularized by Peggy Lee in 1947), and re-harmonizes George Gershwin’s “Love Walked In” with soaring spirit. He also pays tribute to Miles Davis with his rendition of “Joshua.” As far as his compositions go, “Emerald Isles” evokes an understated bliss through instrumental virtuosity. Meanwhile, “Bluebird” takes flight over a drum solo and another saxophone catharsis.
“It goes from dark and mysterious chords in the beginning to a glorious and beautiful conclusion,” Lalli concludes. “There’s a moment of freedom at the end.”