bassist Archive

Petros KLAMPANIS, doublebass – Chroma – Motema

Petros KLAMPANIS, doublebass – Chroma – Motema

Petros KLAMPANIS – Chroma – Motema 219, 44: 34 (3/10/17) ***: (Petros Klampanis; bass/ Gilad Hekselman; guitar/ Shai Maestro; piano/ John Hadfield; drums/ Keita Ogawa; percussion/ Gokce Erem, Megan Gould, Eylem Basaldi, Migen Selman; violins/ Carrie Frey, Peter Kiral; violas/ Colin Stokes, Sam Quiggins; cello) Gilad Hekselman shines on original arrangements which involve heavy use of a string octet.  I first encountered bassist Petros Klampanis on an excellent release by Israeli saxophonist, Oded Tzur, reviewed in Audiophile Audition. The pianist on that recording, the versatile Shai Maestro, appears once again on this recording by Klampanis. The key figure here, though, is Gilad Hekselman, the most persuasive Pat Metheny acolyte of his generation and a incomparable soloist in any context. The Israeli-born guitarist has the same combination of velocity and sweetness as Pat, but is perfectly capable of hitting a switch on his box and shredding with vehemence over thick textures as he does on Little Blue Sun. The material of Chroma is mostly composed and arranged by the bassist. The exceptions are a light and funky tune, “Shadows,” and a much extended version of Hekselman’s “Cosmic Patience” from his remarkable record, Homes. The expansiveness of this chart seems to have […]

The Mark MASTERS Ensemble – Blue Skylight – Capri 

The Mark MASTERS Ensemble – Blue Skylight – Capri 

The Mark MASTERS Ensemble – Blue Skylight – Capri 74143-2, 48:33  (2/17/17)  ****½: (Gary Foster; alto sax/ Jerry Pinter; tenor and soprano sax/ Gene Cipriano; tenor sax/ Adam Schroeder; baritone sax/ Ron Stout; trumpet/ Les Benedict; trombone/ Ed Czach; piano/ Putter Smith; doublebass/ Kendall Kay; drums ) Outstanding small concert-band arrangements of Monk and Mulligan compositions played by the American Jazz Institute house band.  Mark Masters is the president of the American Jazz Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting jazz. The Pasadena-based group maintains an orchestra as well, featuring veteran West Coast players. Perhaps their most vital work, though, is related to archiving the rich lore of jazz composition and promoting new works for performance. What we have in this recording is a collection of tunes by Monk and Mulligan, arranged by Mark Masters himself, and performed by an ensemble under his name. In effect these tunes, are newly-realized pieces rather than gussied up standards. However, plenty of the musical character of the original composers comes through as well, even as the charts are reassembled. On the opening track, Monk, Bunk, and Vice Versa, a lesser known Mingus tune, the head is subjected to polyphonic elaboration. It stops just short […]

Blue Canvas – Brandi Disterheft with Harold Mabern & Joe Farnsworth – Justin Time

Blue Canvas – Brandi Disterheft with Harold Mabern & Joe Farnsworth – Justin Time

Blue Canvas – Brandi Disterheft with Harold Mabern & Joe Farnsworth – Justin Time JUST 255-2, 44:55 ****: A smart and expressive release. (Brandi Disterheft – acoustic bass, cello, vocals; Harold Mabern – piano; Joe Farnsworth – drums) Guy Dixon, writing for Canada’s Globe & Mail on July 20,2009, offered the following headline: “It’s 3 AM, and a Canadian bassist is looking for her big break”.  The article went on to describe how Brandi Disterheft was attempting to break into the jazz scene in New York City, after playing in and around Toronto, Canada during the previous decade. Now some eight years on, Disterheft appears to have paid her dues. She has brought together pianist Harold Mabern, one of the few remaining hard bop standouts, along with one of the stalwarts of  New York jazz circles, drummer Joe Farnsworth, to deliver a smart and expressive release entitled Blue Canvas. The recording session is a mix of mostly well-known jazz standards along with several Disterheft originals, all of which demonstrate a certain harmonic expressiveness, that works well in a trio setting. The set opens with a Bobby Timmons/Jon Hendricks’ opus “Dis Here” which has seen its share of interpretations. Mabern takes […]

Richard Pinhas and Barry Cleveland (guitars etc.) – Mu – Cuneiform

Richard Pinhas and Barry Cleveland (guitars etc.) – Mu – Cuneiform

Two iconoclastic guitarists weave together an experimental, improvisational session. Richard Pinhas and Barry Cleveland – Mu – Cuneiform, Rune 426, 48:20 [1/16/17] ****: (Barry Cleveland – producer, mixer, guitar, Moog guitar, bowed guitar, bowhammer guitar, E-Bow guitar, sitar guitar, M-Tron, Vocalizer 1000, kalimba, zither, gong, incidental percussion, percussion programming, samples; Richard Pinhas – guitar, guitar synthesizer, Metatronics; Michael Manring – bass, E-Bow bass; Celso Alberti – drums, electronic drums, percussion) The 48-minute Mu is the first collaboration between French guitar individualist Richard Pinhas and equally inventive San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Barry Cleveland. The four extended tracks form an unpredictable, non-classifiable and arresting combination of progressive rock, art rock, experimental improvisation, instrumental psychedelia and intriguing electronics. For those not in the know, Pinhas has been a key person in experimental music since the early 1970s: in spirit he is France’s version of King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. Cleveland came to some prominence in the ‘80s and ‘90s, working in a number of bands and cross-genre projects. The two friends have played on stage but Mu marks the first time they have gone into a studio together. Rounding out the group is bassist Michael Manring, who was important to the Windham Hill […]

Sidney Bechet – The Grand Master of the Soprano Saxophone – Columbia mono/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Sidney Bechet – The Grand Master of the Soprano Saxophone – Columbia mono/ Pure Pleasure – vinyl

Mono but a fantastic album from the master of the soprano sax, Sidney Bechet. Sidney Bechet – The Grand Master of the Soprano Saxophone – Columbia CL836 mono/ Pure Pleasure Records (11/16) – vinyl *****: (Bechet, soprano sax/ Leonard Ware guitar/ Henry Turner, doublebass/ Zutty Singleton, drums/Dave Bowman, piano/ Ernie Caceres, baritpne sax) There’s a lot of Sidney Bechet out there besides the sides he did for RCA Victor and Blue Note which have been reissued frequently. This vinyl from Columbia combines three separate sessions he made between 1938 and 1947. His strong vibrato on the soprano sax is in full audition thruout this wonderful album. Six of the tracks come from a 1947 quartet with Lloyd Phillips on piano and bassist Pops Foster. Another 1947 session heard here has a sextet led by Bechet’s star pupil, Bob Wilber, along with pianist Dick Wellstood – who would grow to be a major stride interpreter. On “Kansas City Man Blues” Wilber on clarinet switches with Bechet on soprano sax. Never mind that these are just mono – the sonics and playing are terrific! TrackList: A1 Love For Sale Written-By – Cole Porter A2 I Had It, But It’s All Gone Now […]

Frank Kimbrough Trio – Solstice – Pirouet

Frank Kimbrough Trio – Solstice – Pirouet

Frank Kimbrough Trio – Solstice – Pirouet PIT3097, 56:04 (10/7/16) *****: A great piano trio CD from the pianist with the Maria Schneider Orchestra. (Frank Kimbrough; piano / Jay Anderson; bass / Jeff Hirshfield; drums) The first thing I noticed about Frank Kimbrough’s Solstice is that it represents the work of three eminent and distinctive female composers: Annette Peacock (two tunes), Carla Bley, and Maria Schneider, as well as a song from singer Maryanne de Prophetis, long-time collaborator of the pianist. Congruent to the artistic sensibilities of these composers are works by Paul Motian and Andrew Hill and the title track “Solstice” by Mr. Kimbrough himself. Only “Here come the Honey Man” by Gershwin pays tribute to the American Songbook.  Knowing Frank to exemplify a thinking-man’s approach to jazz improvisation, I looked forward to his investigations of these disciplined but emotionally potent composers. His trio consists of Jay Anderson and Jeff Hirschfield, both well-known names in the business. The first track is Carla Bley’s “Seven.” The oddly-shaped melody is introduced with simplicity and a feeling of tentativeness by the piano. It seems an inquiry into the strangeness of the world. The bass joins the discussion but the conundrum does not […]

Cory Weeds Quintet featuring David Hazeltine – It’s Easy To Remember – CellarLive

Cory Weeds Quintet featuring David Hazeltine – It’s Easy To Remember – CellarLive

Cory Weeds Quintet featuring David Hazeltine – It’s Easy To Remember – CellarLive CL031716, 52:58 ****: An enthusiastic session from understanding and open-minded partners. (Cory Weeds – tenor saxophone; David Hazeltine – piano; Joe Magnarelli – trumpet; Paul Gill – acoustic bass; Jason Tiemann – drums) Here comes Cory Weeds. In what surely must be some kind of record for the issuance of albums by a Canadian tenor saxophonist, It’s Easy To Remember is the latest addition to Weeds’ substantial discography. Recorded live at Small’s Jazz Club in New York City on March 17, 2016, Weeds has surrounded himself with some top-notch New York-based musicians including the savvy, thoughtfully tasteful pianist David Hazeltine. In a session songbook of the known, nearly known, and unknown compositions, the band has an eclectic mix of numbers with which to display their inventiveness and curiosity. Starting out with a Kenny Drew piece, “With Prestige,” which has an entertaining bebop frame, the band demonstrates their exploratory spirit. Each member takes a piece of the action with Weeds showing his meaningful command of the saxophone, as Hazeltine delivers some long structural lines on the piano. Bassist Gill also dives in with a brief arco solo. “Smoke […]

Peter Brendler, doublebass – Message in Motion – Positone

Peter Brendler, doublebass – Message in Motion – Positone

Peter Brendler, doublebass – Message in Motion – Positone PR8156, 56:39 (7/15/16) ****: The bass leads the way. (Peter Brendler – doublebass/ Rich Perry – tenor sax /Peter Evans – trumpet /Vinnie Sperrazza – drums /Ben Monder – guitar) It is easy to overlook the bass in a jazz ensemble. It is the least noisy and attention-grabbing instrument. However, its importance can hardly be overstated. As always when I discover a new bassist, I listen in on my Sennheiser 600 headphones with rapt attention to the footfalls of the walking bass, which are a sure path through the music. The quarter-notes are a way of finding the complexities of the harmony. I like to think of the bass – especially in the absence of a chordal instrument– as the brains of the ensemble which thus thinks from the bottom up.  A superior bassist exemplifies Henry David Thoreau’s dictum that “walking is a kind of thinking.” As long as the bass stays on the trail, one cannot get too lost. The CD under review here “Message in Motion” offers a good example of ‘basic’ virtues. The leader of the group, Baltimore-based Peter Brendler, was unknown to me before this debut recording […]

The Girshevich Trio featuring Eddie Gomez – Algorithmic Society – Tapestry

The Girshevich Trio featuring Eddie Gomez – Algorithmic Society – Tapestry

The Girshevich Trio featuring Eddie Gomez – Algorithmic Society – Tapestry 76026-2, 59:34 ***: A release that has coherence of approach and concept. (Vlad Girshevich – piano, synthesizers/ Aleks Girshevich – drums/ Eddie Gomez – acoustic bass) Baroque music is a particular classical style that lasted for a period of 150 years from 1600 to 1750. Its principal feature, tonality, was an approach to writing music in a particular key. Vlad Girshevich writing in the liner notes to Algorithmic Society acknowledges that the underlying framework for some of this musical excursion is the Baroque period. While not necessarily a concept album, there is a central musical construct that is musically identifiable. Of particular interest on this recording is bassist Eddie Gomez. A most compelling accompanist, Gomez spent eleven years with the Bill Evans Trio, starting in 1966 where he filled the long void left by bassist Scott La Faro who died in 1961. His big tone and expressive solos are a singular feature to the compositional work of pianist Vlad Girshevich starting with the opening track: “Healing The Chaos”. Bursting with requisite vigour, the music is supplemented with a string section that adds a tonal depth that is accentuated by […]

Bobby Avey – Inhuman Wilderness – Innervoice Jazz

Bobby Avey – Inhuman Wilderness – Innervoice Jazz

The human condition becomes musically portrayed on pianist Bobby Avey’s latest. Bobby Avey – Inhuman Wilderness [TrackList follows] – Innervoice Jazz IVJ 102, 45:43 [6/24/16] ****: (Bobby Avey – piano, producer; John O’Gallagher – alto saxophone (tracks 2-3, 6, 8); Thomson Kneeland – bass; Jordan Perlson – drums) It may not be readily apparent when listening to pianist Bobby Avey’s fifth album, Inhuman Wilderness, but Avey has produced a record replete with concept, specifically the tragedy of man’s inhumanity to fellow men and also to the world/nature around them. Avey’s eight originals (which range from over nine minutes long to under two minutes) cover topics such as American military drone operations in the Middle East, to the unwritten stories of people who form the fabric of historical events; from the disproportionate costs of gentrification and escalating rents, to the need for societal changes. Since this 45-minute project has no vocals—this is quartet jazz music, not a spoken word or lyric-driven achievement—Avey and his band convey and communicate via musical cues, themes and stimuli. Avey’s eloquence, compassion and occasional indignation can be heard from start to finish, and are brought into focus by his new quartet: bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer […]

Cyrus Chestnut – Natural Essence – HighNote

Cyrus Chestnut – Natural Essence – HighNote

Cyrus Chestnut – Natural Essence – HighNote HCD 7283, 63:10 ****: This is a delightfully invigorating trio session. (Cyrus Chestnut – piano; Buster Williams – bass; Lenny White – drums) Cyrus Chesnut’s musical demeanour is a combination of soulful and probing. In his latest release for HighNote Records entitled Natural Essence, he and his cohorts bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White, confirm that their similar ideas and personality make for a session that the listener will find clearly appealing. The recital’s opening track is the Joe Henderson funkaloo number “Mamacita” on which the band finds a groove that they rock out with brio as each member struts his stuff. Chestnut has always had an affinity with spiritually-based music. His own composition “Faith Amongst The Unknown” falls into this bedrock in a supple yet assertive way. “I Cover The Waterfront” was written in 1933 by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman  and was inspired by the 1932 book of the same name by Max Miller. Since that time, the tune has been covered by many artists including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Chestnut and the trio take the tune at a sprightly pace grounded by the pianist’s impeccable touch. […]

Woody Shaw – Louis Hayes The Tour, Vol. One – HighNote

Woody Shaw – Louis Hayes The Tour, Vol. One – HighNote

Woody Shaw – Louis Hayes The Tour, Vol. One – HighNote HCD7291, 62:56 ****:  This is a standout band doing creative and modern playing. (Woody Shaw – trumpet; Junior Cook – tenor saxophone; Ronnie Mathews – piano; Stafford James – bass; Louis Hayes – drums) Michael J. West, writing a blog for NPR Jazz said the following about Woody Shaw:”….might be jazz trumpet’s least appreciated giant.” If there were any questions about Woody Shaw’s bona fides, they were put to rest in this live recording from the Leiderhalle Mozartsaal, Stuttgart, Germany on March 22, 1976. The co-leader for the session was drummer Louis Hayes who brought along some of his Brooklyn his friends, Junior Cook on tenor sax, pianist Ronnie Mathews and bassist Stafford James, each of whom brings to the outing their post-bop sensibilities. When Woody Shaw was just starting out at eighteen, he wrote what was to become an iconic number “The Moontrane” which was featured on organist Larry Young’s 1965 album Unity. This version is substantially different from other Shaw recordings, as it features an extended improvisation from under-appreciated pianist Mathews, before Shaw embarks on his linear exploration of the number which is filled with energy and […]

Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s – Resonance

Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s – Resonance

Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s – Resonance HCD-2017 86:50 (2 CDs) ****: A consummate jazz vocalist in peak form. (Sarah Vaughan – vocals; Carl Schroeder – piano; Walter Booker – bass; Jimmy Cobb – drums) Patricia Willard, in writing for The Oxford Companion To Jazz Edited by Bill Kirchner, said the following about Sarah Vaughan: “ her voice had the richness, range, power, and control to project operatic arias”. The full panoply of the majesty of Vaughan’s voice is on display in this two-CD release on Resonance Records Sarah Vaughan – Live At Rosy’s. Recorded originally in 1978 at Rosy’s Jazz Club in New Orleans for the NPR Radio weekly syndicated program Jazz Alive! the tapes have never been commercially released. Vaughan, at the time, was 54 years old, and while possibly not in her prime, she still had a commanding voice that could fill a room. Backed by her long-standing trio that included pianist Carl Schroeder, bassist Walter Booker, and the inimitable tasteful drummer Jimmy Cobb, Vaughan’s set of popular and jazz standards were artfully crafted to bring out her vocal range and stylistic artistry. The opening number is a swinging version of “I’ll Remember April” which after […]

Russell Malone, guitar – All About Melody – HighNote

Russell Malone, guitar – All About Melody – HighNote

Russell Malone – All About Melody – HighNote HCD7287, 50:20 ****: Russell Malone is a guitarist of subtlety and conviction. (Russell Malone – guitar; Rick Germanson – piano; Luke Sellick – bass; Willie Jones III – drums) BRussell Malone is a swinging fleet-fingered guitarist with a sentimental streak. The latest studio session from him entitled All About Melody displays his lyricism, and affinity with keeping the melody in the forefront of this no-frills session. Working with his usual cohorts, pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Luke Sellick, and drummer Willie Jones III, the band gives meaning to the whole enterprise that features an eclectic mixture of lesser-known numbers from the jazz and popular music archives. Freddie Hubbard’s “On The Real Side” establishes the band’s bona fides with a solid swinger. Drummer Jones III lays down a beat that gives both Malone and Germanson the freedom to roam at will with tight solos. The late great guitarist Jim Hall was both a friend and paragon of Malone’s. In this vein, he wrote “Message To Jim Hall” and offered a touching voice mail message from him “Message From Jim Hall”. As for the composition, it has a melancholy undercurrent, done in a calm style,with […]

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition – Impulse!

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition – Impulse!

Kenny Barron Trio – Book Of Intuition – Impulse! B0024648-02, 58.23 ****: A master class in taste, swing, and imagination. (Kenny Barron – piano; Kiyoshi Kitagawa – doublebass; Johnathan Blake – drums) Kenny Barron is one of those pianists who is “beyond category” as it relates to taste, swing, and imagination, along with the likes of other now departed luminaries such as Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, and Cedar Walton.  In this latest release entitled Book Of Intuition, Barron uses his own compositional repertoire as the foundation of the session, with a couple of Thelonious Monk’s more obtuse themes, plus a delightful Charlie Haden number. Working with his long time compatriots bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, Barron uses sympathy and understanding from his band-mates to provide an elegant and smart mainstream session. “Magic Dance” sets the pace with a lively swinging Brazilian-styled excursion that has all the elements needed to engage the participants. As the name implies, “Bud Like” has Bud Powell written all over it from the strong single-note lines and blistering pace to the Powell phrasing. Barron takes advantage of Blake’s rhythmic drumming to both “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”. In 2010, the film Another […]

Sonar – Black Light – Cuneiform

Sonar – Black Light – Cuneiform

A Swiss rock instrumental quartet governed by the “less is more” philosophy. Sonar – Black Light [TrackList follows] – Cuneiform, Rune 414, 41:23 [10/16/15] ****1/2: (Stephan Thelen – electric tritone guitar; Bernhard Wagner – electric tritone guitar; Christian Kuntner – electric tritone bass; Manuel Pasquinelli – drums) The Swiss instrumental quartet SONAR (short for SONic ARchitecture) is a group with a mission. This is a guitar ensemble which doesn’t do things representative of guitar-centric collectives. For one, they restrain from six-string spectacles (lengthy solos are not common). For another, they fashion material which has set, nearly mathematical, configurations based on tritones (musical intervals comprised of three adjacent whole tones). Despite compositions which have precise structures, SONAR creates music which has body, soul and spirit: this is music which is detailed for specialized performance, but the musicians (Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner on electric tritone guitars; electric tritone bassist Christian Kuntner; and drummer Manuel Pasquinelli) are open to different ideas and sounds, and they keep events from becoming static. Genres can be confining, but if someone needs to do genre simplification, put SONAR in the post-progressive, post-rock, post-minimal musical vein, alongside musicians such as Swiss keyboardist Nik Bärtsch, Belgian cooperative Present, […]