Adam Blackstone: Bass Benefactor

Blackstone’s “Little Drummer Boy,” plus excerpts of other songs from his Legacy albums

Adam Blackstone: Bass Benefactor

Blackstone’s “Little Drummer Boy,” plus excerpts of other songs from his Legacy albums

There aren’t many musicians whose 2024 started off with the following engagements: Saturday Night Live (with Justin Timberlake), the Grammys, the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, and The Recording Academy Honors. But we live in the age of Adam Blackstone, who has parlayed his serious groove and musicianship and easy-going, respectful demeanor into his present role as the most in-demand musical director on the planet. As if that isn’t schedule-stuffing enough, Blackstone also found time to record three solo albums within 13 months: Legacy [2022], The Legacy Experience (Live)[2023], and A Legacy Christmas [2023], all on his BASSic Black Entertainment label. The three sides are reflective of Adam’s career: expansive in musical styles — from gospel to rap to big band swing — with a wide array of guests, inluding Jill Scott, Kirk Franklin, Queen Latifah, Robert Glasper, Andra Day, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Keke Palmer, and John Scofield. Best of all for us on the bottom is that Blackstone included several bass features that bring to mind the breadth of Marcus Miller with regard to fingerboard expression, use of multiple basses, radical reharms, and astute production, orchestration, and arranging. “The genesis was going through the pandemic,” explains the Willingboro, New Jersey-raised bassist. “I lost a cousin and a couple of friends. After attending their services, I wanted to do something to mark their lives and accomplishments, and that got me thinking about my own career. I’ve worked with many great artists, but what did I have of my own to leave for my children? So I buckled down and got to work on Legacy.” He continues, “I didn’t plan any bass features; it sort of ended up that way. I just wanted to create a good body of work. Of course, as a solo artist people were probably expecting me to showcase the bass somewhat because it’s my main instrument. But I also play other instruments, compose, produce, and arrange, so I wanted to present those gifts, as well.” https://open.spotify.com/album/3nHbEmj9rc6mvJSAm1RXDm Three of the tracks with front-facing bass are “Lost,” from Legacy, and “Away in a Manger” and “Little Drummer Boy” from A Legacy Christmas. Let’s take a closer look. Adam relates the “Lost” backstory: “‘Lost’ came about through [keyboardist] Khirye Tyler, who is now Beyonce’s musical director. We had done some writing together in the pop world, and he sent me a folder of ideas for my record. One had this great, angular melody, but the structure wasn’t fleshed out. I could hear the finished product in my head, but it was a challenge to get there. I brought in three or four different drummers, and it just wasn’t sitting right. Finally I called Steven McKie from Philly, a super-vibey cat who speaks best on the drums with space — his space is so loud — and he brought it all together. Then I reached out to the legend, John Sco
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Chris Jisi   By: Chris Jisi

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