Issue Three: Spins, Streams & Downloads

Bass Magazine digs into the latest releases of albums, books, and videos involving all things bass.

Issue Three: Spins, Streams & Downloads

Bass Magazine digs into the latest releases of albums, books, and videos involving all things bass.

Esperanza Spalding

12 Little Spells [Concord]

Created on a writing retreat in Italy, and recorded and initially released over 12 days on social media in 2018, Esmeralda Spalding’s sixth solo album is yet another highly original work for the seemingly boundless, ever-growing artist. The dozen songs are inspired by different parts of the body “as an exploration of the healing powers of art,” and as soundscapes they range from avant-garde and art rock to contempo R&B and cascades of lush jazz harmony. The core sound from her previous record, Emily’s D+Evolution, is in place, via the kinetic drumming of Justin Tyson and the dirty/clean electric guitar of Matthew Stevens. Presumably with the intent of having a band for the social media roll-out, Esperanza shares bass duties with Brooklyn-by-way-of-Houston doubler Burniss Travis, and she also credits Stevens and New Orleans saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Morgan Guerin with electric bass contributions (although they aren’t identified specifically). Many of the bass highpoints sound like Spalding, perhaps on her custom fretless Simon Propert South Paw 5-string, such as the octave-infused ostinato on the gorgeous title track, the percolating pulse on “You Have to Dance,” the slippery, savvy accompaniment on “Dancing the Animal,” and the stretching on the Wayne Shorter-esque outro of “Ways Together.” Elsewhere, her effortless, soaring vocals and penchant for potent counterpoint between melody and bass lines make this unmistakably Esperanza, no matter the new terrain. —Chris Jisi


Weather [Ninja Tune]

Multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of ambient, downtempo vibes Scott Hansen has just released his fifth studio album, Weather, under his better-known moniker Tycho. His laid-back, lo-fi-meets-hi-fi sound has reached new heights on his latest effort, and his bass work is more pronounced than it was on his previous records. Taking a more organic approach this time around, Hansen stays true to his electric bass roots and lays down tight lines on “Japan,” “Easy,” and the rest of the eight-track LP. A perfect album for a late-night stroll or after-party hang, Hansen understands the important role of bass in trip-hop music, and he respectfully represents it on this mellow journey. —Jon D’Auria

Chick Corea: The Spanish Heart Band

Antidote [Concord Jazz]

Chick Corea revisits the Latin and flamenco sound of his classic sides My Spanish Heart and Touchstone with a powerful, impeccably selected eight-piece unit, anchored and accelerated by Carlitos Del Puerto and drummer (and Roy Haynes grandson) Marcus Gilmore. The title track provides a Salsa-fied launch, with the crisp horns of trumpeter Michael Rodriguez, trombonist Steve Davis, and saxophonist/flutist Jorge Pardo, the great Ruben Blades’ impassioned vocals, and Del Puerto’s bold, Baby Bass tumbao. Elsewhere, Carlitos provides conversational support on his Fodera 5 for the Flamenco-intoned “Yellow Nimbus — Part 2.” A deftly reimagined “Armando’s Rhumba” finds Del Puerto comfortably in the Stanley Clarke role on acoustic bass, adding a Cuban sensibility. Finally, for the Middle-Eastern-flavored, Paco DeLucia-penned “Zyriab,” Carlitos imparts a rhythmically and tonally astute solo on upright. —Chris Jisi

The Dirty Diamond

From the Stars []

Session ace Derek Frank stays busy thanks to his steady world tours with Gwen Stefani and Shania Twain — but when he’s back home in Los Angeles, he focuses on his own band, the Dirty Diamond. Their new album is a powerful rock exhibition that showcases each of the band members’ talents, and for Frank, that means digging into big riffs and laying down strong grooves every chance he gets. Every song features multiple standout bass moments that catch your ear with either a deep pocket breakout or a catchy run. If you’re a fan of rocking, and we know you are, dig into this album. —Jon D’Auria

Charnett Moffett

Bright New Day [Motéma Music]

Veteran doubler and solo artist Charnett Moffett goes all electric on his latest, uplifting effort (his 14th as frontman), plucking his fretless Moon. Joined by guitarist/vocalist Jana Herzen, violinist Scott Tixier, drummer Mark Whitfield Jr., and keyboardist Brian Jackson, Moffett handles a wide range of roles with a variety of sounds over eight tracks of his trademark sing-song meditations and hypnotic, Eastern-tinged mantras. This includes driving “Free the Slaves” with hard plucks and slaps, dropping his E string down to D for the harmonics-infused, rubato rumination “Waterfalls,” and filling the straightahead burner “Netting” with fleet-fingered melody-doubling, effects-laden solos, and fierce walking. —Chris Jisi

David Pastorius

Radio Gold [David Pastorius]

It’s hard to figure out exactly where to begin in describing the latest eclectic album from monster bassist David Pastorius, but David himself has no issue knowing where to begin, as the opening track “Rojas” kicks off with a musical uppercut that ignites things with a bang. Displaying all of his prowess and his love of a diversity of musical genres, Pastorius takes listeners on a voyage that explores avant-garde jazz, rock, funk, and soul. With layers of slapped, tapped, and fleet-fingered bass, the album shifts from burners like “The Chase” and “Candlebox” to laid-back tracks like “Nikoa,” “Got It Good,” and “Fake News.” —Jon D’Auria

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