Issue Five: Spins, Streams & Downloads

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

Issue Five: Spins, Streams & Downloads

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

Robbie Robertson – Sinematic [UMe]

Pino Palladino and frequent drum partner Chris Dave provide a vital but understated core for ex-Band guitarist Robbie Robertson’s atmospheric latest effort, which draws from autobiographical and cinematic themes (Robertson scored Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman, to which some of the songs here are connected). On tracks like “Hardwired,” “Walk in Beauty Way,” “Dead End Kid,” “Let Love Reign Down,” and “Shanghai Blues,” Pino’s bass lines are two- or three-note affairs, equally dependent on space, and with a deep tone (think Tony Levin with Peter Gabriel). He also provides his signature double-stops and other tasty fills in the vocal gaps throughout. L.A. session ace Reggie Hamilton and drummer Jim Keltner are onboard for two of the 13 tracks. —Chris Jisi

Mike Stern / Jeff Lorber Fusion – Eleven [Concord Jazz]

Concord Jazz remains one of the idiom’s most vital labels, giving voice to veteran and young artists, as well as issuing noteworthy collaborations — such as the pairing of guitarist Mike Stern and keyboardist Jeff Lorber, whose distinct, decades-born sounds emanate from opposite coasts. With the support of bassist/co-producer Jimmy Haslip and drummers Dave Weckl, Gary Novak, and Vinnie Colaiuta, the pair willingly and effectively adapt their styles to each other’s compositions. Among the highpoints are Stern’s gritty, modal, power-chord crawl “Slow Change,” his frenetic, Brecker Brothers-intoned “Ha Ha Hotel,” and Lorber’s equally pulsating reply, “Rhumba Pagan.”

Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Brian Blade – Trilogy 2 [Concord Jazz]

Trilogy 2, a follow-up to this stellar trio’s Grammy-winning 2014 outing, is culled from a recent world tour, with Christian McBride’s upright impeccably captured in the mix. Disc 1 quickly displays the brilliance of the unit via their near-telepathic interplay and deep, three-way conversations. McBride steps up with propulsive support on “La Fiesta” and journey-taking solos on “How Deep Is the Ocean” and “500 Miles High.” Disc 2 includes a swinging cover of Steve Swallow’s “Eiderdown,” a swift-paced “All Blues,” and perhaps most creatively, a version of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” that encompasses classical, Latin, R&B, and a buoyant, bowed bass solo. —Chris Jisi

Quantic – Atlantic Oscillations [Thru Thoughts]

For two decades, Will Holland has been traveling the world and releasing albums under the alias Quantic, and all of those years of experience and collaboration have matured and manifested into his latest album, Atlantic Oscillations. While Holland is a beyond-skilled multi-instrumentalist, his music leads us to believe that he favors playing the electric and upright bass, especially on his tracks “Now or Never,” “Tierra Mama,” “Motivic Retrograde,” and “Is It Your Intention.” On an album that spans funk, trip-hop, jazz, Latin, bossa, and pop, Holland keeps the bass low and flowing through all of it. —Jon D’Auria

Spyro Gyra – Vinyl Tap [Amherst]

For their first record in six years, the venerable contempo-jazz vets go the cover-song route with sparkling results, anchored by the versatile, rattle-your-chest bass work of Scott Ambush. “Sunshine of Your Love” rides Ambush’s slapped tumbao and a salsified groove that gives the melody a comfy second home. A similarly percussion-intoned “Can’t Find My Way Home” is grounded by Ambush’s phat fretless long tones. “What a Fool Believes” is reimagined with an Afro 6/8 pulse, guided by Ambush’s growly, triplet-inclined fretless, while “Tempted” turns into a 12/8 bluesy ballad. Elsewhere, “Cisco Kid” has the original’s funk/reggae stride, but in 7/4. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” gets a softer, nylon-string guitar treatment, with Ambush’s fretless issuing some singing melodies. A bonus is Ambush’s blistering solo through Oliver Nelson’s angular changes on “Stolen Moments,” rendered here in 9/4. —Chris Jisi

David Finck – BASSically Jazz [Burton Avenue/Green Hill]

Are there any finer upright pizzicato and bowed tones in jazz than the ones that flow from the fingers of New York ace David Finck? Backed on his latest bass-centric effort by vibraphonist Joe Locke, drummer Cliff Almond, and pianist Jim Ridi, Finck explores the American songbook and Latin standards with equal aplomb. Bow in hand, he offers expressive melody renditions of “A Summer Knows” (with vocalist Linda Eder) and “When I Look in Your Eyes” (from Doctor Dolittle). Putting finger to string, his melody reading of “Walking My Baby Back Home” is rich in range, nuance, and swing, while a solo interpretation of “Alfie” is riveting, preceding an elegant ensemble entrance. Elsewhere, “Bluesette” (with vocalist Alexis Cole) intriguingly shifts from waltz to samba; up versions of “Moments Notice” and “The Song Is You” yield nimble bass solos; and in a rare lead vocal turn, Finck’s reflectively phrased “All My Tomorrows” is the perfect nightcap. —Chris Jisi

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