BP Recommends: New Releases from Miles Mosley, A Tribe Called Quest, John Mayall, and More

January 25, 2017

BAND OF OTHER BROTHERS
CITY OF CRANES [Ear Up]

In Nashville, L.A. session ace and Jimmy Kimmel Live! keyboardist Jeff Babko assembled a crack lineup—Will Lee, drummer Keith Carlock, guitarist Nir Felder, and saxophonist Jeff Coffin—for his wide-ranging, deep-blowing nod to guitarist Pat Martino. Out of the gate, “Bar Fight” and “Miss Fancy Pants” ride the raw, organic boogaloo grooves of Lee and Carlock, while “Babko” and “The Cortado Ostinato” summon vintage Martino and electric-era Miles. Lee dishes out a from-the-heart fuzz bass solo on Coffin’s darkly layered ballad “Down from the Clouds,” before the album reflects its rural surroundings via the Babko-written, Felder-featuring “Heartlandia,” Felder’s own “Nashville,” and Babko’s brilliant re-imagining of Joni Mitchell’s “Tax Free.” —CHRIS JISI

LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS
SPECIAL NIGHT [Big Crown]

If you’re making raw, straight-to-the-gut soul music like Lee Fields, a sense of melody in the low end is vital. With most of the bass on Special Night ably taken up by Nick Movshon (who doubles as the Expressions’ musical director), melody is front-and-center, but so is the deep, loping swing that comes from Movshon’s years of laying down trenchant Afrobeat lines for Antibalas. The knockout “Never Be Another You” is a stunning mix of dub bass melded to Southern-fried soul, just one of many funky highlights on what might be Fields’ best yet. —BILL MURPHY

MILES MOSLEY
UPRISING [World Galaxy]

Experimental upright phenom Miles Mosley’s debut solo album is as soulful as it is unpredictable. With help from his West Coast Get Down Crew, including celebrated saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the album jumps from Otis Redding-type blues to Marvin Gaye crooning, all rolled up perfectly with Mosley’s effect-laden arco and pizz lines. The lasting impressions of emotional and urgent tracks like “Abraham,” “More Than This,” and “Heartbreaking Efforts of Others” will catch the attention of mainstream ears. —JON D’AURIA

NEW ENGLAND
LIVE AT THE REGENT THEATRE [King]

Live at the Regent Theatre features abundant keyboards, multi-part vocal harmonies, well-crafted songs, tasty guitar playing, and powerhouse drumming. The platter includes New England’s 1979 hit “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya,” AOR gold that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the halcyon days of “corporate” rock. Gary Shea undergirds the band’s ’70s melodic flair by laying an impregnable foundation built on titanic tones, nuanced note choices, and a rhythmic pulse that keeps the party percolating. —FREDDY VILLANO

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
WE GOT IT FROM HERE … THANK YOU 4 YOUR SERVICE [Epic]

After an 18-year hiatus and the untimely passing of co-founder Phife Dawg during the recording process, hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest have surprised everyone with their sixth and final album. Under a strong current of powerful, politically charged lyrics, DJ/beat-maker Ali Shaheed Muhammad provides the bottom using samples, key bass, and his beloved Fender Precision. The syncopated bass rumblings of the opening track, “The Space Program,” will get you hooked from the beginning on an album that has all the markings of an instant classic. —JON D’AURIA

JOHN MAYALL
TALK ABOUT THAT [Forty Below]

It’s no mystery that John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers have a been a proving ground for some of rock’s greatest guitarists (Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, et al.), but the list of bassists is no slouch, either. Greg Rzab has been with Mayall off and on since 1999, joining a dazzling crowd that includes Jack Bruce, John McVie, Andy Fraser, and many more. Rzab’s blues chops are firmly rooted in the canon (check the classic Jimmy Rogers shuffle “Goin’ Away Baby”), but cuts like the Meters-flavored “Gimme Some of That Gumbo” and the uptempo “Blue Midnight” showcase his wide-ranging two-fingered technique and feverish inventiveness. —BILL MURPHY

PATRICK PFEIFFER
SOUL OF THE CITY [patrickpfeifferbass.com]

Between penning educational books, teaching workshops, and focusing his efforts on furthering the bass community, Patrick Pfeiffer makes records. His powerful concept album pays homage to New York while merging an eclectic blend of jazz and world music and displaying Pfeiffer’s absolute mastery of many styles. Pfeiffer’s bass serves as the protagonist of an album that changes vibes on every track, the only obvious reoccurring property being his tastefulness and virtuosity. —JON D’AURIA

MAÂLEM MOKHTAR GANIA/BILL LASWELL
TAGNAWWIT: HOLY BLACK GNAWA TRANCE [mod-technologies.com]

New York-based magus Bill Laswell has long been a gold standard for producers seeking to add tasteful low end to non-Western grooves, and Tagnawwit shows why. Laswell’s supple, subtle support of Gania’s ancient Moroccan ritual chants is so sublime that even a bass break like the one on “Oulad Khalifa Maneen Shesh” perfectly fits the hypnotic vibe. Miraculously, Laswell’s Fender Precision never calls attention to itself, existing beautifully alongside Gania’s own basslike guimbri. —E.E. BRADMAN

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