BP Recommends

Charles Mingus, MonoNeon, the Breeders, and More!
By BP Staff ,

The Breeders; Josephine Wiggs,  third from left


In July 1975, Charles Mingus took the group that had recently recorded his Changes One and Changes Two albums to the Montreux Jazz Festival. The lineup included tenor saxophonist George Adams, trumpeter Jack Walrath, pianist Don Pullen, and drummer Dannie Richmond, a mainstay of the bands led by the great bassist/composer for more than 20 years. For their performance on the festival’s closing night, captured on this two-CD set, they played three tunes from the Changes albums plus versions of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and “Take the ‘A’ Train” that featured guest artists Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Benny Bailey on trumpet. There’s plenty of strong Mingus bass playing to admire here, from his gutsy intro to “Devil Blues” and his fiery solo on “Free Cell Block F, ’Tis Nazi USA” to his inventive and hard-swinging work throughout the 12-minute jam on “‘A’ Train,” which constantly pushes the other players with its rhythmic drive and emotional intensity. — JIM ROBERTS


Before Sergio Vega took over the Deftones bass reins from the late Chi Cheng, he was one-fourth of the trailblazing posthardcore outfit Quicksand. Now, 22 years after its second album, the New York quartet has made fans happy by releasing a third. Vega’s thick and heavy tone is the pulse under straightahead beats and careening guitars that have been waiting two decades to be unleashed. —JON D’AURIA


Although he’s mysterious by nature, three things are now certain about Dywane “MonoNeon” Thomas Jr.: Nobody sounds like the Memphis musical mastermind, he is jaw-droppingly good at bass, and he is wildly prolific. His most recent album delivers 18 new funk-fueled tracks that feature slapping, popping, Funkadelic-style vocals, and flocks of neck-snapping licks and runs. It’s hard to properly classify a record like this, but it feels damn good and we can’t stop listening to it. —JON D’AURIA


Soul revivalists were like hobos on a ham sandwich over Leon Bridges’ 2015 debut Coming Home, and with good reason: Channeling the spirit of Sam Cooke, and backed by a stable of stellar musicians (including ex-White Denim multi-instrumentalist Austin Jenkins and fellow Fort Worth fixture Cliff Wright on bass), Bridges kicked fresh new life into the soul tropes of the ’60s. That mission expands on Good Thing, a wide-open canvas of R&B, hip-hop, dancefloor hijinx, and quiet-storm balladry. Jenkins is still in the fold (lending guitar and bass to the slowloping “Shy” and the disco-fied “You Don’t Know”), joined by L.A. ace Nate Mercereau (on the Delfonics-like “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” just for starters), King Garbage’s Zach Cooper (on the broken-beat funky “Lions”) and Andrew Skates (playing upright bass on the misty, mystical closer “Georgia to Texas”). Think Bridges is done yet? Not even close. —BILL MURPHY


On the Breeders’ first album in ten years, Josephine Wiggs finds a magical balance between simplicity, groove, and rugged, beautifully unpolished tone. These veterans know the importance of an album as a whole, and thanks to the cohesiveness of Wiggs’ playing, All Nerve flows seamlessly. Bass standouts include her gain-fueled riffs on “MetaGoth,” “Skinhead #2,” “Wait in the Car,” and “Walking With a Killer.” A great indiealternative listen from front to back. —JON D’AURIA

[Southern Broadcasting]

Jimbo Mathus started feeling the itch to reconvene the Zippers in 2016, and thank Papa Legba he did—Beasts of Burgundy flows liberally with all the New Orleans-style swagger a ninepiece swing band can muster, which is to say, a lot. At the core of the rhythm section is Tamara Nicolai, who brings Cuban-style chops to the infectiously groovy “West of Zanzibar” and ruthless precision to the punches and slides of the spooky-sounding title track. It takes an acrobatic versatility to keep pace with the gearswitching whims of the Zippers, and Nicolai handles the task with all the sure-footed heft of a first-class jazzbo. —BILL MURPHY


Pancho Tomaselli has made a career of stepping in to back legendary bands like Tower Of Power and War, but to hear him in his own element, check out his hard-rocking trio Philm, whose latest release finds original drummer Dave Lombardo replaced by Anderson Quintero. Tomaselli leads his band through a mix of straightforward rockers and deep psychedelic journeys, and he flaunts cool soloing on “Spanish Flowers.” —JON D’AURIA

[E Works/PIAS]

It’s been four years since we last heard from Mark Oliver Everett, but that doesn’t mean he’s been idle. Besides appearing in several episodes of Judd Apatow’s web series Love, he was knee-deep in crafting 15 new songs, complete with orchestral interludes, for Eels’ latest album—a roller-coaster ride of angst, longing, and redemption. Kelly Logsdon (a.k.a. Koool G Murder) is his usual stalwart presence on bass, from the tic-tac sound of “Rusty Pipes” to the upbeat, head-nodding “Today Is the Day,” where Logsdon drives the rhythm and anchoring melody with uncorked enthusiasm. Further on, “You Are the Shining Light” hits all the right garage-psych notes, while “Be Hurt” is a Stax ballad hidden in an indie-rock lament, with Logsdon going for Duck Dunn-ish economy and feel. —BILL MURPHY