THE CHICK COREA + STEVE GADD BAND
Chick Corea and Steve Gadd celebrate their 50-year relationship with an inspired double CD that recalls the writing, playing, and drumming brilliance of their previous classic pairings on Corea’s The Leprechaun, Friends, and Three Quartets. A key to the fresh take is the collective contribution of reedman Steve Wilson, guitarist Lionel Louke, percussionist Luisito Quintero, and especially Carlitos Del Puerto’s dazzling doubling. The set starts comfortably with John McLaughlin’s groove-fuzer “Chick’s Chums,” which rides Gadd’s massive backbeat and is spiced by Carlitos’ select downbeat pushes on his Fodera 5. Switching to upright, Del Puerto brings a Cuban sensibility to “A Spanish Song” and the title track, the latter by taking full rhythmic advantage of the tune’s dual feels, which he further mines via a dynamic solo. Disc 2 opens with a cover of “Return to Forever,” from the band’s classic self-titled debut disc, now sporting a more swinging samba feel and with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey shining in the Flora Purim vocal role. The Louke-led, African-minded “Wake-Up Call” finds Carlitos holding the bottom while deftly jumping between feels on upright, and he summons the depth and angular fills of Anthony Jackson on the closer, “Gadd-Zooks.” Del Puerto takes the art of doubling to new heights.
BASS WORKSHOP: THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC AND HOW TO SPEAK IT
[Hudson Music/Hal Leonard]
Not long ago, I observed Victor Wooten leading a master class at Berklee College of Music. While Victor’s ability to clearly explain and demonstrate technical concepts was impressive, what stayed with me was what he taught the students about music as a way to communicate. “You have to know how to deliver the gift,” he said. “The greatest musicians play from the heart, not the head.”
If you can’t study with Victor in person, this new book/video package is the next best thing. Divided into two sections, it presents Victor’s deep understanding of both the mental and physical aspects of being an accomplished musician. Part 1 covers his view of music as a language, beginning with “Groove First” and moving through a series of concepts that focus on connecting to your fellow musicians and your audience. Part 2 digs into technique, including double-plucking, double-thumbing, tapping, and more; it concludes with a thoughtful lesson on soloing. The written material is supported by more than four hours of online video featuring Victor and guest instructor Anthony Wellington. It’s a comprehensive—and inspiring—educational package.
The Long Island antiheroes of post-hardcore have returned with their third full-length album in 15 years, and simply put, it’s heavy—sonically, thematically, and on the low end. Thanks to chief songwriter Justin Beck and his bass obsession, the album is closer to Glassjaw’s brutal 2000 cult classic Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Silence than anything else the band has released. Beck’s unapologetic songwriting and natural swagger on bass help show, once again, why Glassjaw still reigns over the genre that it forged.
Despite a busy year of steady touring with Eagles Of Death Metal, ex-Courtney Love bassist and multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Jennie Vee found time to release the latest addition to her solo catalogue. With its shimmering vocals, driving guitars, and fantastically wandering bass lines, Suffer shows that Vee has come into her own as a solo artist. Her ability to hold down the groundwork while giving the bass a melodic voice is the best part of an all-around great EP.
Italian session bass ace Lorenzo Feliciati channels prog-rock heroes on his latest solo album, a technically daunting and highly explorative record. Using fretted and fretless basses, Feliciati changes motifs, time signatures, and accompanying musicians constantly, includng drummers Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and Chad Wackerman (Alan Holdsworth). Naturally, Feliciati’s exceptional playing takes the spotlight, and it keeps you at the edge of your seat.
SONGS OF EXPERIENCE
Fourteen albums in, U2’s latest record demonstrates all of the drive and passion that made the band legendary. Adam Clayton doesn’t seem to have lost any of his ambition to search for new tones, either; his Fender and Warwick basses take on different tonal properties for each of the 13 tracks. From such seasoned veterans, it’s inspiring to hear inspired music instead of complacency.
Taking on the music of Michael Jackson is never an easy task, but reinterpreting it with a jazz feel and making it your own is a whole other challenge. That’s exactly what Rüdiger Baldauf does on Jackson Trip, which features talented German bassist Marius Goldhammer laying it down and giving the tunes their funk. The Bill Evans-led “Workin’ Day and Night” grooves deeply thanks to Goldhammer, and his dub feel on “They Don’t Care About Us” is not to be missed.
PS, YOU ARE BRILLIANT
The latest installment of highly experimental Steve Lawson compositions features four spaced-out trip-hop explorations, each improvised in a single take. Lawson’s unique grooves bounce and bind to oddly phrased, stuttering beats with an eerie sense of dissonance. Lawson’s patience and his willingness to explore the unconventional, mixed with mastery of his instrument, makes for one hell of a ride.
Complex drumbeats, layered guitar riffs, and a strong anchor of bass make the sixth album from Philadelphia’s Circa Survive perpetually driving and poignant. Nick Beard’s winding bass lines skillfully latch on to the kick drum while also blazing a path of their own to accompany Anthony Green’s eccentric vocals. “Lustration,” “Never Tell a Soul,” “The Hex,” and “At Night It Gets Worse” are a solid sample of Beard’s impact on his band’s influential alternative sound.