BP Recommends: July 2016 CD Reviews by Bass Player for Bass Players - BassPlayer.com

BP Recommends: July 2016 CD Reviews by Bass Player for Bass Players

Through regular appearances at Matt Garrison’s ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, this powerful, exploratory unit has been redefining the jazz trio.
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JACK DEJOHNETTE/ RAVI COLTRANE/ MATT GARRISON
IN MOVEMENT
[ECM]

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Through regular appearances at Matt Garrison’s ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, this powerful, exploratory unit has been redefining the jazz trio. Ravi Coltrane soars on tenor, soprano, and sopranino saxes, while DeJohnette’s kinetic drumming is contrasted by his occasional acoustic piano tapestries. But it’s Garrison who provides the inspirational foundation via his Fodera 5-string and Keith McMillen 12 Step MIDI pedal, issuing deep grooves, ever-morphing chords, and ethereal electronica on cuts like “Two Jimmys,” the title track, and a freeform cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Serpentine Fire.” —CHRIS JISI

CAVEMAN
OTERO WAR
[Cinematic]

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Brooklyn indie-rock quintet Caveman’s new album, Otero War, is the most progressive and cohesive of the band’s first three efforts. Jeff Berrall chugs along with steady plucking from the opening track “Never Going Back,” which has a distinctly Bruce Springsteen feel, to the charging ballads “Project” and “All My Life.” Berrall’s taste for vintage gear and his ability to make his fingers sound like he’s using a pick gives him an unmistakable tone that is mixed superbly. —JON D’AURIA

CHARLES BRADLEY
CHANGES
[Daptone/Dunham]

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From the Dap-Kings to Antibalas and beyond, Brooklyn’s Bushwick scene has spawned an Afro-soul revival over the last decade, and Nick Movshon has been a key part of it. On soul singer Charles Bradley’s Changes, he wields any of three main axes—a ’73 Gibson Ripper, a ’74 P-Bass, or a ’72 Gibson EB-3—and channels everyone from Funkadelic’s Billy Bass (“Ain’t Gonna Give It Up”) to Willie Weeks (on the raw, bluesy “You Think I Don’t Know”). He’s joined by Budos Band’s Dan Foder, who holds a sure-footed bottom to counter the title ballad’s symphonic highs. —BILL MURPHY

DAVE DOUGLAS
DARK TERRITORY
[Greenleaf]

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This aptly named collection of menacing synths, spooky textures, and chunky, abstract grooves finds bass wonder Jonathan Maron and drum icon Mark Guiliana funkin’ over bar lines and fitting together like puzzle pieces alongside ambience master Shigeto and ringleader Dave Douglas on trumpet. Masterfully using slides, ostinatos, pedals, and harmonics, Maron blurs the line between synth and bass guitar with thick, beefy tone. Whether he’s ratcheting up tension in “Let’s Get One Thing Straight,” busting through walls on “Mission Acropolis,” or looming large on “Loom Large,” Maron lords over the low frequencies with a sure hand, a distinct voice, and an enviable sense of space. —E.E. BRADMAN

DEFTONES
GORE
[Reprise]

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It’s no secret that band turmoil peaked during the long recording process of Deftones’ eighth album, Gore, but the members somehow turned those negatives into positives, releasing one of their most powerful records since 2000’s White Pony. Sergio Vega pummels huge tone through airy riffs and big-hook choruses. His interplay with drummer Abe Cunningham on “Hearts and Wires” and “Prayers/Triangles” shows his attention to detail, while his booming moments on “Doomed User” display his willingness to get his hands dirty. —JON D’AURIA

GARBAGE
STRANGE LITTLE BIRDS
[StunVolume]

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Eric Avery and Justin Meldal-Johnsen are no strangers to the Garbage oeuvre; each had a share in the bass duties for the band’s 2012 “comeback” album Not Your Kind of People. Avery stands out here the most on “Blackout,” laying into a flanged, Peter Hook-ish tone that counters Shirley Manson’s whispered vocal, while JMJ gives “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed” a floor-hugging rumble of quiet menace. —BILL MURPHY

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
[WEA]

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The self-titled third album from this L.A.-based quartet is jam-packed with singles and dance anthems destined to rule the summer airwaves. Behind the feel-good bass work is Joe Karnes, who weaves his energetic lines between thick synth textures and heavily polished drum tracks. His stellar, tight pick work on the first single, “Handclap,” kicks off the album properly and shows just how big of an impact he has on their pop-rock sound. —JON D’AURIA

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