COHEARENCE [Mack Ave.]
The Jackets’ 23rd album marks the impressive debut of Australian bassist Dane Alderson, whose musical and sonic fit within the quality compositions of keyboardist Russ Ferrante and saxophonist Bob Mintzer is sure to create a buzz. After displaying deft walking skills on “Guarded Optimism,” Alderson makes his true entrance with an expressive, melodic solo turn on Ferrante’s key-hopping ballad “Anticipation.” Additional solos through the Giant-Stepping harmony of “Trane Changing” and the 7/4 “Fran’s Scene” are similarly filled with lyricism and measured phrasing. On the support side, the 5-stringer is locked with drummer Will Kennedy and sympathetic behind soloists.
THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM
THE MONOLITH OF PHOBOS [ATO]
After meeting during aligning tours, Les Claypool and Sean Lennon decided to get weird together with a prog-rock collaboration that manifested into The Monolith of Phobos. The psychedelic stylings of the two kindred musicians meld perfectly, as Claypool’s oddball bass work is met head on with the boisterous playing of Lennon. We’ve come to expect a lot from Claypool—luscious midrange tone and all—but what’s most inspiring here is his chemistry with Lennon behind the drum kit.
ERIC CLAPTON I STILL DO [EPC/Surfdog]
We all know the blues are in Slowhand’s blood; the question now, as he moves into his 70s, is how deep do they go? Produced by Glyn Johns, I Still Do features an ace band of Brits and Yanks that includes veteran bass slinger Dave Bronze, who rocks as steadily on upright (“I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”) as he does on his usual Fender Jazz—especially on the hard-swinging “Can’t Let You Do It” and the swamp-funky “Somebody’s Knockin’ at My Door.”
DONALD HAYES FRONT GROUND [donaldhayesmusic.com]
Best known to BP readers from his Bass Player LIVE! appearances with Andrew Gouché, Alex Al, and Nathan East, Donald Hayes has one of the most spirited and distinctive voices on alto sax, in addition to being a top L.A. composer/arranger. His compelling solo debut is also a basses-loaded affair. Gouché swings for the fences on “Georgy Porgy” and “I’m Coming Home,” MonoNeon goes deep on “Anytime Any Place,” the late Wayman Tisdale doubles the melody on “What Dreams May Come,” Derrick “DOA” Allen mines groove gold on “About You,” Jackie Clarke provides sub-hook support on the rap-led “I Believe,” and, greasiest of all, Marcus Miller’s trademark singing Fender Jazz Bass drives the Herbie Hancock-meets-Marvin Gaye instrumental “Funky Dream.”
UNITED CRUSHERS [Mom+Pop]
From the haunting opening that barrels into a monster groove of “Summer Please” to the cliffhanger backbeat of “Melting Block,” Chris Bierden and his dual-drumming outfit Poliça make it clear that their third album is their most mature, cohesive, and collective effort yet. Their trip-hop-meets-alternative sound (sans guitars) never once waivers, as Bierden’s confident bass work fills in the melodic cracks on a record that includes no filler.
PETER BJORN AND JOHN
BREAKIN’ POINT [INGRID/Kobalt]
Björn Yttling isn’t exactly the “quiet” member of PBJ, but the burly, outspoken bassist always brings a light-fingered touch, which suits the band’s quirky brand of indie art-pop. Most of Breakin’ Point has a clubby sheen, with Yttling driving “What You Talking About” with an insistent, throbbing melody. On “Between the Lines,” he dials back to a dry-and-heavy tone that recalls PBJ’s early days, when the Swedish rock revival was just starting to take hold in America.
THE INFINITE NOTHING [Artery]
Brutal. If this were a one-word review of Evan Brewer’s latest project, that sole adjective would thoroughly sum up the debut release by Entheos. Known for his virtuosic use of many bass techniques, Brewer seems to utilize all of them in more savage ways than ever before. From his jackhammer slap riffs on “Perpetual Miscalculation,” to his tapping breakdown on “New Light,” to his grooves in the bridge of “An Ever-Expanding Human,” Brewer has a terrifying presence on The Infinite Nothing, and we like it.