JOSEF WOODARD AND CHARLIE HADEN
CONVERSATIONS WITH CHARLIE HADEN [Silman-James Press]
Charlie Haden was an extraordinary musician, and he had an extraordinary life. His performing career began at the age of two, when he sang what he called “hillbilly music” with his family’s band on their Missouri radio show. As a teenager, he began to play bass and listen intently to jazz; when he was 18, he moved to Los Angeles to study music. The rest, as they say, is history: groundbreaking work with Ornette Coleman, founding the Liberation Music Orchestra, collaborations with dozens of musicians in many styles, leadership of Quartet West, the tribute to his musical roots on the 2008 album Rambling Boy, and—above all—a lifelong dedication to honesty, social justice, and “beautiful music.” It’s all here in this collection of 17 interviews conducted over 20 years by veteran jazz journalist Josef Woodard, who calls it a “verbal companion to the sublime musical sounds Charlie created.”
MARK DRESSER SEVEN
SEDIMENTAL YOU [Clean Feed]
This display of skill in the service of imagination, brimming with humor and emotion, is a crowning achievement for veteran New York upright bassist/U.C. San Diego professor Mark Dresser. On these seven tunes, Dresser’s distinctive parts—alongside flute, clarinet, trombone, violin, piano, and drums—are supportive but nimble, and his writing pulls special performances from a septet of badasses. Moods range from lyrical and evocative (“Will Well” and “Two Handfuls of Peace”) to gorgeous and colorful, sometimes at the same time, as in the title track. This one’s for those who wonder whether there’s still enthusiasm and fresh perspectives in jazz.
MONEY SHOT YOUR RE-LOAD
While fans are still awaiting the new Tool album, Maynard James Keenan has remained prolific with his other outfit, Puscifer, releasing a remix album to his latest record, Money Shot. While Mat Mitchell’s menacing lines can be heard all over the album—along with a stellar contribution from Matt McJunkins—the standout track comes from Tool bassist Justin Chancellor’s remix of “Simultaneous.” Chancellor’s legendary tone and intricate playing steals the show, giving Tool fans something to whet their palettes with.
DRAUG [Rare Noise]
On this slab of heavy sludge, Colin Edwin—perhaps best known for his stellar work in Porcupine Tree—keeps the rumble of down-tuned guitars grounded, peeking through the state-of-the-art fuzz on tunes like “Hellfaced.” Other standouts: his big and full sound on the title track, his clean and authoritative take on “Cloud of Liars,” and his huge tone on “Immutable.”
SYLVIA MASSY (WITH CHRIS JOHNSON)
RECORDING UNHINGED: CREATIVE & UNCONVENTIONAL MUSIC RECORDING TECHNIQUES [Hal Leonard]
Acclaimed producer/engineer Sylvia Massey has successfully used her unconventional techniques with folks like Justin Chancellor, Flea, and Tom Araya, so she definitely knows her way around bass. The 240-page Recording Unhinged is aimed at producers, mixers, and engineers, but Massy’s juicy, fun stories make it a blast for anyone interested in studio magic and hijinx, and it’s packed with useful info. The chapter on bass includes great perspectives on instruments, DI’s, microphones, distortion, using guitar amps for bass, as well as a few cameos (such as Lee Sklar on getting big tone). A cool, practical book by someone who’d no doubt lead a helluva recording session.
ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND
GOT SOUL [Dare]
It seems that nowadays, Derrick Hodge is all over the music world, performing, writing, recording, and producing with a slew of artists from every genre. It should be no surprise, then, to find him laying down Southern-fried grooves on Got Soul, the latest album by Robert Randolph and the Family Band. On Randolph’s most country-based album yet, Hodge cozies up to the backbeat and powers the music with tight lines and a presence that is tasteful, as always.
ROB VAN DEN BROEK
THE GIBSON BASS BOOK: AN ILLUSTRATED TRIBUTE
As an avid bass player and graphic designer, Rob van den Broek set out to assemble a coffee-table book that would cover the history of Gibson basses from the first EB model in 1953 all the way up to 2015’s ES Les Paul hollowbody. The result is a stunning, comprehensive, chronological look at the stylistic history of an instrument’s legacy that features beautiful photographs, a slick layout, and interesting facts about each model.