BPRecommends : January 2010 - BassPlayer.com

BPRecommends : January 2010

Wayne Krantz Krantz Carlock Lefebvre [Abstract Logix] Guitar beacon Krantz takes his longest-running live trio (Tim Lefebvre and drummer Keith Carlock) into the studio with striking results. Given the ability to enhance the unit’s rock-funk explorations via overdubs of everything from acoustic guitar and spot vocals to all manner of manipulated effects, Krantz delivers a landmark outing. Lefebvre’s P-Bass is the perfect sonic and musical compliment throughout, from the soul-hop of “It’s No Fun Not to Like Pop,” and the trippy “Wine Is the Thread,” to the punk-ish “I Was Like,” and the industrial-strength “Left It on the Playground.” (CJ)
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Wayne Krantz
Krantz Carlock Lefebvre
[Abstract Logix]
Guitar beacon Krantz takes his longest-running live trio (Tim Lefebvre and drummer Keith Carlock) into the studio with striking results. Given the ability to enhance the unit’s rock-funk explorations via overdubs of everything from acoustic guitar and spot vocals to all manner of manipulated effects, Krantz delivers a landmark outing. Lefebvre’s P-Bass is the perfect sonic and musical compliment throughout, from the soul-hop of “It’s No Fun Not to Like Pop,” and the trippy “Wine Is the Thread,” to the punk-ish “I Was Like,” and the industrial-strength “Left It on the Playground.” (CJ)

Seabrook Power Plant
Seabrook Power Plant
[Loyal Label]
And now for something completely different: The Brooklyn-based Seabrook Power Plant is a psychotically anxious, guitar-and-banjodriven, metal-infused power trio with an acoustic rhythm section, tearing its way through mutant forms and doom-laden grooves that constantly make you go, Really? They just did that? The bassist charged with holding down the low end in bandleader/virtuoso Brandon Seabrook’s monstrous creation is Tom Blancarte, and the miracle is that he does it at all, let alone on upright, and with such aggressive aplomb. Hearing him survive the frantic opener “Peter Dennis Blanford Townsend” just makes you want him to prove it wasn’t a fluke. It’s not, of course, as “Ho Chi Minh Trail” ups the ante with a furious drone groove. By the time you get to Blancarte’s string-frying arco on “Occupation 1977” and the Zappa-on-crack madness of “Base Load Plant Theme” you have to wonder what the guy does for kicks. It’s a cliché, but in this case it’s appropriate; this album has to be heard to be believed. At the very least it should come with a warning label of some kind. (BB)

Roy Hargrove Big Band
Emergeance
[EmArcy/Groovin’ High]
Is there a more tuned-in musician than trumpeter/ composer Hargrove? From young lion bopper to D’Angelo, John Mayer to film scores, we’re talking about open ears and an open mind. Hargrove’s big band debut is a vibrant journey through blues, swing, Afro-Cuban, and chamber jazz (with Danton Boller’s upright as the sturdy linchpin). Other composers’ works are covered, but this 19- piece ensemble is most resonant on such Hargrove originals as “Velera,” “Tschpiso,” and “Roy Allan.” (CJ)

Bernhard Lackner
In Between
[bernhardlackner .com]
Second albums say a lot about an artist, and Austrian-born Bernhard Lackner’s sophomore effort In Between says plenty about his growing confidence and ability as both a bassist and a composer. Produced by his mentor Adam Nitti, the record spares no expense in gathering Nashville’s best jazz/fusion cats (yes, Virginia, they have a fusion scene down there), notably including drummers Derico Watson, Marcus Finnie and Chester Thompson, along with Dave Matthews’s saxophonist, Jeff Coffin. Lackner himself more than ably steps out on the opener “Take Off Your Shoes” with a tricky thumb-under 16th-note groove, and his solos on “Twelve Years Later” and “In Between” show his extraordinary patience in developing melodic ideas. But it’s how Lackner’s thick, growly tone anchors his groove-and-melody-first compositions that make the disc a winner, giving folks other than him plenty of chance to shine on tunes that would have sounded comfortably at home on Chick Corea’s Eye of The Beholder. (BB)

James Brown
Live at the Garden
(Expanded Edition) [Hip-O Select]
Expanded upon from the 1967 original LP and the 2007 reissue, this double-disc set mines the Godfather of Soul’s January ’67 run at the Latin Casino nightclub in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (the actual “Garden” in the title) to create an entire second show. Brown—backed by bassists Bernard Odum and Alfonzo “Country” Kellum and drummers Jabo Starks and Clyde Stubblefield—is in peak form on all his hits, plus three takes of “Let Yourself Go,” recorded after one show in an empty club for potential release as a single. Of historic note, the run was the first to feature jazz-minded saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis as musical director, and he promptly hired Ron Carter—on a break from touring with Miles Davis—to drive down from Manhattan to play two songs each for two shows. One of them, “Come Rain or Come Shine,” was recorded and included here. (CJ)

Gossip
Music for Men
[Columbia]
Fronted by soulful belter Beth Ditto, this Portland, Oregon trio hooked up with producer Rick Rubin for Music for Men, a driving collection of dance music delivered with postpunk energy. Bassist/guitarist Brace Paine crafts chic hooks high and low, channeling Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards alike as he heaps sassy funk licks atop infectious pickstyle bass grooves. (BF)

Kenny Davis
Kenny Davis [Daken]
Chicago-born, Gothambased jazz vet Kenny Davis delivers a resounding debut replete with fine writing and fingerboard flair. Roaring out of the gate in a furious improvised duet with drummer Billy Kilson, Davis settles in for some serious swing on his own “Fearless” and “Deliverance,” as well as adroit arrangements of “Tenderly” and Stevie Wonder’s “Too High.”Bass clef density really kicks in on “Attitude”— a blistering bop head doubled by Ralph Bowen’s tenor—and “What Lies Beyond,” which rides Kenny and Geri Allen’s eerie bowed bass/piano theme. “Gone Too Soon,” an aching arco ballad about personal loss, is a solemn but superb coda. (CJ)

John Mayer
Battle Studies
[Columbia]
It should be no surprise that Pino Palladino gets a lot of love around BP HQ—the dude’s tone is killer, his groove never-ending, his note choices inspired. Teamed with drummer Steve Jordan and singer/guitarist Mayer, Pino shines. Battle Studies is a mellow disc that lacks the flash and intensity of Mayer’s previous efforts, but it’s the kind of album that’s certain to make long drives and chill-out sessions all the sweeter. (BF)

Morphine
At Your Service [Rhino]
“One of the most amazing innovations or expressions of a bass player I’ve heard in the past 15 years is Mark Sandman of Morphine,” Les Claypool told BASS PLAYER in August 2006. “I loved Mark, and I miss Morphine. What he did with his instrument was amazing, but it wasn’t some technically brilliant sort of thing.” On the first count—of Sandman’s amazing innovation and expression—this new anthology from Rhino stands as empirical proof. As for the esteemed Mr. Claypool’s second assertion, well, that’s another story. To be fair, Les was no doubt referring to Mark’s unconventional use of 1- or 2-string fretless and slide basses, not the typical choices of bassists looking to shred. But as heard on this 35-song compilation of the Boston-born trio’s recorded and live output between 1992 and Sandman’s sudden death in 1999, Mark’s technical ability on these unique instruments is staggering. His playing is incredibly soulful, and it took nothing short of genius to coax this much feeling out of his minimalist bass creations. If you missed Morphine the first time around (I did), it’s time to wake up. —BRIAN FOX

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Pedulla Nuance The latest from bass maven Michael Pedulla, the Nuance pairs soft maple backs with stunning tops of Maple Burl, Red Hearted Quilted Maple, or Arbutis Burl (shown). The American-made bass features Bartolini pickups, and is available in 4- or 5-string configurations, fretted or fretless. Price $4,995 Contact www.pedulla.com

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Gig-fx SubWah With four operating modes optimized for bass—CLASSIC, SUB, TRIG, and AUTO—Gig-fx’s new SubWah has put a funky spin on a classic pedal, folding wah, envelope filter, and autowah effects into a single, all-analog package. Price $225 Contact gig-fx.com

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