How do you think it’d sound if bass magus Bill Laswell and his fretted, fretless, clean, and effected P-Basses got together with drummer Chad Smith—yes, the Red Hot Chili Pepper—and young New Orleans keyboard master Jon Batiste? If you guessed that it’d be spiritual and sweaty, and that you might hear Smith as you’ve never heard him before, you’d be right. Now imagine they are joined by TV On The Radio vocalist Tunde Adebimpe, the wah trumpet of Toshinori Kondo, Wu-Tang MC Killah Priest, Peter Apfelbaum’s flute and saxes, and Dominic James’ tasty guitar work, and you have the recipe for something that’s equal parts wonderfully earthy and inspiringly unearthly. Highlights: the tribal, epic “Spiral” and the Miles-ish “Haunted.”
CD Review: Bill Laswell "Incunabula Digital Series"
Whether rumbling and rolling in a duo with rhythmic shaman Milford Graves, engaging in complex dialogues with master trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith, or augmenting Japanese hip-hop pioneer DJ Krush’s ambient backdrops and breakbeats/scratches, Bill Laswell and his fretless chorused P-Bass are deep, authoritative, and upfront, ready with chords, picks, and solos at a moment’s notice.