John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, To The One [Abstract Logix]

Straight-up fusion here.

Straight-up fusion here. You’ve got to be in the mood, but presuming you are, this record rewards your thirst for mind-twisting syncopation, ridiculous unison lines, odd meters, and angular harmony. Etienne M’Bappe is absolutely burning, often favoring fretless and deftly tackling the music’s abundant challenges. There’s much to digest on To The One, but it’s time well spent. Pick a bar, and get to transcribing!


The Bird And The Bee: Interpreting The Masters Vol. 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall and John Oates [Blue Note]

Of the many records that one accumulates over years of music appreciation a few have real staying power. Some turn into old, reliable friends—the kind you can turn to for a reliable dose of good feeling. The Bird and the Bee’s last record, Ray Guns Are Not The Future, is such a record for me. The Los Angeles duo’s smooth and tuneful earcandy- sweetened pop is seductive and deceptively smart. There new record, a completely reverent homage to the oft-mocked (unfairly) Hall & Oates, is no different. Much of the bass is synthesized, but it’s still killer, funky, and fun.

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Etienne Mbappé: The Gloved One

With its dazzling chops and pan-global influences, Etienne Mbappé’s How Near How Far [Abstract Logix] could easily have been just another self-indulgent blowout from a fleet-fingered virtuoso intent on flaunting his post-Jaco bona fides.

John Campbell of Lamb Of God

 Honestly, I never saw the bass and was like, “I’m going to play bass.” I had friends [and] the opportunity to play music came up…they had a house with stuff set up, and I was playing my friend’s drums with his roommates and the bass playin’ roommate took off for the summer. My friends whose drums they were was like, “Hey, why don’t you just let me play my drums and you can play Mike’s bass rig.” And that was when I was 18, and that’s how I ended up playing bass.

Tim Boomer With Mick Berry And Chaz Bufe: The Bassists Bible

This cool new book seeks to describe all that the average player will need to know to have a workable familiarity with nearly every common musical style. Each style is listed alphabetically, and each entry includes a historical background, hallmarks of the groove, gear, chord progressions, and tempos typical of the style, and a variety of musical examples reinforced by the included play-along CD. Naturally, mainstream styles like rock, blues, and R&B, but so are Klezmer, ethnic wedding dances, and Afro-Cuban. The Bassist’s Bible will prove useful on many a working pros reference shelf.

Review: John Beasley

L.A. keyboard monster John Beasley, whose credits run from Miles Davis to ABC’s Duets, teams with fellow feel freaks Darryl Jones and drummer Ndugu Chancler (plus some vocal and horn guests) for a true groove gem.