Yves Carbonne, A Life [yvescarbonne.com]

You probably can’t play Yves Carbonne’s instruments, and not because he’s stingy (not true), or a lefty (true), or French (true).
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You probably can’t play Yves Carbonne’s instruments, and not because he’s stingy (not true), or a lefty (true), or French (true). He lives on the frontier of bass development, using grand-pianoregistered axes like the Jerzy Drozd “12- string semi-acoustic fretless sub-bass” and the Noguera YC 8-string to bring his compositions to life. Yet Carbonne’s latest disc doesn’t overwork to validate his eclectic bass arsenal. He merely uses it to create some truly compelling music, driven by bass in registers it doesn’t usually occupy. The “bass” lives in three distinct places—high, emulating an acoustic guitar; middle, usually where the fretless melody is; and low, which can be really low on occasion. Highlights include sweet bluesy chordal comping on “Self Made Believer” and “Fired,” a patient, gorgeous melodic solo in “A Life,” and the catchy all-bass slow jam of “Evening In New York.” Then there’s Marcus Miller’s guest turn on “New Love,” a slow, hardswinging funk with Marcus on lead and Yves on sub-bass/chords. It’s a rewarding marriage of Miller’s laid-back grit and Carbonne’s smoothness, punctuating the disc and bringing the amazing Carbonne back down to earth with the rest of us, if only for four minutes.

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