Saul Zonana, Phatso [20and20 Music]

Who is Saul Zonana? There’s no short answer.
Author:
Publish date:

Who is Saul Zonana? There’s no short answer. A longtime New Yorker now based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; a former sideman bassist for Ace Frehley of Kiss; a mix engineer on Adrian Belew’s most recent live album; a big-time-session quality lead singer and guitarist; and a songwriter who’s been independently releasing solo material for ten years. But before all that he was just a bassist who really dug Paul McCartney—and it shows up in the best possible way on his latest self-produced album, Phatso. Zonana’s slightly progressive, psychedelic power pop songs are absolutely infectious, serving as perfect vehicles for bass lines like “Mr. Pulsfuss” and “Direction” that conjure up melody and drive eighth-notes as skillfully as Sir Paul ever did. (Yes, really.) And the mix is delicious, a huge collective landscape with plenty of sweetness on top and enough clarity down low for Zonana’s expert melodic sensibility on the bass to shoot right through. So who is Saul Zonana really? How about a brilliant songwriter/producer/engineer who happens to be a great bassist, guitarist, and lead singer? Accurate or not, we should all have such problems defining ourselves.

bp1110_bn_rec_Ph_nr

Related

Too Much Is Never Enough: Muse’s Chris Wolstenholme Reinvents Art-Rock Bass For The 21st Century

A WELL-WORN CLICHÉ ABOUT THE BRITS IS THAT THEY’RE serious, understated, subtle, and—heavens, no—certainly not silly or anything like that. Well, Muse’s Chris Wolstenholme is having none of it, musically or otherwise. “There’s always been this thing with English bands where it’s a bit shoe-gaze-y, you know what I mean? British bands find it hard to just let loose and rock out sometimes. Back in the ’70s, British bands were great; they had a certain over-the-top-ness. It’s almost like bands are scared to do stuff like that now.” Not so for the members of Muse: “We just think, Fuck it, you know?”

The Revolution Will be Improvised

LEGENDARY BASS ALCHEMIST BILL LASWELL LETS THE MEDIUM BE THE MESSAGE WITH METHOD OF DEFIANCE IF YOU VISIT THE WEBSITE OF METHOD OF DEFIANCE, A CURRENT concept of bassist/producer and master sound-manipulator Bill Laswell, what you see is not a bio, or a discography, or even any mention of who plays what. First you get a block of stark white text on solid black background: “A musical, sonic, aesthetic, mind and body experience, at once structured, spontaneous, precise, random, brash, beautiful, and above all, unforgivable.” Then at the bottom of the page, a CNN-style text crawl scrolls provocative phrases in all caps.

Tim Marks: Nashville Natural

WHEN IT COMES TO TRACKING big time records, Nashville’s an old school town. The few folks who get those calls have usually put in 20 or 30 years of groundwork and have credits lists a mile long, so when Taylor

Producer-Bassist Tommy Sims Getting A Master’s From Jamerson U. On Michael McDonald’s “All I Need”

IT’S MASTERCLASS, EVERYONE, WHICH means a detailed dissection of a bass line played by a high-level pro, along with insight from the player who gave us this amazing thing to learn from. But this one’s different in that our featured artist, Nashville-based A-list producer/bassist/ songwriter Tommy Sims, consciously sought to emulate someone he’d been studying for years: the immortal James Jamerson. And when someone who’s written, played, and produced for Eric Clapton (“Change the World,” anybody?), Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Kelly Clarkson, CeCe Winans, the Neville Brothers, and Garth Brooks says he’s studying someone, it’s best to just listen to what he has to say in full.