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  • Attack of the Killer CDs!

    I've had 3 CDs rotating in my car CD player and ripped to my Ipod lately. If you're in need of a recharge by listening to some fine bassists play even finer Music these come highly recommended:

    The Stanley Clarke Band-Stanley Clarke www.stanleyclarke.com (Heads Up Records) Just released-I saw a configuration of this band in Nashville in April and they absolutely killed! Added into the mix is Japanese fusion phenom Hiromi on piano and composition (Labyrinth) a bevy of fine LA gutarists and saxophonists.Guitarist Charles Alura stands out on the homage to the Halcyon Days of Fusion titled "Larry has Travelled 11 Miles and Waited a Lifetime for the Return of Vishnu's Report" (a thoroughly tongue in cheek play on words using the names of pre-eminent Fusion bands of the early and mid-70s). Bob Sheppard shines on tenor sax on the hard-swinging Sonny Rollins. The core band of pianist Ruslan Sirota and drum prodigy Ronald Bruner, Jr. hang tight with their leader and Stanley delivers some of the strongest performances on electric bass I've heard from him in quite some time. My personal favorite is the electric/reggae take on Chick Corea's "No Mystery". I can't get this one out of my CD changer!

    Higher Standards-Jeff Berlin (MAJ) www.jeffberlinmusic.com The often-controversial maestro of the 4 string bass puts his money (and his music) where his mouth is and delivers a masterful set of Jazz Standards like "Nardis", "I Want to Be Happy", and the iconic Tenor Sax warhorse "Body and Soul". I love hearing master improvisors taking on Standards-it's like hearing your favorite Actor performing Shakespeare. You know the story, but it's a special treat to hear how your favorite performer tells it. Jeff is doing what he arguably does better than anyone on the planet, navigating slippery changes so superbly you feel he's transcended the technical limitations of the 4 string electric bass. Get this one, pull up a copy of the Real Book and study how the Maestro works-truly inspirational! Kudos also the Jeff's band-the ridiculously talented Richard Drexler on piano and upright bass and former Pat Metheny and Al Dimeola drummer and current Elements co-leader (with bassist Mark Egan) Danny Gottlieb. The trio swings hard, hangs tight with Jeff and creates some fine Jazz. This would be a stocking stuffer for your favorite cranky upright bassist who thinks the electric bass is "just a toy" this coming Holiday Season.

    Chamber Music Society-Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up) www.esperanzaspalding.com
    Heads Up seems to have become Bass Central these days (sorry Beaver!) with Stanley, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, bass supergroup SMV, The Yellowjackets, Gerald Veasley , The Jaco Pastorius Big Band and now Esperanza Spalding. Esperanza took the Jazz World by storm with her previous effort and now she ventures into the realm of Jaco and Charles Mingus. No longer content to be a dynamite voice on bass and superb vocalist, she offers the most sophisticated arrangements and compositions of her short career. With the core trio of Terry Lyne Carrington on drums and pianist Leo Genovese and a string trio (Entcho Todorov-violin, Lois Martin-viola and David Eggar-cello). Gretchen Parlato helps out on voice and the great Brazilian Music Legend Milton Nascimento contributes his voice and presence to "Apple Blossom" Of course, Esperanza sings like an angel as well as playing great, lyrical upright bass solos. With an August 17th street date you'll want to get this one for sure. It may very well be her "Word of Mouth"-a second effort that announces that the Composer has arrived and joined the Bass/Vocal Phenomenon.

    If you have any interest in the Jazzier side of the Bass World or just want to stretch the ol' ears these CDs are essential Summer listening. Enjoy!
    This article was originally published in blog: Attack of the Killer CDs! started by Roy
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. SilverFlame46's Avatar
      SilverFlame46 -
      Thanks for the heads up, Roy. I have previewed all three albums and they are very good. I have placed all three on my list of future purchases. In fact, I have already pre-ordered Esperanza Spalding's Chamber Music Society as she is one of my favorites. Thanks again for your review, it was great!!!
    1. Roy's Avatar
      Roy -
      The Jeff Berlin CD is called High Standards. Sorry for any confusion.
    1. Kegs's Avatar
      Kegs -
      I have long, and I do mean long, been an admirer of Stanley Clarke. I believe he is one the great unsung heroes of modern music. It was my great priveledge to see him live in 1974 with Chick Corea, Earl Klugh and Lenny White in Return to Forever. I saw him again with Return to Forever in 1976 when Al DiMeola had taken over guitar duties. Then, in 1979, I bumped into him again when he joined Ron Wood, Keef Richards, Ian McLagan et al, at the Knebworth Festival, this under the guise of 'The New Barbarians'. My music collection includes much of his work, collaborations, film & TV scores etc. Any bass player, wannabee or officianado, who does not know the work of Stanley Clarke should check him out and stand in awe. It is my humble opinion that he would have fitted in like a piece of a jig-saw puzzle with The Mahavishnu Orchestra but, alas. Thanks for the rave, Roy, nice one..........Kegs.
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