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John Goldsby: Space for the Bass

John Goldsby: Space for the BassBassist John Goldsby is releasing Space for the Bass on August 11th, and No Treble got an early preview. Actually, I should say multiple previews… I’ve listened to it countless times already. You don’t want to miss this one.

Space for the Bass is John’s third CD project produced by his own label, Bass Lion and follows his previous releases, Live at the Nachbar and The Visit.

John explains his desire to set out on his own: “After many years of either working for record companies or working as a sideman on other people’s records, I felt a need to take a more hands-on approach to producing and marketing my own music.”

Space for the Bass features 19 year-old alto saxophonist Francesco Cafiso, pianist Martin Sasse, alto saxophonist Karolina Strassmayer, and drummer Hans Dekker. Strassmayer and Dekker are also John’s bandmates in WDR Big Band, an ensemble employed at the radio and TV station in Cologne.

“Since we play with the WDR band about 180 days a year, it’s good to get outside of the big band format sometimes,” John shares.

The track “Blue Dahlia” is one of my favorites on the album. John explains the background for the tune:

“I wrote ‘Blue Dahlia’ in just a few minutes. I sat down at the piano and wanted to play a simple melody and then harmonize it in a very traditional way. I can hear the Duke and Mingus type voicings in the harmony—they always liked to play a simple melody and hang on the #5 or b9. They always say, “Steal from the best,” and I sure did steal a lot from Duke and Mingus! Their ballads always sounded beautiful to me, and I wanted to capture the kind of poignant feeling that they always seemed to achieve in their slow pieces. Karolina plays the melody perfectly—making some of the notes just painfully beautiful. With a good ballad, you should be able to just play the tune and have it sound good—no need for pyrotechnics or lots of chops. Just play the song.”

See (hear) for yourself:

Preview and download Space for the Bass

You can download the “Blue Dahlia” chart from John’s web site. John is also on Twitter. Follow him @johngoldsby.