I am doing a Mingus project in May with the WDR Big Band, so I have been checking out Mingus’s music recently. He has left such a legacy on several levels: his bass playing, his rhythm section playing, his band leading and his composing. All of those aspects of Mingus’s music are interconnected, and he really made strong contributions in each area. For example, the later albums, like Changes I and Changes II [Atlantic] are very serious, hard-blowing post-bop. He had a knack for writing angular melodies and odd rhythmic twists that seem very singable and folkloric.
I’ve recently revisited many Scott LaFaro recordings, and one that stands out a s a winner is For Real, Hampton Hawes [Contemporary]. This was before Scotty’s big breakthrough with the Bill Evans Trio, but his playing is solid and amazingly articulate. He took the sound and drive of Ray Brown and solo innovations of Red Mitchell in the late ’50s to a new level. He was way ahead of his time.
I’ve checked out Donny McCaslin’s group recently with Hans Glawischnig on bass and drummer Jonathan Blake and their recording Recommend Tools [Greenleaf Music]. I love this trio format—starting with all the ’50s sides with Sonny Rollins, Wilbur Ware and Elvin Jones. McCaslin has a special rapport with his trio, and they are pushing the boundaries of this format in a very musical way. I also like the musicianship and values of all the productions on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf Music label. Another bass player-led date on the Greenleaf label is Clockwise by Michael Bates and his group Outside Sources. Michael is a thoughtful composer and a solid bass player.
I’ve been touring and recording with my own saxophone trio: Jacob Duncan (alto) and Jason Tiemann (drums). We’ve recently recorded a new album which will be out in May 2010. In the meantime, we have some videos up from our recent European tour here:
- Paparazzi (Lady Gaga)
- Never Come Back to Me (John Goldsby)
- Sweet and Lovely (from Live at the Nachbar)
Speaking of trio dates, I have been digging the most recent Wayne Krantz album with Tim Lefebvre (bass) and Keith Carlock (drums). The album is titled simply Krantz Carlock Lefebvre [Abstract Logix]. Their music has the dual quality of fanny-shaking, booty thumping groove, and some deep harmonic, melodic and sonic surprises. I am intrigued by TIm’s expansion of the typical electric bass sound that we have grown accustomed to—he has an earthy sound that is grounded, but with some electronic sounds and a jazz mentality—one foot in the middle-earth and one foot in the ozone. It’s very 2010.
For more information about my current projects, I welcome everyone to visit me at www.john.goldsby.de
I will be introducing a forum in the next few weeks, plus new features for bass lessons and articles. See ya’ there soon!