Larry Grenadier: Oceanic

Ever since the release of his solo bass album, The Gleaners, I’ve seen Larry Grenadier’s playing in a new light. The jazz bassist spent a year exploring the instrument and its possibilities before recording it for ECM.

I keep coming back to the opening track, “Oceanic,” which creates an indescribable atmosphere. Part of the ambience is created by an alternate tuning – D, A, D, F# – that affects the bass.

“Exploring it myself, I tended to like the warmth of the sound when I tuned down,” he told us in an interview. “Watching how the whole bass resonated differently with different tunings would inspire me just in that the bass sounded like another instrument: a bassoon or some darker woodwind. Those things were enough to make the music come out. That’s such a bass geeky thing to do, but that’s enough. Then you go from there and be inspired by that.”

Here’s a live performance of “Oceanic” from his concert at the Zürcher Gallery earlier this year:

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