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Reviews

A Review of Thomson Kneeland’s “Mazurka for a Modern Man”

There is a special symbiosis that occurs when a bassist and drummer work together on projects for significant lengths of time. When those musicians are as great as the ones on this record, the results can be wonderful. Mazurka for a Modern Man, in part, is a documentation of such a symbiosis. It’s a wonderful contemporary jazz record, imbued with...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

The Lowdown with Dr. D.: EFX Questions for Upright Bass

Recently I got a series of questions from a upright bass player in Norway regarding amplification of the double bass and the use of electronic effects (EFX). Since I get these sorts of questions often, I thought I would print some of my thoughts here as part of the lowdown. If you have your own questions, feel free to send...

Contract Considerations
Columns

Contract Considerations

Whether you’re playing a small gig, major venue, or are signing a recording deal it’s crucial that you know the value of a contract and how to navigate one. This lesson will cover some common advantages and pitfalls to having an engagement-contract for a performance and what to look for in a recording-contract. Keep in mind that the point of...

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Choosing A Bass: A How To Guide
Ask Damian Erskine

Choosing A Bass: A How To Guide

Q: I’m thinking of buying a new bass. What do you look for when instrument shopping? A: There’s so much that can go into the consideration of a new instrument. The obvious things are: Cost, Function (is this your “do it all” bass, or for recording, or a good slap bass?) It’s good to do a lot of research to...

Reviews

A Review of Zander Zon’s “Sonorous”

Sonorous indeed! Zander Zon is the pseudonym of a young London based solo bassist who has built a massive following for himself on Youtube. There has been quite a buzz of excitement around this release – unsurprising as Zon has a way of sounding like no-one but himself and plays unique music in a unique way using a Zon (surprise,...

Ask Damian Erskine

Ask Damian Erskine: I Can’t Hear Myself!

Q: I would love to know what you do when you can’t hear yourself on stage or at rehearsals and when you can’t change it. A: That’s just a tough situation, really. It does happen fairly frequently, though. Honestly, that’s when knowing your fretboard and having a strong relationship with your instrument comes in handy, as well as knowing the...

Reviews

A Review of Stephan Crump with the Rosetta Trio’s “Reclamation”

Inventive, deeply melodic and resonant, Reclamation is a great record featuring strong writing and arrangements, a unique string trio line-up and three unique voices. Stephan Crump is a fabulous jazz bassist and is joined by Jamie Fox and Liberty Ellman on guitars in a trio which has been together for some time. This is their second album. The interplay, sensitivity...

Rhythm Practice: Using Rhythms to Improve a Passage, Phrase or Lick
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Rhythm Practice: Using Rhythms to Improve a Passage, Phrase or Lick

Every so often there is a passage, phrase or “lick” that we just can’t seem to execute as well as we would like, no matter how many times we practice it under tempo. This should be a sign that we need to change our approach. Slow practice an excellent and valuable tool, but it is just one of many ways...

Relax, and Don’t Forget to Listen
Ask Damian Erskine

Relax, and Don’t Forget to Listen

Q: What’s going through your mind when you solo? A: Ideally, nothing! I play my best when I know the song well (don’t need to think about chords, etc.) and am playing with solid players who all serve the music. In that scenario, I am simply letting the music dictate what’s going to happen and if I have to solo,...

Reviews

A Review of Jean-Michel Pilc’s “True Story”

Jean-Michel Pilc has a masterful touch, and True Story is a charming record that is a great example of contemporary piano trio jazz. It’s music that is unafraid to be beautiful and, at the same time, unique and modern. Pilc joins the select group of pianists like Vijay Iyer, Bojan Z and Brad Meldhau who are making music very modern...