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Reviews

Book Review: Damian Erskine’s “The Improvisor’s Path”

There comes a time for every bassist where they feel they’re in a rut or have hit a plateau in their playing and creativity. It happens to the best of us. Bassist and No Treble contributor Damian Erskine’s new book The Improvisor’s Path is a surefire way to get yourself back into high gear. While Erskine’s first instructional book, Right...

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Marcus Miller’s “Renaissance”: A Review

[Editor’s note: Marcus Miller’s latest album, Renaissance hits the shelves today.] Renaissance sees Marcus Miller at his very best, in a band context with a group of young, talented musicians. A renaissance is a time of renewal and revival. Marcus wants his music to be a part of revival and renewal of music and society. The record is very much...

A Review of Mike Stern’s “All Over the Place”

Guitarist Mike Stern’s new record All Over the Place features a veritable smorgasbord of bass talent: Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona, Victor Wooten, Anthony Jackson, Dave Holland, Tom Kennedy, Will Lee and Victor Bailey. Like a kid in the rhythm section candy shop, Stern audibly delights in playing with these guys. Further, the quality of Stern’s writing, the variety of grooves...

A Review of Esperanza Spalding’s “Radio Music Society”

Esperanza Spalding shocked many in the music world when she beat out Justin Bieber for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, about thirteen months ago. Bassists everywhere, likely less shocked, celebrated the win by one of our own. This exciting bassist/vocalist has just released her latest record, Radio Music Society, and one which shows the Grammy was no fluke....

Review: Rudder’s Live Rockwood Music Hall NYC DVD

Following on from their first two left-field grooving studio albums Matorning and Rudder, the funky band have released a DVD recorded last year in New York. I got the chance to ask the band the rationale behind the release of the DVD. Bassist Tim Lefebvre shares, “Well, we wanted to document the vibe of the month long tour of Europe...

A Review of Hiromi’s “Voice”

“When I play music, I realize that it really filters emotions, I called this album Voice because I believe that people’s real voices are expressed in their emotions. It’s not something that you really say. It’s more something that you have in your heart… Instrumental music is very similar. We don’t have any words or any lyrics to go with...

Review: Marcus Miller’s “A Night in Monte Carlo”

Having and developing an individual voice is so important in music. Michael Jackson, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter: we recognize all of them within a few notes. And Marcus Miller is someone with an instantly recognizable style on bass; he has found his own voice in music in his composition, arrangement and production. His music sounds natural and flows...

Album Review: The Bad Plus – Never Stop

Over a decade since their formation, The Bad Plus (known for their ingenious jazz takes on rock, pop, electronica and contemporary classical tunes) have released their first record entirely consisting of originals, Never Stop. The piano, bass and drums trio have a special empathy from their decade together and make a great range of sounds creating their own genre drawing...

Review: Simon Little’s “Mandala”

A solo bass guitar record improvised live that often sounds nothing like bass guitar, Simon Little‘s Mandala is enjoyable, highly listenable and varied both sonically and in terms of mood. Little manages all this despite recording the whole album using one bass, his Warwick Thumb VI. Little joins a select group of bassists who make highly musical recordings using looped...

A Review of Scott Colley’s “Empire”

Empire, the latest from Scott Colley, is a very special record and must be a front runner for jazz record of the year. Colley has carefully assembled a great team of musicians to interpret his compositions. Empire builds a range of sustained moods and often intense and slow-building, burning grooves. There’s more than a hint of Americana of the kind...

A Review of Esperanza Spalding’s “Chamber Music Society”

Esperanza Spalding‘s Chamber Music Society is a unique and beautiful record by a brilliant musician. Not what some might have expected, it’s fusion of jazz and chamber music with Brazilian overtones. Esperanza is known as a fine bassist – and she is that – but she is also a wonderful singer and a composer with a great musical mind. The...

A Review of “The Stanley Clarke Band”

In The Stanley Clarke Band, the great bassist has released a record which is the heir to the halcyon days of School Days, Stanley Clarke and Journey to Love. There are some extended, electric fusion pieces and a range of fresh sounding music. As the title hints, it’s very much a band record: Stanley’s line up features exciting young players...