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Reviews - Page 2

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

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”

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...

Gear Review: DPA 4099B Clip Microphone for Bass

One of the ultimate struggles for a gigging double bassist is getting proper amplification without losing the sound of your instrument. Using a microphone is a great way to preserve your tone, and recently I got my hands on the DPA 4099B Clip Mic for bass to test it out. The Details The 4099 is not a new solution bassists....

A Review of Contact: Five on One

Five on One, the new album by Contact, is the sound of five guys on one wavelength. There is some delightful music here rewarding an active listener with its subtle inventions and interactions. The atmosphere is mostly fairly restrained: no “passionate” show-boating, few extremes of mood, just inventive and beautiful music. You might not have heard of Contact but you...

A Review of John Goldsby’s “The Innkeeper’s Gun”

The Innkeeper’s Gun is a wonderful jazz trio record: both within the tradition and extending it at the same time. It features three musicians playing for the music, improvising freely on some excellent compositions. The trio have a wonderful sense of musical empathy and have previously released the hugely enjoyable Live at the Nachbar in 2008. It is music that...

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A Review of Lenny White’s “Anomaly”

For his first solo album in 10 years, Lenny White stated his intention of putting the rock back into jazz-rock. “We need to restart a revolution to take back the music and stop the fluff”, he says. And Anomaly is some heavy stuff: powerhouse backbeats, grinding organ and shredding guitars. There is some excellent music on this record but some...

A Review of Jeff Berlin’s “High Standards”

If you’ve followed Jeff Berlin‘s career, you know he loves jazz and has released quite a few jazz and fusion solo albums. His latest, High Standards, is the first to feature jazz standards and consists entirely of Berlin and his trio’s spectacular take on nine well chosen tunes. The trio includes Berlin on electric bass, Richard Drexler on piano and...

A Review of John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension’s “To The One”

Wow! This is the record I was hoping for: John McLaughlin letting rip within a band context. To The One is a passionate sonic blast. McLaughlin, bassist Etienne Mbappe, and drummers Mark Mondesir and Gary Husband set up in one room on the studio for a live recording with keyboard added by Husband. McLaughlin is now playing with musicians who...

A Review of Avery Sharpe Trio: Live

There seems to have been something of a resurgence in the jazz trio recently and Avery Sharpe Trio’s Live is another soulful piano, bass, drums recording with plenty of swinging goodness. Sharpe is familiar to most bassists as McCoy Tyner’s long-term sideman but since 2000, he has been focussing more on his own music. A remarkable player on both electric...

Book Review: Jack Bruce Composing Himself – The Authorized Biography

When word reached me that Harry Shapiro’s just released biography on Jack Bruce was available I raced to the bookstore. What a satisfying read; not the typical star worshipping pabulum one might expect in a biography focused on the life of a man who changed the face of rock and electric bass playing 40 odd years ago. Interesting early highlights...