I had some unexpected free time last week, so I decided to tackle a song that sneaks into my thoughts from time to time.
Egberto Gismonti is a prolific and versatile composer. A look through his extensive discography finds him playing rock, jazz, folk, chamber music and more. His 1991 album Infância is a collection of mellifluous pieces for cello, guitars (or piano) and bass. The music is sometimes somber, sometimes joyous, and always has a rhythmic flair that is distinctly Brazilian.
Happy new year! Hope your 2018 is happy and healthy. Here’s one from Freddie Hubbard.
Seamus Blake’s latest album, Superconductor, is a pleasing blend of electric and acoustic music. This song finds the leader’s saxophone and voice running through effects to set a space-age mood.
Here’s another song from Cannonball Adderley’s Inside Straight, this one by pianist Hal Galper.
Here’s a mellow bossa nova from bassist Walter Booker, off of the Cannonball Adderley record Inside Straight. It’s technically a live album, though rather than bring recording equipment to a club, an audience was brought into the studio to applaud solos and generally add a different kind of energy and ambiance to the date. I have been involved in projects like this before, and I find it can help some musicians let go of their anxiety about performing in a sterile studio environment.
For thousands of years music has been a “live” art form, and musicians naturally play with greater enthusiasm and soul when they’re in front of appreciative listeners. Listening to a record can never match the experience of being present while music is created, so please go see live music whenever you get a chance!
I transcribed this from an old Coleman Hawkins record featuring Oscar Pettiford on bass. I sometimes show it to students of mine because it’s a nice example of how to compose an effective walking bassline. Oscar uses a few simple ideas to give motion and color to the harmony, and his timing is impeccable. The bass solo shows off Oscar’s dexterity and motivic development, as well as presaging the solo style of the next generation of greats like Paul Chambers. Soon I’ll add a new page to this site that digs deeper into some instructive playing by important bassists, so stay tuned for that.