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April 2002

Victor Bailey
That's Right!
ESC

Considering Victor Bailey is one of the most ubiquitous sidemen on the music scene, you might think he'd seize the opportunity to proclaim his individual identity as a bassist on his third solo album, That's Right! Well, not exactly. That's Right! is not a "bass" album, per se, but rather a solid collection of funk-fusion tunes that spotlight the former Weather Report bassist's multiple gifts as a composer, musician, arranger and leader.

While That's Right! is clearly Bailey's album-he composed most of the tracks and infectious grooves prevail-the recording is a group effort. And what a group! Bailey enlisted drummers Omar Hakim and Lenny White, saxophonist Bill Evans, saxophonist/bass clarinetist Bennie Maupin, keyboardist Jim Beard and guitarist Dean Brown to help him breathe vibrant life into the album's nine tracks. Standouts include Bailey's inventive rethinking of Funkadelic's classics "(Not Just) Knee Deep" and "One Nation Under a Groove," which he paired in a medley; the Maupin-penned "Steamy," an atmospheric number that features the composer on bass clarinet and steadily builds into a stately band workout; and the propulsive title tune. The bass does claim the spotlight on "Black on the Bach," a solo outing on which Bailey combines multitracked classical and blues motifs to great effect.

Bailey could have done without the shrieky "rap" on the vocal track "Where's Paco?," which is jarring and detracts from the song, but otherwise That's Right! is a first-rate recording that is not to be missed.

Originally published in April 2002
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