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Charnett Moffett: Google Bass

During his solos with the McCoy Tyner trio, bassist Charnett Moffett will invariably startle purists by pulling out his bow and slapping the strings down by the bridge while fingering notes on the neck with his left hand. It’s an unorthodox, percussive technique that relates more to the Brazilian berimbau than the acoustic bass. But as Moffett says, “Why not! Play what’s in your heart, play what you feel. That’s the way I see it.”

That’s precisely the attitude that the adventurous, multidirectional bassist takes on Internet, his ninth release as a leader and second for Piadrum. On this wildly diverse collection of originals, Moffett works the bow-slapping technique into the fabric of the title track, an unaccompanied showcase on the upright bass. The Juilliard-trained bassist strikes a distinctly classical mode with “Kings and Queens,” then takes a decidedly punk stance on the raucous “RAS,” full of edgy vocals, slamming backbeats and funky thumb-slapping pyrotechnics on the electric bass. He taps into the heightened energy of John Coltrane’s great rhythm section on the modal “G.E.M.”–an acronym for (Jimmy) Garrison, Elvin (Jones) and McCoy (Tyner)–then pays tribute to his former employer Ornette Coleman on “Mr. O.C.,” which he performs on fretless electric bass. The blazing “Happy Dreams,” a dazzling chops showcase on fretless electric, is teeming with Jaco Pastorius-isms, while his slippery glissandos on the piccolo bass throughout “Free Raga,” an Indian-flavored duet with drummer Amit Shamir, recall U. Shrinivas’ extraordinay electric mandolin playing with Remember Shakti.

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