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Gerald Veasley: Your Move

Veteran smooth-jazz bassist Gerald Veasley offers an album every couple of years while not running a jazz club in his native Pennsylvania or leading his annual Bass Bootcamp. The fact that his stuff doesn’t get played on radio means he’s too adventurous, and radio program directors don’t know what they’re missing. That probably won’t change with Veasley’s seventh studio effort. You can almost hear the cry: Come on, Gerald, give us something we can work with! No thanks.

Your Move, like all of Veasley’s works, bears the unmistakable stamp of the f-word: fusion. Not rough-edged, but the smooth brand with funk around the edges. “Hear Now!,” “Slip ‘n Slide” and the title track are prime examples, with the latter two tracks carrying the unmistakable stamp of producer and guitarist Chuck Loeb. But the star, of course, is Veasley. Whether on his four-, five- or six-stringed basses-which he plays to anchor “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” or as the lead on solos and melodies-Veasley shifts moods and tempos, keeping the music interesting while creating his best CD to date.

Especially compelling are three songs that highlight the jazz and blues shadings of Veasley’s fusion. “So Close to the Sun” is a pleasantly somber piece in the vein of Sting’s “Fragile” or “They Dance Alone,” the mood established early by Veasley’s slow bass picking, John Swana’s somber trumpet lines and Mikki Kornegay’s atmospheric background vocals. On “Greenwood,” Chris Farr’s soprano sax is the jazz star as it rides high above Veasley’s nimble lower end on bass and metronomic drumming by James Rouse. Finally, “Three Tears,” which Veasley wrote for a late friend, is part blues dirge and part optimistic ode, with Veasley and saxophonist Chris Farr inspiring with their soloing.

Originally Published