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Lynn Seaton: Solo Flights

Musicians often have musical abilities beyond those for which they are best known-figures like Igor Stravinsky, Benny Goodman, Wynton Marsalis and Michel Petrucciani come immediately to mind. Such is the case of bassist Lynn Seaton who, although perhaps best known for his associations with more recent editions of the Woody Herman and Count Basie bands, is fluent in a broad array of genres. Of course, negotiating such an unwieldy instrument as the acoustic bass is hard enough under normal circumstances, let alone in a solo setting as Seaton does here. But manage it he does, with the technique of a classical musician (excusing inevitable slight intonational slips), a jazzman’s flair for improvisation, a madman’s fearlessness and diabolical sense of humor.

Seaton acknowledges his jazz roots with grooving readings of “Moten Swing,” “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Body and Soul,” the solos of which include chordal epi-sodes, tremoloed licks and assorted percussive devices. But the set is best characterized by its more eclectic material that utilizes a multiplicity of string techniques. “Ode to Jimi” includes bits of Hendrix’s best-known numbers and conjures the use of distortion, while “Rain” is a kind of sound piece in arched form that suggests everything from drops to deluge. And flamenco gets a once-over on “Barcelona,” which is complete with rasgueados, rapid runs and arpeggios, and the sense of drama that accompanies much Spanish music.

A bit quirky, this album may appeal only to bass freaks and the chronically curious. Nevertheless, it does an excellent job of displaying Seaton’s considerable talents.

Originally Published