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Gerald Veasley: Gerald Veasley’s Electric Mingus Project

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Given six-string electric bassist Gerald Veasley’s rep as a smooth-jazz exponent and, through his radio show, advocate for the genre, it’s easy to forget his multiyear stint with the late Joe Zawinul and his work backing such artists as McCoy Tyner. And while Veasley is a certified ripper, it’s somewhat surprising to see his name attached to a project built around the concept of “reimagining” the music of Charles Mingus.

And yet the ambitious acoustic-electric fusion of Veasley’s Electric Mingus Project stands as an admirable tribute, thanks to his creative arrangements of Mingus music and top-shelf performances by the leader and supporting players, including Chris Farr on saxophones and EWI, John Swana on trumpet and EVI, vibraphonist Tony Miceli and drummer Harry “Butch” Reed. There are provocative original tunes here, too: “Blues for Mingus,” with its loping-to-crawling rhythms and rangy start-stop melody, and the funk-edged “Eighteen Sixty-Three.”

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