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Marcos Varela: San Ygnacio

Houston keeps churning out stellar jazz artists. One of the latest, and brightest, is bassist Marcos Varela, who is talented enough to have been mentored by Ron Carter and employed by Billy Hart and Clifton Anderson during his dozen years in New York, smart enough to enlist drummer Hart, trombonist Anderson and pianist George Cables … Read More “Marcos Varela: San Ygnacio”

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The Stanley Clarke Band: Up

On UP, bassist Stanley Clarke recruits collaborators from his recent past (and some not so recent) and plays both acoustic upright-his forte during the second half of his career-and the electric bass that helped make him a star. UP opens with the decidedly electric “Pop Virgil,” a funk instrumental that blatantly borrows the guitar figure … Read More “The Stanley Clarke Band: Up”

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Damian Erskine: So To Speak

Portland-based six-string electric bassist Damian Erskine, a nephew of drumming great Peter Erskine, showcases his compositional side on his second outing as a leader. From Latin-flavored originals like “Inside Out” and “Cabrerina” to the hard-hitting groover “American Gyro,” Erskine puts a premium on group sound, choosing to bubble underneath almost subliminally rather than wail over … Read More “Damian Erskine: So To Speak”

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Dan Dean: 251

The Seattle counterpart of Steve Swallow, bassist Dan Dean is able to swing persuasively, comp authoritatively and improvise melodically on electric bass. On this series of intimate duets he is showcased walking, chording and soloing freely in the company of four decidedly different keyboard stylists. With Larry Goldings on Hammond B3 organ, Dean explores Thelonious … Read More “Dan Dean: 251”

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Joe Morris Quartet: Today on Earth

To say that Boston-based electric guitarist/upright bassist Joe Morris is prolific would be an obvious understatement. In 2009 alone he released six albums, including this quartet disc. But what’s truly astonishing is the stylistic spectrum he traverses: one lineup and an hour of music simply do not cover the multitude of ideas this man possesses. … Read More “Joe Morris Quartet: Today on Earth”

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Gabriel Espinosa: From Yucatan To Rio

Espinosa is from Yucatan and has been drawn artistically to Brazil. The results are generally an update of the Sergio Mendes pre hip hop sound with relatively static (as opposed to interactive) rhythm arrangements, and female vocals on five of the ten tracks. Bassist Espinosa has added trumpeter Claudio Roditi and alto saxophonist George Robert … Read More “Gabriel Espinosa: From Yucatan To Rio”

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