by Bruce Von Stiers
More Than Just Bassic Jazz
Bruce Von Stiers
As a reviewer, I know I don’t acknowledge the contributions that jazz bass players make often enough. There are times that the bass line is the glue that holds everything together.
One such bass player who holds things together well is David Finck. He has had over forty years’ experience playing the bass. Finck has worked with Rosemary Clooney, Andre Previn and recorded with Elton John and Rod Stewart.
Finck has over time transitioned from a performer to a band leader, arranger, songwriter and producer. Along with these added features to his portfolio, he has recorded some of his own albums. The latest effort on that front is an album titled Bassically Jazz.
The album was produced by Finck. It has twelve songs and a little over fifty minutes for the play time. The albums was released on the Green Hill label.
Besides Finck playing bass on the album, there is Joe Locke on vibes. Jim Ridl plays the piano. Cliff Almond is on drums and Ali Ryerson plays the flute. Bob Mann is on guitar and Kevin Winard does the percussion. Mike Davis plays the trombone. Locke has recorded with Kenny Barron, Freddie Cole and even the Beastie Boys. Ridl has played with the Dave Liebman Big Band and The Ant Farm Quartet among others. Playing in the style of Dave Wekl got Almond a lot of attention as a young performer. He has went on to perform with Michael Camillo and play in the hot Japanese rock band, Quruli. Mann has played and recorded with a who’s who of talent including Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond and Linda Ronstadt. Winard had the distinction of playing and recording with The Captain & Tennille. Davis did five world tours with the Rolling Stones and payed on three of their albums. Aside from recording her own albums, Ryerson has recorded with Norman Johnson and Rob Fried among others.
There are a couple of special guests on the album as vocalists. Linda Eder is known for her Broadway performance the musical adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde. She also has several albums out and teaches master classes Alexis Cole is a much sought after jazz vocalist. Aside from guest performances, she has recorded several albums, one of which is a tribute to Paul Simon.
Old Devil Moon is a song that was written for the musical Finian’s Rainbow. While Petulia Clark, Frank Sinatra and other vocalists have done the song, as an instrumental, Miles Davis and Milt Jackson among other jazz musicians have recorded the song. Here Finck and the other musicians do a fine job with their rendition of the song. The vibes are an exceptional framework for the song.
The group tackles bossa nova styling in a nice rendition of the Roberto Menescal song, O Barquinho.
The Summer Knows is the theme song from the film, Summer of ’42. Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand have recorded the song along with several musicians. For this album, the vocals on the song were terrifically performed by Linda Eder.
Moment’s Notice is a Coltrane song this is extremely well done on this album.
I haven’t seen the Netflix show, Narcos. The theme song for that series is titled Tuyo. Surprisingly, the songs is an easy and gentle piece. It is well done here with great trombone, drums and vibes.
A toe-tapping, smile effecting song is I Love You So. Alexis Cole does a wonderful job on vocals on this original composition by David Finck. There some very nice solos for the flute and piano.
When I Look In Your Eyes was composed by Leslie Bricusse and featured in the original Dr. Doolittle film. It has been recorded as a vocal piece by Tony Bennett, Diane Krall and many others. Here it is a soft and gentle instrumental piece.
The group does a nice job with the Keans /Hammerstein song, The Song Is You. There is an especially nice vibe solo in the song along with one for the bass.
The vibes are predominately featured in a very nice rendition of the Burt Bacharach classic, Alfie.
The Toots Theilemans song Bluesette has been recorded by Johnny Mathis and Vikki Carr. Alexis Cole is great on this rendition of the song.
The Turk / Ahlert song Walkin’ My Baby Back Home has done as a vocal piece by Nat King Cole and others and as an instrumental by such greats as Oscar Peterson. Here is it done with a nice flare that has great bass and drums.
Finck himself does the vocals on the final song on the album. It is a nice rendition of the Jimmy Van Huesen, Sammy Cahn song, All My Tomorrows.
David Finck has put forth a pretty decent album with Bassically Jazz. His arrangements of the standards on the album are really good. And the songs from films were a nice touch. The talent that he assembled, both musicians and vocalists, to perform on the album was exceptional.
Bassically Jazz is available at Barnes & Noble, Target and other music retailers.
If you want to find out more about David Finck, his official web site can be found at www.davidfinck.net