David Finck – BASSic Instinct
Finck has now released BASSic Instinct, his sixth album, and he brings along a terrific collaboration of musicians, featuring four vocalists with them. Three of the 13 tracks on the album are Finck originals. The remainder or aexcellent reinterpretations of classics and standards, including a fine reinvention of So What with vocals.
The album opens with the title track, BASSic Instinct, with Quinn Johnson on keyboards, Teo Lima on drums, Ryan Quigley on trumpet, Andy Snitzer on tenor sax, Mike Davis on trombone, all joining David Finck on bass. A cool-as-can-be opening with great horns passages and great rhythms. BASSic Instinct is an excellent composition and performed exquisitely. Finck’s bass lines are so fine.
The classic Irving Berlin The Best Thing for You (Would Be Me) is set in a trio with Finck, Tedd Firth on piano, and Eric Halvorson on drums. A sweet swinging number, this does great honor to the Berlin original. The same goes for the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer tune, Dearly Beloved, with a sextet of Finck, Quinn Johnson on piano, Kevin Winard on drums and percussion, Andy Snitzer on tenor sax, Mike Davis on trombone, and Barry Denielian on trumpet. It is spun up with Latin rhythms and piano intonations. The horn sections is featured in a magnificently swinging interlude.
Irving Caesar’s Tea for Two keeps most of that same line-up except for Cliff Almond on drums and Ryan Quigley back on trumpet. Andy Snitzer’s tenor sax and Quinn Johnson’s piano are featured and they earn the spotlight. Then comes the fun of the theme from the TV show, Mannix, by Lalo Schifrin. The core quartet stays in with the addition of Bob Mann on guitar. That was a TV show I always enjoyed and I loved the music. Finck and company helps remind us why. And it is that same quartet who offers Soon It’s Gonna Rain from The Fantasticks, the longest running musical from Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones. Both highlight beautiful Jazz guitar from Mann and Finck’s bass is gorgeous, especially the bowed bass on the latter song.
Finck and Meg Ruby on piano duet on Seascape by Johnny Mandel. Bill Evans may have given us the definitive version of Seascape but David Finck renders a warm and beautiful reimagining of the wondrous piece. Ruby’s piano is brilliant and the warm of Finck’s bass is enrapturing.
The lively tempo of Tico Tico No Fubá is great fun with its almost ragtime punctuations. Meg Ruby is on the piano for this one, as well, with Nelson Faria on guitar, Kevin Winard on drums, and Finck with the bouncing bass. That is followed by the 1930 Doc Dougherty and Al J. Neiberg tune I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You). The trio of Finck, Mann, and Almond make this standard sweet and swinging. You’ve got to love the play between Finck’s bass and Mann’s guitar. The remaining instrumental piece is Joy by Gerry Niewood with the quartet of Finck, Johnson, and Clint De Ganon on drums, and Laura Conwessor on flute. An absolutely beautiful number with sweet interaction of bass and flute.
The vocal numbers of Bateu, Levou/Who’s Wrong or Right?, So What, and I Remember are spaced nicely on the album. The bossa number of Bateu, Levou/Who’s Wrong or Right? Is composed by David Finck with Téka Penteriche and Trist Curless on vocals. What a great song! The vocals are terrific with English lyrics by Wilma Classon and Portuguese lyrics by Celso Viáfora. Finck’s melodic line is so fine and the bass works is spot on. The jazz classic So What is tightly and warmly rendered by the large ensemble of Philippe Saisse on keyboards, Clint De Ganoon on drums, Mann returning on guitar, Finck on bass, Snitzer on tenor sax, Barry Danielian on trumpet, Mike Davis on trombone, and Kevin Winard on percussion plus fantastic vocals from Kelly Mittleman. Snitzer’s sax is smoking hot and the whole ensemble makes this classic fresh and powerful.
The album closes with Finck’s original, I Remember. It is the last of the vocal pieces with Melissa Errico singing with the duo of Finck’s bass and Redd Firth on piano. It is an excellent end to an excellent album with warm piano and bass supporting the sweet vocals of Errico. The lush lines of melody and lyrics are remarkable.
David Finck’s BASSic Instinct is a brilliant example of his compositional and performance mastery. The originals, as well as the covers, carry his indelible stamp of brilliance and emotion. He moves effortlessly between styles and makes us feel at home in each and every one. Bravo.