The Neo Bass Ensemble: Bebop Meets Bass (2006)
Each cut is approached from a variety of directions, and the wide-ranging vocals of Janet Steele and Marsh Perry Starkes blend into the music in a scat-bop way, deliciously invigorating Miles' "Half Nelson and Dizzy's "Bebop. The former begins things in somewhat traditional fashion, thanks to the core rhythms of drummer Richard Allen, pianist Richard Wyands and one of the half-dozen bassists, while the latter is a free-fall bebop burner that would make Dizzy proud. The lovely Satchmo vocal hit "What a Wonderful World has some of its sugary sweetness extracted through a delightfully dissonant cello courtesy of Elizabeth Kalfayan, plus Steele's operatic vocal. Another Dizzy tune, "Con Alma, is expanded into a suite-like presentation with a disunified bass chorus intro that segues into a string-led swinging fantasy.
Bassist Jay Starke's emotive bowing is a highlight of the Mingus paean to Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. Ellington's classic "Sophisticated Lady is beautifully delivered through Kalfayan's cello. Atkinson's original "CB closes the disc with all paying an aptly swinging homage to the Count. While some of the attraction of Bebop Meets Bass is akin to watching elephants dance, Atkinson and company are inventive and technically adept musicians whose basses can bop with the best.
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Track Listing: Half Nelson; Peace; Be Bop; What A Wonderful world; Come on baby; But Beautiful; Con Alma; Sophisticated Lady; All Blues; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; C.B.
Personnel: Lisle Atkinson, Karen Atkinson, Phil Wadkins, Darnell Jay Starkes, Paul Brown, Paul West: bass; Elizabeth Kalfayan: cello; Marsha Perry: vocal; Richard Wyands: piano; Richard Allen: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced