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David Basse: Uptown (2012)

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David Basse: Uptown Track review of "Parker’s Mood"

How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

West Coast singer Mark Winkler
Mark Winkler
Mark Winkler

vocalist
(Sweet Spot [Cafe Pacific Records, 2011]) heard David Basse and immediately signed him to his Cafe Pacific Records. Uptown is the first product of this partnership and, for the sake of the male jazz singer, does not come a moment too soon. There exists a huge disparity between female and male singers singing "serious" jazz. For the sake of context, the serious male jazz singers include Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy
b.1932
vocalist
and Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
b.1921
vocalist
(both in the autumn of their spectacular careers) as well as Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
b.1967
vocalist
and Andy Bey
Andy Bey
Andy Bey
b.1939
piano
(still vital). The vast majority of what passes for as male jazz singers are more cabaret singers, the finest ones including Jim Caruso (The Swing Set [Yellow Sound Music, 2011]) and the aforementioned Winkler.

Basse has one of those confident yet moody voices that totally lacks self-consciousness, something necessary for jazz vocals. His recital on Uptown is a compelling collection of standards and originals tending toward a more conservative (read that: mainstream) vein of vocal performance. However, Basse is not afraid to take on King Pleasure
King Pleasure
1922 - 1982
vocalist
and his brilliant adaptation of Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
1920 - 1955
sax, alto
's "Parker's Mood." In doing so, Basse pays special homage to those artists and the art of vocalese, a dying art in competency. Add the presence of Parker scholar Phil Woods
Phil Woods
Phil Woods
b.1931
sax, alto
and a sublime performance emerges. A perfect union of the blues in jazz, Woods introduces the piece with a chorus of the real thing. Pianist Mike Melvoin
Mike Melvoin
b.1937
and Woods get grand solo space and proceed to show why this "old music" is so important. Basse plays things pretty straight without harnessing the ebullient personality of Pleasure, Parker, the blues, or jazz.

Personnel: David Basse: vocals; Phil Woods: alto saxophone; Mike Melvoin: piano; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.

Record Label: Cafe Pacific Records


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