Bassist Martin Wind is the real deal. Although he may not have the profile enjoyed by some of the bold-faced names in the profession such as Christian McBride, Ron Carter or Esperanza Spalding, he has built his reputation as a skilled, versatile player since emigrating to the US in 1995 to study at the NYU jazz program. While Wind's discography is not lengthy, he has done some commendable work with Bill Mays and Frank Kimbrough. This release Air puts the double bass in the spotlight as Wind enlists a trio of highly-regarded players to join him and form the New York Bass Quartet, and tasks them with material that will test the expansive tonal potentialities of the instrument.
The opening and title track "Air" is the readily recognizable J.S. Bach composition, in which the quartet does not stray far from the composer's intent, with the lead being taken by bassist Sam Suggs. And then, for a delightful change of pace, the original composition from Wind "(Give Me Some)G-String" is infused with some stellar drumming from Lenny White while Gary Versace finds a solid groove for his meanderings on the Hammond B3. The well-constructed bass solo is by Gregg August. Austrian pianist and composer Joe Zawinul was a jazz fusion pioneer who co-led the seminal band Weather Report and wrote "Birdland" for the group. Pushed along by White's drumming, the quartet revels in the structure of this jazz fusion riff. The Beatles melody is made up of several of the group's well-known anthems including; "The Long And Winding Road," "Here, There And Everywhere," "She's Leaving Home" and "Lady Madonna." Wind's arrangement is a cross-over delight and exhibits the connective thread which the bassists lean on as they explore the nooks and crannies of the arrangement.
Another charmer is guitarist Pat Metheny's lovely ballad "Tell Her You Saw Me." In this arrangement the bassists are joined by drummer Matt Wilson and Versace on both piano and accordion. As with most of the charts, the lead voice is Wind, who knows his way around the fingerboard as well as having a strong bowing technique. The session ends as it began with Bach's "Air." In this trio version with Wind, Wilson and Versace, Wind delivers a masterclass on the pitch, intensity and timbre of the instrument.
Air; (Give Me Some)G-String; Beatles Medley; Birdland; Silence; I'd Rather Eat;Tell Her You Saw
Me; Iceland Romance; Air ( Trio Version)
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