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Dave Bass: Gone

Edward Blanco By

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California Deputy Attorney General, Dave Bass, is a legal eagle who has, once again, immersed himself in the musical passion that was his first love, soaring mightily on the impressive Gone. An attorney by profession and a pianist by design, Bass once supported himself as a musician, early on in his life, where he worked both locally and abroad. After a twenty-year hiatus, Bass returns to music with ten original modern jazz compositions, brought to life by his very able quartet of tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, bassist Gary Brown and drummer Babatunde Lea—who, during the 1970s and 1980s, were part of a previous Bass group. Veteran jazz vocalist Mary Stallings lends her appreciable talents on the only two vocal tracks: "Surrender" and "I Bet You Wonder."

Watts' perky performance opens the music on the striking starter, "LeGrand," drawing Bass in with an almost "catch me if you can" dare that's immediately accepted by the pianist, with some quick-moving lines of his own. Stallings' gentle approach on "Surrender" evokes a tender response from Watts, the pianist stealing the melody with his deft right hand. Once a part of the vibrant San Francisco Latin jazz scene, Bass revisits his Latin ties on the hip-shaking "Mi Guajira," with a little help from conguero Harold Muniz.

Astor Piazzolla's "Libertango" is the disc's only non-original, with Bass and Watts performing the first of two superb duets (the humbling, down-tempo "Somebody" being the other). "Since I Found You" begins with a hint of Duke Ellington, but then develops its own identity and melodic charm behind more pleasant play from Watts. Some of the pianist's best lines can be found in the brisk modern jazz piece, "Carol." "Another Ending" is a not-to-be-missed piece of creative, balladic beauty, calling for repeated spins. Here, Watts and Bass are at their best, delivering sweet and delicate phrasings, and marking this piece a sure keeper.

The music closes with the light, tango-shaded title piece, once again reflecting the leader's affinity for a Latin sound, and glowing from the sizzling play of the band, punctuating the recording with a final sparkle. On Gone, Bass returns with a bang after being away for two decades; a clear musical statement that this amazing jazz pianist is here to stay.

Track Listing: LeGrand; Surrender; Mi Guajira; Lost Valentine; Libertango; I Bet You Wonder; Since I Found You; Someday; Carol; Another Ending; Gone.

Personnel: Dave Bass: Piano; Mary Stallings: vocals (2, 6); Ernie Watts: tenor saxophone; Babatunde Lea: drums, percussion; Gary Brown: acoustic bass.

Title: Gone | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

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