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BassDrumBone and the New Haven Jazz Renaissance

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When they first began playing together in jny: New Haven, Connecticut in 1977, the trio BassDrumBone--bassist Mark Helias, percussionist Gerry Hemingway and trombonist Ray Anderson--were called OAHSPE. The name, which Anderson recalls having heard in Seattle from a source he understood to be Native American, is supposed to mean “sky earth and spirit." It is coincidentally also the title of a “new bible" purporting to be the words of “Jehovih and his angel ambassadors" [sic] which had been channeled by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

BassDrumBone: The Long Road

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Trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Gerry Hemingway have been performing together as BassDrumBone for almost four decades. The Long Road, the trio's tenth release, was recorded in celebration of the ensemble's forty-year anniversary, and is the group's most wide-ranging and definitive effort to date. In honor of this auspicious occasion, they invited esteemed tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and vanguard pianist Jason Moran to sit in on a handful of tunes, which reveals the unit's sterling rapport, as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

BassDrumBone: The Long Road

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BassDrumBone has been in the business of making bold, muscular music for forty years, starting their unusual instrumental collaboration in 1977, and releasing their first album, Ohaspe on Auricle Records, in 1979. Trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Gerry Hemingway employ a free form, powerhouse approach--there's not much pussyfooting going on with this instrumentation, in these energized hands. And with The Long Road the group has made its expansive and definitive statement, on two discs. And bring in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

BassDrumBone: The Line Up

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Bass, drums and trombone are not common instrumentation for a trio. But intermittently for thirty years, bassist Mark Helias, drummer Gerry Hemingway and trombonist Ray Anderson have explored exactly this format under the apt moniker BassDrumBone. Their eighth CD, The Line Up, exemplifies the approach they have honed as a trio. It is not a typical horn-plus-rhythm trio, nor a free-form blast of notes or examination of textures and extended techniques. Instead, it is a well-balanced, cohesive collective. Each member ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

BassDrumBone: The Line Up

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2007 marks the thirty-year anniversary of BassDrumBone. Trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Gerry Hemingway have been playing in this configuration on and off for almost three decades. They continue to convey enthusiasm for this project with palpable joy. The Line Up is their eighth official album and quite possibly their most enjoyable effort to date.

Each member of the trio contributes three compositions. Despite the stylistic variety, which drifts from tender ballads, expressive blues, rousing ...