193

Lynn Seaton: Solo Flights

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Perhaps the most demanding medium for the upright bassist is the solo outing. Unlike settings where a drummer helps keep time, or where a pianist helps define harmonic changes, the solo format demands everything from the bassist. In a way, solo recordings have been a proving ground: some of the greatest bass players in history have done their best work alone in the studio (eg. Dave Holland's Emerald Tears, or William Parker's Testimony ).

Lynn Seaton comes from a background rich with group activity: he played in the Woody Herman and Count Basie orchestras, among others. But on Solo Flights he takes the stage alone. Solo Flights resonates with remarkable virtuosity: double stops and singing arco passages alternate with walking bass lines. Seaton embellishes melodies with harmonics, trills, and lilting swing, making an effort to achieve texture even during his most relaxed moments.

The tunes on Solo Flights mostly have a spontaneous ring, free of the crutches of arrangement and repetition. His "Ode to Jimi" presents a seven-note theme from "Kiss the Sky" within shifting rhythmic backdrops, repeated and modulated through blues changes, alternating with improvised phrases. Fresh, indeed—though perhaps a bit disconcerting if you're expecting something more along the straightforward lines of the original. Seaton deserves credit for his meticulous attention to harmony, even during improvised melodic lines.

Solo Flights is a very solid recording, though perhaps a bit dispassionate for this listener's ears. The emotive power of an instrument roughly the scale of the human body can be immense, but Seaton chooses instead to operate within a more controlled, intellectual framework. Various tunes on this disc go up-tempo or downtempo—and Seaton has his finger on the pulse at all times—but rarely does he bring the bass up to a visceral climax. One must instead enjoy Solo Flights as a shifting, evolving work within the emotional midrange.


Track Listing: Improv for Aubrey; Moten Swing; Ode to Jimi; Body and Soul; Rain; Barcelona; Trane's Changes; How High the Moon/Ornithology; First Melody; Honeysuckle Rose; Liltin' with Milton; Yesterdays.

Personnel: Lynn Seaton, solo acoustic bass.

Title: Solo Flights | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: OmniTone


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Yequm CD/LP/Track Review Yequm
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Schlitten CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017
Read The Willisau Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Together Apart CD/LP/Track Review Together Apart
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 24, 2017
Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Seifert" CD/LP/Track Review Seifert
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "2468 West Grand Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review 2468 West Grand Boulevard
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 27, 2016
Read "Carry Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Hoping Against Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hoping Against Hope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 19, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.