196

Paul Steinbeck: Sun Set

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Paul Steinbeck: Sun Set New York bassist Paul Steinbeck's third album for Engine Studios is an infectious, good-foot gumbo of retro and contemporary styles. Gospel, classic R&B, hip hop and New Orleans marching band music provide the grooves and rhythms, which sit alongside collective improvisations straddling New Orleans' Preservation Hall and today's free music. It inhabits similar territory to trumpeter Abram Wilson's Ride! Ferris Wheel To The Modern Day Delta (Dune, 2007), though with a smaller line-up and less hip-hop in the mix.

Steinbeck's propulsive ostinatos are key to the music, but it's veteran drummer Warren Smith who is the groovalicious backbone of the quartet. Smith cut his teeth in marching bands on Chicago's Southside in the late 1940s, moving to New York and the hard bop scene in the 1950s. Since then he's combined adventurous, a-list jazz and ethno-music activities with more lucrative R&B and pop session work (in the 1960s and 1970s he was frequently employed by Motown, recording and touring behind Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and others). He draws on all these experiences here, laying down righteous, funky beats throughout.

The other veteran is trumpeter Malachi Thompson. Sun Set is amongst Thompson's final recordings, and he passed from a longstanding illness two months after the album was made. His playing—always soulful, though here, not surprisingly, somewhat subdued—catches the spirit of the music in fine roots style. Thompson's dialogues with trombonist Chris Washburne are among the album's highlights—the trombonist's exuberant lines, rich in growls and smeared notes and often played in a fruity bass register, complementing the older man's less prolix lines.

All the tunes—with the exception of Thompson's signature "Free-bop Now!"—are Steinbeck originals. In general, they're brief and fragmentary, more concerned with establishing a groove than with melodic and harmonic invention, and a certain sameyness sets in over the course of the album. In this respect, Wilson's Ride! is more successful (and benefits too from its bigger line-up).

"The Blue Devils And The Holy Ghost" is the most distinctive of the originals. It starts with lush vibraphone textures over a gospel-type bass pattern, before Smith moves to drums and the tune morphs into a rambunctious, ex-New Orleans slow march, replete with raucous tailgating trombone. Other standouts are the title track—its melodic, Motownesque theme played by the horns in exquisite close harmony—and the closing "Number Six," an extended showcase for Smith's moody vibraphone.


Track Listing: Fredology (1-2-3-4); Sun Set; The Blue Devils And The Hly Ghost; Elevated; Elements One And Two; Three For All; Freebop Now!; Sustain Me; Which Sounds Bring Which? Spirit; Donuts; Sun Shine; Number Six.

Personnel: Malachi Thompson: trumpet, flugelhorn, voice, percussion; Chris Washburne: trombone, didgeridoo, percussion; Paul Steinbeck: acoustic bass, percussion; Warren Smith: drums, vibraphone, percussion.

Title: Sun Set | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Engine Studios


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read # 1 CD/LP/Track Review # 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Tetrawind CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Triplicate CD/LP/Track Review Triplicate
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "Secular Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Secular Hymns
by John Eyles
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Radioactive Landscapes EP" CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Nakedonia" CD/LP/Track Review Nakedonia
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!