514

BassDrumBone: The Line Up

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
BassDrumBone: The Line Up 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 second-line struts and greasy funk grooves to atmospheric explorations, these pieces exude a cohesiveness born of maturity and long-term camaraderie.

There is no de facto leader in BassDrumBone, a trio of equals. Anderson's trombone initially appears to be the focus, but he just as often plays a subdued support role for Helias to take the lead, or lays out to allow Hemingway ample space to accentuate the harmonic implications of the tune. All three members are responsible for equal parts melody and rhythm, and in a sense their roles are interchangeable.

Ray Anderson has long been one of the most exciting trombonists in new music; his bright, buoyant tone and humorous phrasing emanates optimism. Even in the throes of somber meditation, there is an undeniable underlying sense of hope in his tonality. Equally capable of avant gutbucket squealing, rip-snorting tailgating, mellifluous delicacy and impressive chromatic runs, his talents are vast.

Drummer Gerry Hemingway is a solid tunesmith. He shares a talent for sing-song melodies with his trio mates that engenders this session with an air of sanguinity. This translates to his delightfully melodic percussive approach. His youthful studies of African music and their reliance on tuned instruments continue to resonate in his conception.

If Anderson is a rhythmic melodist and Hemmingway a harmonically astute percussionist, then it is left to Mark Helias to fill in the space between. Whether plucking out deep, sinuous bass lines or bowing resounding arco glisses, his contributions are the fulcrum on which the trio operates.

Like a well-oiled machine, BassDrumBone's interplay is piston-perfect. Modulating their approach within each tune, the players vary tempo, rhythm, tonality and structure, but with a casual sensibility that can only come from the sort of experienced rapport veterans enjoy.

Thirty years and still going strong, this trio has grown together into something rare, a longstanding group of players who share common histories and aesthetic outlooks. The Line Up is a beautiful, vivacious album and a testament to their creative longevity.

Visit Gerry Hemingway and Mark Helias on the web.


Track Listing: Insistent; Rainbow; The Line Up; Sisyphus Effect; And Then Some; A Cuppa; 1,2,3; On Solid Ground; Rallier.

Personnel: Ray Anderson: trombone; Mark Helias: bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Duet" CD/LP/Track Review Duet
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)" CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Chronicles" CD/LP/Track Review Chronicles
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!