4

BassDrumBone: The Long Road

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
BassDrumBone: The Long Road 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 well as their adaptability when collaborating with other artists.

There is no established leader in this trio of equals; though Anderson's expressive trombone is an obvious focal point, he regularly plays a supportive role, enabling Helias and Hemingway opportunities to take the lead. Technically, their roles are interchangeable, making each member equally responsible for providing melody, harmony and rhythm, in much the same way that each contributes to the band's songbook. Despite subtle compositional variety, which ranges from riotous marches and funky grooves to expressionist blues and dulcet ballads, these swinging numbers exude the sort of stylistic consistency born of longstanding camaraderie.

Anderson's vivid tone and mercurial phrasing elevates the proceedings. Whether unleashing tortuous chromatic runs, avant-gutbucket smears, or plangent cries, his optimistic deportment always shines. Helias holds down the bottom end commendably; whether bowing reverberating arco or thrumming deep pizzicato, his plummy lines provide his bandmates with an elastic but reliable foundation. Hemingway's gift for penning catchy themes parallels his robust melodic approach behind a trap set, which enables intricate triadic exchanges among the group.

Lovano parleys gracefully with Anderson, adding bluesy soulfulness to the cuts he appears on, while Moran imbues his features with a singular harmonic sophistication, although ultimately, it's the near clairvoyant interplay of the core trio that's most impressive. The double-disc collection ends with a half hour of material taped live in concert, capturing BassDrumBone's innate chemistry at its most exploratory, expanding upon basic song forms with a carefree élan common to experienced veterans.

Four decades on and still going strong, this venerable group, comprised of established musicians who share aesthetic outlooks and common histories, is something of a rarity by contemporary standards. Richly varied, The Long Road is a winning testament to their creative longevity.

Track Listing: CD 1: Oh Yeah; Bungle Low; Blue Ray; Kemp; Why Not?; Quompot; Tone L; At Another Time. CD 2: Bluish; Different Cities; Cherry Pickin; The Line Up; Land's End.

Personnel: Mark Helias: bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums; Ray Anderson: trombone; Jason Moran: piano (CD 1: tracks 2, 5, 7); Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (CD1: track 3; CD 2: tracks 1, 3).

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Auricle Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Without All the Chatter" CD/LP/Track Review Without All the Chatter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 9, 2017

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!