New York-based bassist/composer Christian Fabian has held the bass chair in the Lionel Hampton Big Band for over a decade and has built a reputation in the jazz world as a solid purveyor of the bottom end. For The Masters Return! Fabian is joined by veterans Mike Longo (piano), Lewis Nash (drums), Jimmy Owens (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Andres Boiarsky (tenor saxophone).
The disc's twelve tracks strike a nice balance between standards, jazz classics and originals, most of which are contributed by Fabian. "The Wayshowers," Fabian's pulsating 6/8 groove, opens the session with imaginative vigor. The bassist bows with focused phrasing and unwavering intonation through the melody of "My One and Only Love," switching to meaty pizzicato during Longo's swinging solo.
In fact, meatiness may be the best way to describe Fabian's overall sound. Whether walking or soloing, it's his uncompromising tone that keeps the listener engaged. Spreading the funk on thick, Fabian breathes life into Herbie Hancock's two-chord warhorse "Chameleon." The bassist's duet with Nash on "Willow Weep for Me" is a highlight of the disc, ripe with bouncy riffs and meticulously placed double-stops.
Owen's plays with tenacity and assuredness on Dizzy Gillespie's "Bebop," creating lines that are at once dazzling and lyrical. The trumpeter gracefully leads the way through his own composition "Dear Thaddeus and Roland," an endearing ballad with a bolero-inspired feel. Boiarsky, whose sound is somewhat reminiscent of the late Joe Farrell, plays wonderfully on Fabian's delicate waltz, "Morning After," as well as the aforementioned "Chameleon."
With superb performances and creative composing/arranging, The Masters Return! is a well-crafted collection of straight-ahead jazz. Fabian's musical vision is at once steeped in tradition and forward thinking.
The Wayshowers; My One and Only; Bebop; Morning After; Chameleon; Summerland; Willow Weep for Me; Billie's Bounce; Dear Thaddeus and Roland; Abian Blue; All Blues; Milestones.
Christian Fabian: bass; Mike Longo: piano; Lewis Nash: drums; Jimmy Owens: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andres Boiarsky: tenor saxophone.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.