215

Bob Cunningham: Walking Bass

By

Sign in to view read count
Didja hear? Bobby C's back in town! Actually, bassist Bob Cunningham has always been around, but his first and only album as a leader, Walking Bass , has been released for the first time on CD. Originally recorded in 1985, it features the late, great Bross Townsend on piano and Melvin Sparks (Hassan) on guitar, with Alvin Queen and Bernard Purdie sharing drumming duties.

The title cut opens the disc and is Cunningham's spin on a humorous jazz poem written by Keeter Betts. While Cunningham's amplified singing voice is average, his plucking is authoritative and spry, producing deep, round tones. If "Walking Bass" flirts with rap, Cunningham's arrangement of mentor Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" goes there headlong. This version of the Afro-Cuban classic, featuring excellent piano playing by Townsend and a blistering arco solo by Cunningham, includes a tongue-in-cheek rap homage to Diz, especially fitting since Gillespie was one of the founding fathers of bebop, a musical genre which, like rap, profoundly changed the landscape of world music and culture.

"Blues for Basie" is a juke joint delight, with Cunningham wailing over sparkling riffs by Townsend and solid drumming by Queen. Cunningham's bow sings like a horn on "Mama's House," and "D'Andrea" finds Cunningham overdubbed on synthesizer and bass, with Townsend contributing an absolutely brilliant solo. "Lover's Theme" features Cunningham wailing on arco like a free jazz saxophonist as Townsend and Queen function as dual timekeepers, and the group gives "A Night In Tunisia" an R&B/funk groove. Whether he's playing originals or covering classics, going pizzicato or bowing like a buzzsaw, Bob Cunningham and his band hit all the right notes. Let's hope that we don't have to wait another 19 years for his next release.

Visit Bob Cunningham on the web.

Personnel: Bob Cunningham: bass; Bross Townsend: piano; Melvin Sparks Hassan on guitar; Alvin Queen and Bernard Purdie: drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Nilva | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Oddara" CD/LP/Track Review Oddara
by James Nadal
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Twin Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Twin Talk
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Resolution" CD/LP/Track Review Resolution
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 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!