183

Joe Fonda: When It's Time

By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Fonda: When It's Time It would be a mistake to try and situate this record in a continuum of solo bass works that have been created in the past 30 years, starting with Barre Philips and Motoharu Yoshizawa's work in the late 60's.

Joe Fonda is not on some kind of mission to redefine the bass and its role in contemporary music; he's not a Dresserian guru of extended techniques or someone who has a concept of solo bass that's independent of his ensemble work, like Dominic Duval. On the contrary, Fonda's solo bass music is an expression of the same aesthetic that informs his ensemble work. Considering that his ensemble work counts as some of the best in the past decade of jazz, that makes this solo recording a very worthwhile listen. After all, any list of the five best jazz groups in the past ten years that didn't include the Fonda-Stevens group would just be a joke.

The music he plays here is essentially the same as when he takes a solo in one of the numerous ensembles he participates in; you can hear the other instruments ready to take slices of his bass whirlwind and chew them up in Braxtonian parallel layers of crystalline thematicism. His solo pieces here are filled with the same sort of energetic twists and turns that make the Fonda-Stevens group so enrapturing at their best.

In fact, it's kind of nice to hear one voice of such vital music isolated to make it easier to hear the naked logic of an individual musician. Of course, after a spin of this disc I'm anxious to hear Mark Whitecage or Paul Smoker working their magic in tandem with Fonda, but I can do so having spent some quality time getting acquainted with the rhythmic demons Fonda likes to wrestle with. By 'rhythm' I mean sweaty, pumping, rubber dances between fingers and strings, with globs of grease oozing out of every note. In fact, Fonda picks up his bow for only two of the eight pieces here; he prefers to pluck his way into epic grooves that mutate endlessly without loss of momentum. A perfect example is 'The Other Side of Things', one of my two favorite pieces on the disc; Fonda tosses out some concise and catchy themes and then runs in another direction with enough notes left in his hand to keep his rapid stream of variations connected to the bigger picture.

The net result is that classic sort of delicious tension where you really want to hear a certain theme come back in its entirety but you're still pretty happy with things as they're going. My other favorite is 'My Time with J. & E.', where Fonda makes some gripping transitions between first-rate timbral and textural explorations on one hand, and his more characteristic rhythmic boxing on the other. It makes perfect sense that the first tune on the disc is based on an old R&B riff: Fonda's music is rooted in a lot of good-old fashioned musical values, and he carries them with him even when he's pushing himself to be a full-blooded participant in the avant-garde jazz culture that has been one of his main sources of musical nourishment, whether at the hands of Anthony Braxton, Leo Smith, or the multi-media performance collectives he's had an affinity for over the years.


Track Listing: Second Time Around/My Time With J. & E./The Other Side of Things/When It's Time/I stepped into a Dream/Been There Before/No One There At All/Soon To Know

Personnel: Joe Fonda-bass

| Record Label: Jazz Halo | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Upward Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Upward Spiral
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "Southern Lights" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Lights
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Amorandom" CD/LP/Track Review Amorandom
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 3, 2016
Read "Inner Circle" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Circle
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 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!