Bob Dylan / Self Portrait

sp 1_opt.jpg

“All the tired horses in the sun, how am I supposed to get any ridin’ done….” In his autobiography Chronicles, his Bobness reveals that Self Portrait (1970) was an attempt to shed a segment, if not all of his fervent reverential fanbase who cast him as the “voice of a generation.” Regardless of Zimmy’s intentions, to my ears, this scorned two-fer and its extended Bootleg Series: Another Self Portrait emerges as a shambolic masterwork that divulges more about the artist than was probably intended. The rotating bass chair features Rick Danko on most of the tracks, along with Nashville studio cats Charlie McCoy, Bob Moore, the devil’s fiddle player Charlie Daniels, Stu Woods, and Wrecking Crew icon Joe Osborn. As a musician, I appreciate the informal, throw-it-all-against-the-wall aesthetic and target practice approach to the bass.

sp 2.jpg

Iwan Gronow

marr 1_opt.jpg

https://bit.ly/2IR7Dnn In the early 00’s when Johnny Marr produced Brit "Beatle Barnet Fair" Haven’s magnificent pair of dream pop platters Between the Senses - perhaps a nod’s as good as a wink to the Stones’ Between the Buttons – and the follow-up All For A Reason, Moz’s former mate was certainly enamored with the melodic pocket plectrum purveyance of bassist Iwan Gronow.

marr 2_opt.jpg

Anchoring Mr. Marr’s muscular post-Smiths ensembles, https://bit.ly/Yqnems  Iwan serves the mercurial Mancunian guitar hero quite effectively by way of a gritty, pedal pushing Fender P tones and supportive passages with an occasional harmonic foray into the upper register.

marr 3_opt.jpg
marr 4_opt.jpg

Traffic / On The Road

traffic 2_opt.jpg

Double live slabs are oft ponderous affairs, however to my ears, this terrific Traffic twofer with Muscle Shoals Swamper David Hood in the bass chair is indeed an exception. Waxed in Germany ’73 – hence the “wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn” cover artwork – Hood along with polyrhythmic percussion purveyors Jim Capaldi, Rebop, and Roger Hawkins stir up a Bitches Brew brouhaha on super stretched out renditions of the studio originals. David is a master of the pocket – rendering subtle variations on what are essentially jam vamps tailored to the improvisational prowess of Messrs. Chris Wood, Steve Winwood, and second keys man Barry Beckett.    https://bit.ly/2JFsgE9 

Traffic 3_opt.jpg

Phil Manzanera / K Scope

K-Scope.jpg

Affix Ferry to Phil Manaznera’s extraordinary solo sides; and you’ve got another generation or two of classic Roxy. Of all the outstanding work Bill MacCormick rendered in the service of Phil and 801, K-Scope (1978) is likely the pinnacle. With his resonant Fender P up, up, up, in the mix with an occasional tinge of flange, MacCormick flexes his funky rhythmic and harmonic chops on killer tracks that ache for a charismatic crooner. Cameos include John Wetton, Tim and Neil Finn, Paul Thompson, Lol Crème, Simon Phillips, and Mel Collins.

Bill MacCormack.jpg

Hot Tuna / Burgers

burgers 1_opt.jpg

Tuna morphs from a jam ensemble to a bona fide song band on their immortal third slab waxed in late ‘71, and which also marks their studio bow. Every Casady side is essential, however Burgers further reveals the innumerable ways Jack seamlessly works the pocket and serves as a countermelodic virtuoso. The abrupt tempo changes in “True Religion” https://bit.ly/2GwgXMp , the fuzzy sustained notes, chromatic runs on “Sea Child” https://bit.ly/2Jhwf9Y and “Water Song” https://bit.ly/2q3jfwt among others, weave their way through Jorma’s repertoire of master guitar techniques too numerous to cite here.

burgers 2_opt.jpg

Papa John and drummer Sammy Piazza add a funk - swing vibe to the proceedings. And that’s David Crosby on “Highway Song” https://bit.ly/2q1cPgo wherein Jack disposes the distortion for an usually resonant trad bass tone.         

burgers gate_opt.jpg

Ivan Kral

IVAN 00.jpg

https://bit.ly/2GjdLI2 He is a prolific Grammy Award winning composer, filmmaker, producer, solo recording artist,  multi-instrumentalist, and founding member of the Patti Smith Group wherein he shared bass duties with Lenny Kaye.

KRAL 0.jpg

His collaborations and band memberships span Blondie, Iggy Pop, John Cale, and John Waite, to site a scant English speaking few.

KRAL 1.jpg

As a bassist, Ivan was the consummate song player, working the pocket and outlining them changes to ensure everyone around him on the bandstand and the studio sounded great. And they did!     

KRAL 2A.jpeg

Dick Diamonde

easy 0_opt.jpg

He anchored “Austraila’s Beatles!”

easy 1_opt (1).jpg

Dingeman Adriaan Henry van der Sluijs aka Dick Diamonde was The Easybeats' bassist for their entire career which spanned 1964-69 and one successful reunion jaunt in 1986. Most noted for their hit “Friday On My Mind,” waxed with Shel Talmy in the producer’s chair when the lads migrated to swingin’ London in ‘67, Diamonde worked the pocket with a booming resonance symbolic of the era.

easy 2_opt (1).jpg

The band split following a pair of commendable slabs which forsook their powerful pop inclinations for heady psychedelic prog -which  failed to reach an audience. Guitarist / composer George Young’s siblings Angus and Malcom went on to fame and fortune with AC/DC, and along with his Easybeats partner Harry Vanda, Young formed Flash and the Pan whilst Diamonde toiled in several New South Wales ensembles garnering scant attention.        

easy 3_opt.jpg

 

Stephen Thompson

ST 1.jpg

https://bit.ly/2IX3G1h A soulful pocket player given to supportive harmonic extensions and grooves, the late Stephen Thompson was a magnificent anchor for John Mayall – especially the Bluesbreaker bandleader’s brilliant drummer-less ensemble as captured on the iconic live collection The Turning Point (1969).

ST 2_opt.jpg

An in-demand session player, Thompson also waxed seminal sides with Jesse Ed Davis, Stone the Crows, Denny Laine, Alvin Lee, and Kevin Coyne, among others.   

ST 3_opt.jpg
ST 4_opt.jpg

Robert Palmer / Sneakin' Sally

PALMER 1.jpg

The Meters and Stuff on a single slab under the semblance of Robert Palmer’s solo debut!

 George Porter Jr. 

George Porter Jr. 

Waxed in ’74 in ‘Nawlins and New Yawk, bassists George Porter Jr. and Gordon Edwards pulsate in the pocket with their patented Fender P penchant for lower register repartee replete with upper register notes of grace. 

 Gordon Edwards

Gordon Edwards

Working the almighty groove with drummers Pretty Purdie, Simon Phillips, and Ziggy Modeliste – George and Gordon’s mastery of tone, rhythm, and space is matchless – and not a note was popped, slapped, nor plectrum purveyed!     

Palmer 2.jpg

Lorraine Leckie & Her Demons / Live at Mercury Lounge

 Charlie DeChants, Lorraine Leckie, Hugh Pool

Charlie DeChants, Lorraine Leckie, Hugh Pool

Demons or angels? You decide!

Demons 2.jpg

Released as a fitting tribute to drummer extraordinaire Paul Triff, who passed shortly after this September 2015 gig, Live at the Mercury Lounge captures folk noir goddess Lorraine Leckie's posse in their natural habitat - the concert stage!

 Paul Triff

Paul Triff

Featuring (as usual) bravura performances by Ms. Leckie, violinist Pavel Cingl in John Cale/Jean Luc-Ponty mode, and local guitar legend Hugh Pool - the cat who stitches it all together is bassist Charles DeChants. Groovin' with a masterful command of rhythm and space, DeChants' legato phrasing and warm tone affords a heavenly pocket to further fortify Ms. Leckie's oft wicked libretto.

Demons 4.jpg

Super Session

super session_opt.jpg

Hearty hosannas aplenty have been heaped upon Super Session (1968) and deservedly so. It was the watershed slab that elevated rock musicianship to that of the hallowed jazz elites, in addition to serving as an everlasting showcase for the late, great Michael Bloomfield. Oft overlooked is the masterful work of bassist Harvey Brooks.  His earthy warm Fender tone, his fluid swing fueled phrasing, his nimble articulation and inventive voice-leading, his groove inflected supportive pocket and melodic playing to my ears, stands among the greatest performances ever waxed by any bass player in a rock format. 

Dig Harvey’s impeccable upright inspired approach on “Harvey’s Tune!” http://bit.ly/2lQ3W87 Sure, sure Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills, Barry Goldberg, and Eddie Hoh were already accomplished players at this point in their careers, yet Mr. Brooks made them sound even better. In fact, from Dylan to Miles and miles beyond, Harvey served as a vital catalyst in the bass chair with every artist he worked with. 

As I have huffed and puffed in Huff Post, http://bit.ly/2hOLzO3 Harvey Brooks deserves recognition for his immeasurable contributions to the art-form that is rock ‘n roll and popular music in all its variants including folk, jazz, and blues.  

 Harvey and his Fender headstock! 

Harvey and his Fender headstock! 

        

Andy West

west 1.jpg

He is giant of the instrument. Aside from musos and bass playing “guys/girls like us,” he is unknown to the masses even though his band, The Dixie Dregs, which he formed with guitarist Steve Morse in 1973 at my alma mater University of Miami, were among the most groundbreaking and “commercially accessible” fusion ensembles of their generation!

 

dregs 1_opt.jpg

Nowadays, between Dregs reunions, Andy West enjoys an equally stellar career as a software programmer / consultant. During his time with The Dregs, and later as a sideman, collaborator, and solo recording artist - Andy expanded the language of the bass guitar as an improviser, ensemble player, and sonic visionary.

dregs 2_opt.jpg

A master of fretless, extended range, trad four, plectrum, slap, and finger-style – Andy and the Dregs were truly an “American music” collective, boundlessly incorporating country, hard rock, jazz, blues, and folk in their remarkable canon of recorded and live work. 

 

dregs 3_opt.jpg

 

Though they flirted with mainstream acceptance towards “The Dregs” end of their initial run, they curiously never achieved the recognition bestowed the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Herbie’s Headhunters, and Weather Report. Go figure!       

  

Mad Season / Above

 John Baker Sanders

John Baker Sanders

http://bit.ly/2tPMebm Doomed by drug addiction, this 1990s alt-rock super group comprised from Seattle’s finest – Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Screaming Trees - waxed a gem of a slab that traversed ambient, jazz, blues, trad hard-rock and “grunge.”

mad season cover_opt.jpg

Bassist John Baker Saunders, who cut his teeth with notable artists Hubert Sumlin and The Walkabouts, among others, nimbly works the pocket and renders inventive harmonic extensions and legato passages.

mad season single_opt.jpg

Intense, understated performances from all involved: Layne Staley, Mike McCready, Barrett Martin, and Mark Lanegan – it’s pity most of Mad Season left this mortal coil way too soon.        

mad season portrait_opt.jpg

Ava & The Astronettes

Ava 1.jpg

http://bit.ly/2FARGnq Never pass up an opportunity to hear Herbie Flowers.

 Herbie Flowers

Herbie Flowers

Waxed at Olympic in ’73 and Electric Ladyland in ’74 the former David Jones’ former squeeze Ava Cherry borrowed her beau’s band (Aynsley Dunbar, Mike Garson, Mark Pritchard, Warren Peace, and Herbie) for a platter of Bowie left-overs and tunes penned by then emerging singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, plus geezers Roy Harper and Brian Wilson.

ava 3.jpg

Enjoyably campy, kitschy, and oft corny – Flowers flourishes with his usual contrapuntal and pocket genius.

 "Mind if I use Herbie?" 

"Mind if I use Herbie?" 

Diamanda Galas & John Paul Jones / Sporting Life

DIAMANDA 1_opt.jpg

http://bit.ly/2oSVc1S Out through the indoor?

 John Paul Jones "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow? Wot's that all about, mate?"  

John Paul Jones "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow? Wot's that all about, mate?"  

Akin to his celebrated bandmate Robert Plant, the post-Zep forays of the former John Baldwin are equally intriguing, though decidedly outside the mainstream.  On this remarkable 1994 collaborative effort with avant-garde diva Diamanda Galas, Jonesy works the pocket on tracks that echo the thunder of his former ensemble sans the (occasional) bombast and macho bravura.

DIAMANDA 3.jpg

Dispatching his usual rhythm & blues approach in favor of Led-like riffage rendered with a much sharper tone than our beloved I, II, III, IV slabs of yore, this platter effectively brings experimental into the hard rock realm with an enjoyable dosage of ‘70s swagger.

Whoa, and that’s The Attractions’ Pete Thomas on drums!  

diamanda 4.jpg

The Mod Frames

mod frames_opt (2).jpg

Behold the pure power of pop as purveyed in New York City 1981! Bassist Bruce Gordon anchors The Mod Frames with buoyant pocket grooves, upper register grace notes, and graceful contrapuntal passages akin to such masters as Sir Paul, Dee Murray, and Colin Moulding.

With Billy Altman (vocals/guitar), multi-instrumentalist Ben Rosenblatt, my drummer pallie David Donen and guitarist Mark Michaels, dig Bruce almighty on “I Don’t Want to Cry” http://bit.ly/2FtCp7w and “Anyone After You.” http://bit.ly/2FWUr03

How did the big time elude these maestros of melody? 

 The Mod Frames live at St. John's University

The Mod Frames live at St. John's University

Fleetwood Mac / Say You Will

McVie 0.jpg

My bass heroes are getting even better with age. Dig the contrapuntal movement of “Smile at You," http://bit.ly/2CQ8ZeH the fuzzy riffage of “Come,” http://bit.ly/2oHLxLn and the soulful underpinning of “Miranda” http://bit.ly/2FGQiwQ  - and that’s just three tracks from the last fab Mac slab which dates back to 2003. Perfect tone, perfect articulation, perfect note choices, and he was married to Christine Perfect. Instantly recognizable from the pocket to the melodic: John Graham McVie!    

McVie.jpg

 

 

FOR SALE

CLASSIC 1976 ERNIE BALL STINGRAY BASS

The Classic Stingray pays tribute to the original Music Man designs from the mid to late 1970's with added modern refinements. A string through body bridge, mute kit, small profile nickel frets and a curvy 7.5" radius neck are key specifications that harken back to the early days of Music Man production. A modern six bolt neck attachment and an easy access truss rod adjustment wheel ensure solid construction with no hassle adjustments. The classic tone remains true to the original with an ash body, 2 band EQ and a standard Music Man Alnico pickup.

Model: 4 String

Color: Vintage Sunburst
Neck: Maple
Pickguard: Black
Hardware: Chrome

Build Code 120-71-30-01

Street Price: $2,099.00

Excellent Condition: Best Offer

1976 STINGRAY 1_opt.jpg
1976 stingray 2_opt.jpg
1976 STINGRAY 3_opt.jpg
1976 STINGRAY 4_opt.jpg
76 Sting 1.JPG
76 Sting 2.JPG
76 Sting 3.JPG
76 Sting 4.JPG
76 Sting 5.1.JPG
76 Sting 5.JPG
76 Sting 6.JPG
76 Sting 7.JPG
76 Sting 8.JPG

1996 ERNIE BALL STINGRAY 5 STRING FRETLESS BASS

The first bass designed by Ernie Ball Music Man, the Stingray 5 was unveiled in 1987 and has been an industry standard for extended range basses ever since. With its powerful punchy sound, the added flexibility of additional pickups and a comfortably contoured body the StingRay5 satisfies even the most demanding of players.

The StingRay5 has an active 3-band preamp, MusicMan humbucker pickup with hum-canceling phantom coil, and unique 3-way switching (both coils in series mode, single coil, or both coils in parallel mode). Select hardwood body, and Schaller BM tuners. .

  • Model: 5 String Fretless

  • Active 3-band preamp

  • MusicMan humbucking with hum-canceling phantom coil and unique 3-way switching

  • Select hardwood body

  • Maple Neck, Rosewood Fretboard

  • Color: Black

  • Pickguard Black

  • Schaller BM tapered-post tuners

  • Volume, treble, mid, bass controls

Street Price:$1,949.00

Excellent Condition: Best Offer

FRETLESS 0_opt.jpg
FRETLESS 1_opt.jpg
FRETLESS 2_opt.jpg
FRETLESS 3_opt.jpg
Fretless 1.1.JPG
Fretless 1.JPG
Fretless 2.JPG
Fretless 3.1.JPG
Fretless 3.JPG
Fretless 4.JPG
Fretless 5.JPG

1999 ERNIE BALL STINGRAY 5 STRING BASS HONEYBURST  

The first bass designed by Ernie Ball Music Man, the Stingray 5 was unveiled in 1987 and has been an industry standard for extended range basses ever since. With its powerful punchy sound, the added flexibility of additional pickups and a comfortably contoured body the StingRay5 satisfies even the most demanding of players.

The StingRay5 has an active 3-band preamp, MusicMan humbucker pickup with hum-canceling phantom coil, and unique 3-way switching (both coils in series mode, single coil, or both coils in parallel mode). Select hardwood body, maple neck, and Schaller BM tuners. .

  • Model: 5 String  

  • Active 3-band preamp

  • MusicMan humbucking with hum-canceling phantom coil and unique 3-way switching

  • Select hardwood body

  • Maple Neck,  

  • Color: Honey Burst  

  • Pickguard: White  

  • Schaller BM tapered-post tuners

  • Volume, treble, mid, bass controls

Street Price:$1,300.00

Very Good Condition: Best Offer

hone1.jpg
hone 2.jpg
hone 3.jpg
hone 4.jpg
5 String 0.JPG
5 String 1.JPG
5 String 2.JPG
5 String 3.JPG
5 String 4.JPG

Jahn Xavier

 Jahn Xavier then....

Jahn Xavier then....

I've been hired to play guitar and bass on a friend's tracks, so I've been pulling my bass chops back into shape. Different muscles, different head. I love to play bass. If I could sing lead while doing so I would have saved myself many a runaround and played it in my own bands over the years, as good bass players have always come dear. (I might be a bit picky in that regard, too.

 Jahn Xavier, Robert Quine

Jahn Xavier, Robert Quine

When I first joined Richard Hell & The Voidoids in early 1979 I didn't own a bass guitar, so I used one of Richard's during the beginning of my tenure. I had been rehearsing with them for the first two months of that year, but nobody ever bothered to tell me that I was in the band during that time - I figured they were just trying me out, maybe waiting to see if they wanted someone else instead. I was sixteen and having fun just playing with Bob Quine and Ivan Julian and didn't want to rock the boat; but I also didn't want to invest in a bass if I wasn't going to get the gig.

One day in early March I finally asked if I was an official member and they all laughed, assuming that the four-day-a-week rehearsal schedule might have been a tip-off that I already had the job. Before each session, I had been meeting Richard at his apartment on 12th & A so I could carry the bass to the studio near Union Square. The day after I was anointed a Voidoid, Richard said: "OK, Mister Bass Player, it's time you got your own."

1 xavier.jpg

I went to We Buy Guitars on 48th Street and got this 1976 Fender Precision Bass for $325. Many years later when I was at my lowest ebb of drunkenness and depression, I would run to pay off the pawn ticket at the shop that held it, always just a day ahead of it being sold off. I'll always remember how happy I was when I pulled my life together enough to get it out of hock. It's a wonderful slab of wood, and every time I play it I remember how truly fortunate I have been, and how fortunate I am today.

Love to you, wherever you are. Yes, you.

 Jahn Xavier 2017

Jahn Xavier 2017

George Harrison 33 1/3

willie t_opt.jpg

He anchored George on his only US tour and he added a soulful  veneer to his seventh studio slab which also featured an All-American cast of Stuff keyboardist Richard Tee, along with David Foster, Alvin Taylor, Tom Scott, Billy Preston (on loan from the touring Rolling Stones), and Gary Wright. Dig Willie Weeks' thick slap passage to the opening cut http://bit.ly/2owCVHD "Woman Don't You Cry for Me."  Mr. Weeks grooves in the pocket ala his work with Donny Hathaway for "Learning How to Love You" http://bit.ly/2sRqSdr - a track written for Herb Alpert.  One of Hari's smoothest platters, this one won the ex-Beatle praise despite the fact that rock and roll times had changed. 

williw_opt.jpg