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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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S. M. V.


Dreyfus Jazz FDM 46050 369212



1. Maestros de las Frecuencias Bajas
2. Thunder
3. Hillbillies On A Quiet Afternoon
4. Mongoose Walk
5. Los Tres Hermanos
6. Medley: Lopsy Lu, Silly Putty
7. Milano
8. Classical Thump
9. Tutu
10. Lil' Victa
11. Pendulum
12. Lemme Try Your Bass
13. Grits
Stanley Clarke - Basses (tracks 1-7, 9-13)
Marcus Miller - Basses, bass clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, synths, beat prog, Mini-Moog
Victor Wooten - Basses (tracks 1-11, 13)
Ruslan Sirota - Keyboards (track 1)
Ronald Bruner Jr. - Drums (tracks 1, 10, 13)
Patches Stewart - Trumpet (tracks 1, 6)
Steve Baxter - Trombone (tracks 1, 6)
Ariel Mann - Synths (track 1)
Butterscotch - Vocals, beat box, voice trumpet (tracks 2, 9, 11)
Derico Watson - Drums (tracks 3, 4)
George Duke - Clavinet, Mini-Moog (tracks 3, 6)
Kevin Ricard - Percussion (tracks 4, 5, 7)
Chick Corea - Piano (track 4)
Poogie Bell - Drums (tracks 5, 6)
J. D. Blair - Drums (track 9)
Karlton Taylor - Keyboards (track 9)

This CD is rather like "The Three Tenors" - but using bass-players instead of singers. Like The Three Tenors, it features two famous performers - Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller - plus one lesser-known musician: Victor Wooten (who has nevertheless played with such stars as Larry Coryell, Prince, Branford Marsalis and Bela Fleck). Three bassists on one album might seem excessive but the players can make their basses sound like guitars (as in Los Tres Hermanos), so it is not all a cacophony of deep notes.

Having said that, I should note that the first track is very noisy - almost like heavy metal, with pompous keyboards and thudding bass guitars. But Clarke, Miller and Wooten are clearly having a ball. Thunder is spoilt by the electronic drumbeats and mystifying vocal intrusions. But Hillbillies on a Quiet Afternoon has the benefit of a real drummer and a catchy tune by Wooten and Clarke. There's a bass solo on this track, but the sleeve-notes don't tell us who does which solo.

The predominantly low sounds are in danger of becoming excessive, so it feels a relief when Chick Corea's airy piano enters for a solo in Mongoose Walk. Many of the other tracks are in jazz-fusion style, with heavy bass rhythms. But variety is provided by Stanley Clarke's arco bass in Milano, and duets between Wooten and Miller on Classical Thump and Clarke and Miller in Lemme Try Your Bass.

The featured musicians clearly have secure techniques and plenty of ideas, but this may still be an album which will appeal primarily to other bassists. Devotees can catch the trio on their world tour, which continues into October.

Tony Augarde


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