cd – BASSINSTINCT – press

Bruce, Downtown Music Gallery, NY City,

BASSINSTINCT [PETER HERBERT et al] – Bass Instinct (Camerata 25089; EEC)

assInstinct is a contrabass sextet from Austria, which includes the wonderful Peter Herbert plus five other bassists with whom I am unfamiliar. Mr. Herbert composed or arranged about half of the pieces, with one Mingus cover, two traditional pieces and two pieces written or arranged by band-member, Ernst Weissensteiner. Contrabass ensembles are pretty rare. Although there have been a few bass quartets in recent years at Victo and at the Vision Fests. BassInstinct don’t use pickups or amplification, so their sound it exclusively acoustic. I dig the way certain members play the rhythm parts by tapping on their basses as the others play those difficult written lines in unison or harmony. This disc is superbly recorded in stereo so that one can hear the sounds panned across the stereo spectrum. The sextet perform Marcel Khalife’s „Taquassim 3“, which is a sumptuous middle-eastern delight. Khalife is an oud player from Lebanon. On „Wie gut wars“, each bassist strums one chord at a time, ever so elegant, melodic and filled with suspense, as one bassist solos. Mr. Herbert has composed some challenging and intricate music for the sextet, on „Kurz-Long“, the group is broken into sections, some plucking, some bowing, some banging, yet all tightly worked out. Charles Mingus‘ „Meditations“ is a wise choice as Mingus was also a master bassist and composer. The group is again broken into sections, with layers of lines and harmonies moving together superbly done and most haunting in their execution, with some amazing solos. Herbert’s 8-part suite, „Filmrequiem“, explores different approaches and landscapes for the six contrabasses. Each part of the suite involves different combinations of players and different techniques of playing the bass. Herbert has obviously found some kindred spirits in these other bassists‘ ability to play these difficult ideas or sounds. The two traditional tunes are unexpectedly soothing and rich in graceful melodies. „Funky Freedom“ is pretty funky, without being too silly, although basses do seem to inspire some dancing among the common folks. The last tune, „Cujoo“ is a rather lightweight ditty that had me humming along immediately. The funky bass solo is a complete gas and will have you snapping your fingers in no time. Overall, a swell disc considering it features six bass players, only. – BL CD $14

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