Arguing the best baseball player is like arguing the best jazz musician. Pre or post bop? Pre or post steroids - simply too many variables to consider and a good attorney would tell you 100 different solid cases could be made for each so...how about one of the very best original vocalists you may run across?
Paralysis by analysis is killing jazz and the perspective that a writer needs to maintain some reasonable framework of specificity without venturing off into the sonic gray areas that most record labels have set up for the consumer in an effort to maintain an air of hipness while still categorizing what they consider to be their product for easy sale. With David Basse and his latest release Uptown, "Kansas City Cool" comes to mind. Uptown takes cool to a special place, it creeps into your soul until it becomes a part of you. This is when not just jazz but music in general is hitting on all cylinders. Basse throws cool into overdrive.
Uptown takes "back in the day" and throws down an incredibly hip old school vibe with the help of the legendary Phil Woods on alto saxophone and clarinet. Basse is his own hybrid drawing from a plethora of musical influence that range from Mel Torme to Al Jarreau but with his own personal stamp on some iconic tunes where he retools the old school swing without ever getting close to that musical tripwire a lesser vocalist may hit with little effort.
"Uptown" and "Something Fried" kick off a deceptively subtle swing that is worked by a first call rhythm section in Mike Melvoin on piano, Steve Gilmore on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums. Melvoin's compositions fit in perfectly with the other tunes including "Parker's Mood" along with the Gershwin classic "Bidin' My Time" and one of the greatest jazz tunes ever - "I've Got The World On A String." Basse dials the Arlen classic back just a touch for a more organic presentation, real soul music presented with style, class and elegance.
One of the greatest dangers in a release such as this would be what I like to refer to as the "lounge lizard" effect where all that would be needed is 3 slightly inebriated receptionists from the office park down the street and vibe would be complete. A funny thing happened on the way to happy hour. David Basse is an original vocalist, soulful and entertaining phrasing and the obvious joy of a man that loves what he does leaps from the disc with each tune. A first call band that swings and David Basse come together to present an incredibly entertaining release!
Tracks: Uptown; Something Fried; 52nd & Broadway; Like Jazz; You Won't Hear Me Say Goodbye; Living Without You; Slow Boat To China; Parker's Mood; Bidin' My Timie; Traffic Jam; But Anyhow/The Blues Don't Care; I've Got The World On A String.
Personnel: David Basse: vocals; Phil Woods ( alto saxophone, clarinet); Mike Melvoin: piano; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.