I encourage contemporary musicians to avoid the brand "smooth jazz. Virtually all artists I have had the pleasure to speak agree that the label is no longer doing the music or musicians any favors. In playing musical prospector I came across a jewel in Boom Boom Boom. Bassist Roberto Vally has a long and distinguished musical resume that includes Michael Franks, Patti Austin and Arturo Sandoval. I had the distinct pleasure to chat with Roberto concerning his craft and debut release, Boom Boom Boom.
While Roberto is more closely associated "smooth jazz", the immediate hook here is Boom Boom Boom is an integral part of the exciting new future of contemporary instrumental music. Not just a release of pretty melodies and tired rhythms, Boom Boom Boom is an autobiographical look at Roberto Vally who in conversation stated, "We wanted something different, new sounds based on travels both here and abroad." The end result is a contemporary instrumental gem with a global beat that can best be referred to as the cultural by product of the Roberto Vally experience. In discussing how the release came to fruition, Valley described while living vicariously through some of the hit songs he had written for such artists as Richard Elliot he began exploring the idea of putting his own project together at the encouragement of such contemporaries as Paul Brown. One of the many reasons the new release works so incredibly well is the concerted effort to break free of flash of traditional electric base in the contemporary setting and in turn concentrate more on substance. The Roberto Valley style is his substance!
The amazing cover photograph prompted a question concerning the use of the electric bass in non traditional roles and the flip side for the stand up base. Roberto has the chameleon like approach to his craft that be it electric, stand up or even synth bass there is always the desire to explore while maintaining the collaborative approach of what actually fits a particular tune best. He went on to add that breaking away from traditional expectations is always exciting and while he shuns the label of "virtuoso" there is no doubt he can dig a trench with the best in the business. With a long and incredibly varied musical pedigree, I asked Roberto about valuable lessons learned or perhaps memorable highlights. Ever humble he recalled a story of working with Al Jarreau and while laying down a groove on synth bass the great singer was smiling and nodding his head with approval. Clearly an artist in love with his craft, not himself. Refreshing!
Of course artistic influences are a standard question yet Vally's answers gave keen insight into his rather eclectic musical DNA. He named Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro, Paul Jackson (yes, the bassist ), Stanley Clark, and Paul McCartney as influences with the most surprising being the often over looked bassist from one of the Miles Davis bands, Michael Henderson. To wrap up our conversation I inquired about a follow up to Boom Boom Boom to which he jokingly replied that Bang Bang Bang should be in the works by late 2014...Bang Bang Bang? I can dig it!
I want to thank my musical brother from another mother Roberto Vally and be sure and check out my review:
For more on Roberto Vally - http://robertovally.com/