The Intimacy of the Bass
The duo is perhaps the most flexible, intimate and subtle orchestration in the world of music. It allows the listener access into the center of the group where all the deepest communication takes place. The duo is also one of the most challenging formats, because it demands that two performers align their conceptions about time, swing, pitch, etc., and then strive to get free enough to enjoy every minute of the music that happens.
Rufus Reid and Michael Moore are the “duo” on this recording and they are individually and collectively fantastic throughout. What they have accomplished here, with such style and grace, is incredible. Maybe I’m biased, but I happen to think that a Double Bass Duo has to be one of the most challenging of all to perform and record. Of course, when you pair two of the greatest jazz bassists in the world, you can’t go too far wrong!!! Still, it is a real testimony to the depth of maturity and musicianship that Rufus and Michael possess in the way they really play TOGETHER (check out how hard they swing from the downbeat of the first tune onward). They each have their own highly developed style with beautiful tone, taste and sensitivity, and are able to compliment each other with great ease, SINGING on an instrument that can be downright ornery at times. Because of their depth of overall musicianship, they are able to uphold the jazz tradition, providing the foundation and groove for one another with an understanding of history. Then, when it is time to solo they have the lyricism, wit and harmonic sophistication and swing to engage the listener. These are the qualities of the rare musician (on any instrument) who has found his or her “voice.”
The music chosen for this recording is a beautiful blend of classic jazz tunes, standards, Brazilian and Latin sounds, and some great originals from Rufus and Michael. The solo pieces (“When I Wage Battle, Next” and “I Can’t Explain”) are also particularly interesting and truly belong in the “Tour de Force” catalog of Bassdom. Also noteworthy are the fine orchestrations and arrangements on this recording. The clarity in the writing and the ensemble playing make the listener forget the difficulties involved in arranging and performing music for two basses. Rufus and Michael make great use of the wide range of sounds that the bass has to offer, from singing arco lines to the soulfulness of the blues, and everything in between. They also exemplify the unique spirit of empathy that bassists have for each other in such a relaxed manner that is truly inspiring.
I must also mention the obvious care that went into getting the basses
recorded and mixed properly. Hats off to Rufus, Michael and Ned Mann
In closing, on a personal note, thanks to Rufus and Michael for asking me to participate. They are two strong examples of people whose warm personalities are mirrored in their fine playing. I met and had some lessons with Rufus when I was 15 years old, and his encouragement over the years has meant a lot to me. I’ll also never forget the first time I heard Michael in a duo with Gene Bertoncini, some years back, and how it knocked me out. We finally met a couple of years ago and it is no surprise that he is also a true gentleman of the Bass.
So, enjoy listening and God Bless you all.