Drums and Bass – Part 1

I’ve always preferred trios, quartets, and quintets when I’m listening to jazz. Trios do not always have drums and bass, with experimentation and preferences varying instrumentation. It is unusual for quartets, quintets and sextets not to have an strong rhythm section including drums and bass. I’m listening to Dr. John and Jimmy Smith on the Hammond B3 rock a blues number “Only in it for the money, ”with a walking bass, and a regular rock steady beat on the drum kit. This is Saturday Night Blues, hosted by Holger Peterson on Radio Two Saturday’s from 6:00-8:00 Central Time. Michael Kaeshammer is up next showing what a strong left hand can add to the bass and the beat.

Contemporary and Canadian
Locally I like to listen to Curtis Nowasad, a drummer, band-leader, arranger and composer. It’s been in heavy rotation with Brandi Disterheft a bassist of whom Oscar Peterson said “She has the same lope or rhythmic pulse as my bassist, Ray Brown. She is what we call serious.” Ray Brown most likely one of the earliest bass players I would have noticed because he played regularly with Oscar Peterson and often in the band on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show.” The next would be Dave Young.

Nowasad has released two CDs getting better all the time. He works now mainly in New York. The only thing I don’t like on his cds are the pretentious titles, like The Skeptic & the Cynic, which the name of his second CD. His first was called Dialectics. The title song is Nowasad’s composition, and provides Steve Kirby, on acoustic bass, an opportunity to show that he has the right stuff, as does Nowasad as a composer. I really like Nowasad’s duets with Jimmy Greene on sax for “Definition Re:definition. ”

Disheart is serious enough to have a lot of fun with a broad range of styles exhibited on her cd Second Side http://www.brandidisterheft.com/. Her debut album called Debut won a Juno and she has appeared as a bassist on Orange is the New Black. Second Side does not seem to get old with many repeated listenings. It opens with “Sketches of Belief” (Nowasad not alone in philosophical titles, this one by way of Miles Davis.) and a simple repeated bass interval, which is used often in the jazz I listen to.220px-Brandi_Disterheft

Most notably “All Blues” another Miles Davis composition and a standard from his Kind of Blue album. Ron Carter, another bassist I listen to regularly, has a wonderful languid version where the simple bass-line is a grove a rather than punctuation, Hopefully I’ll get to his album called All Blues later on.

Disterheft sings in English and French, and combines a lovely twang guitar opening with a syncopated bossa nova beat in “Combien de Chances” composed by Brandi Disterheft/Anjie Jaree foregrounding her bass playing as well as her singing. I wish I could see her perform live in Winnipeg. The other highlights of this album are Brandi Disterheft & Rhys Nowell Fulber composition “Let Her Shine,” which she really does, a song that features the bass as a lead instrument, and adds other instruments, and strikingly, a chant right at the end. She claims Mingus as her spiritual and musical connection, and this is just the most fitting tribute I’ve heard to my biggest jazz bass hero.


More bass Players

Dave Young


Ron Carter

Dave Holland

Charlie Haden

Then Drummers

My hard bop heroes:

Max Roach with Clifford Brown

Art Blakeley







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