One of the artists will be 75 this October 13th and has played with such jazz giants as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, and was a founding of the group the LA Four. Our second artist has been called by Johnny Mandel "Nothing short of amazing. Between composing, arranging, and conducting, as well as being a superb bass player in both the jazz and symphonic idioms, who knows where his talent ends? ____ _____ can go just about anywhere from here." Leonard Feather of the L.A. Times said of him that he is a "phenomenon" whose "inovation, musicianship and wealth of ideas reflect his broad experience." Our third artist was born in Philadelphia and whose father played bass for "Philly Soul" for such superstars as The Delphonics, Blue Magic and Billy Paul. This artist has played with such jazz notables as Betty Carter, Chick Corea, Bob James, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, David Sanborn and Wayne Shorter.
The Telarc Jazz Record Label has put these three gentlemen together on a second C.D. called SuperBass 2. Who are these artists? None other than Ray Brown, John Clayton and Christian McBride in that order respectively.
SuperBass 2 was recorded live at the Blue Note Club in New York City, December 15-17, 2000. God bless the citizens of New York City and the city itself with the happenings that have happened since then especially on September 11, 2001.) Track one is called the Superbass Theme and is a short little :47 second ditty that can get your motor started.
The SuperBass 2 C.D. celebrates quite a few of the greats that has passed our way from the world of jazz including George Gershwin, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Rodgers, two of the artists on this release, namely Ray Brown and John Clayton and the writer of track three, Thelonious Monk. Track three is entitled Mysterioso. A mellow piece with the three basses being played in perfect harmony. Something that you can definitely sit back and groove to. John Clayton receives a round of applause for his great bass playing, something I'm sure he's quite used to.
For a C.D. that involves only three bass players this album really does it for me and I'm sure it will do it for you as well. Seems almost impossible that this release could sound so good but here it is on silver disc.
Along with celebrating the jazz celebrities mentioned earlier two of the greats from the land of soul are celebrated as well such as Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. The writers of the old Temptations hit Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Papa, track four, kicks off and jams to the hilt. Brown, Clayton and McBride have a blast performing this one for the audience. The three magnificent bassists along with the audience even perform some vocalizing on this track. George Fludas adds percussion to this number.
I wish I had been at the Blue Note these nights as it was as it should be "SuperCool." Ray Brown jams on his bass to Papa. Not surprising. Brown's always jamming on whatever he plays.
Tracks five, six and seven are from Porgy and Bess. Written by George Gershwin. They are Summertime, I Loves You, Porgy and It Ain't Necessarily So.
Track five, Summertime, has a great feeling to it as it sounds so "hot" just as summertime should be. Perfect harmony and the sound of three celebrated bassists. What more could you ask for?
Track six, I Loves You, Porgy I first heard as a child with my father playing it on the radio (he was a disc jockey) by Nina Simone and even then I loved it but with Brown, Clayton and McBride playing it, it gives it more of a special feeling.
This is a unique C.D. with how it was recorded. In the left speaker you hear John Clayton. In the right, Christian McBride and in the center? Ray Brown.
Track eight is Dizzy Gillespie's Birk's Works with Christian McBride doing a fabulous job and on track nine is the Richard Rodgers' composition, My Funny Valentine with a great performance by John Clayton.
Track eleven is called Taco With A Pork Chop and this is one super bad jam. With a spanish type tempo which must be the Taco part of the title and from the Pork Chop part? A cool jazz jam type of thing. Very, very hip listening.
Says Brown, the title points to the Los Angeles populace - that is Blacks and Mexican - Americans are to unite, they would constitute a strong political entity. So Brown is saying "Let's combine the two groups to gain powerful clout via - a - vis 'Taco With A Pork Chop', (using ethnic food symbols)."
The world of jazz has never known three better bassists than Ray Brown, John Clayton and Christian McBride and proof is in the pudding as they say. That pudding is SuperBass 2. I vote for SuperBass 3. How about it gentlemen?