Music Reviews - Ray Brown, John Clayton, Christian McBride: Super Bass (SACD)

      Date posted: March 22, 2004

Super Bass 2 (telarc)

SuperBass 2
Ray Brown, John Clayton,
Christian McBride, basses

Multichannel SACD/Stereo CD


You might be inclined to pass off this disc, the second live outing for this ad-hoc group, as equivalent to such novelty efforts as Duelling Tubas, but in fact, this is the real thing, three of the best bottom feeders, so to speak, doing things on a bass that you never thought possible, (or even legal, for that matter). Another benefit of this disc, like Dean Peer’s solo electric bass CD, UCross, is that you’ll soon find all the vibrating objects in your listening room; I tightened up the track lights above my speakers this way, and got rid of a long-mysterious rattle.

      A live recording, this disc makes the most of the surround characteristics of SACD, with a very enthusiastic and participatory crowd at the Blue Note in New York. Particularly outstanding musically is Three Songs From “Porgy and Bess”, but all the rest of the jamming, picking, strumming, bowing, and other sounds you can’t describe are a lot of fun for all concerned, and very good, innovative jazz. I hope SuperBass will continue to delight for years to come. Ray Brown may seem to be everywhere, and he’s not getting any younger, but he sure can still play, as evidenced especially in It Ain’t Neccessarily So. His younger colleagues are equally adept in the depths, and up the neck of this wonderfully versatile instrument.

      And coming back to the word used as we started these reviews, amiable, this coming together of low frequencies is more than that, an infectious cameraderie that involves everybody in the place. Listening to this SACD in surround is very much like being there, maybe even better because the beer is cheaper (and the sound is almost certainly better). Buy this disc even if you don’t have an SACD player.

     Andrew Marshall

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