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BassPlayer 2017-03

BassPlayer 2017-03

CS Oskar Cartaya My goal

CS Oskar Cartaya My goal is to both engage and challenge the listener along this global journey. The album title has dual meanings: In addition to the literal translation of “bass world,” the term el bajo mundo refers to the underground or underworld and the mysterious, unsavory characters who populate it. How would you describe the role of the bass on the record? I’ve found as a composer you view the instrument differently. I have the liberty of figuring out how dominant or how subliminal I want the bass to be. Taking a cue from all the great bassist–composers, I’ve learned that the stronger you make the foundation, the more you can put on top of it. That said, the bass speaks on all different levels on the album, from front-and-center to deep in the pocket, and that’s the blessing of being in charge. The opener, “Truky Paco,” has that sense of being built from the bottom. Exactly. That came about while I was practicing and my two dogs started playing and running about wildly. I tried to mimic their movements with notes, and that’s where the core rhythm line came from, and I wrote upper melodies for the horns from there. Then I went in the studio with [drummer] Chris Coleman, told him what I was looking for, and turned him loose. Later, I added the flavors of Latin percussion and the violin playing steady 16ths, hillbilly-style. “Gafieira” and “Flamencocho” have a Brazilian and flamenco flavor, respectively. “Gafieiera” was a tune I had in my head, with wordless vocals and Brazilian guitar-like comping, which I did on bass. The rhythm of the track—a batucada, which is a type of samba—was created by percussionist Alberto Lopez, who is Colombian but is an expert on Brazilian rhythms. The song got its title from legendary engineer i INFO LISTEN Bajo Mundo [2016, Bajo Mundo Music]; My Music, My Friends, My Time [2004, O.Y.E.]; Carlos Rodgarman, The Rodgar Band [2016, Rodgarman Music]; Humberto Ramirez & Oskar Cartaya, Lifetime Friends [2015, Nilpo Music]; Herb Alpert, Passion Dance [1997, Almo Sounds]; Spyro Gyra, Fast Forward [1990, GRP] EQUIP Basses Sadowsky 1989 J-Style, Metro UV70, and NYC Will Lee; fretless Mayones Patriot 5-string; Kala California Acoustic/Electric U-Bass; Sire V7 5-string; Ampeg and Zorko Baby Basses; Lemur Stanley Clarke prototype acoustic bass (with Thomastik Spirocore Solo S43 strings, Gage Realist pickup, and German-style bow) Strings La Bella RX Stainless Steel and Nickel-Plated (.045–.105) Amps Aguilar AG 500 or Tone Hammer head with SL 112 or SL 410X cabinet Effects Assorted Dunlop and Aguilar pedals, Xotic X-Blender Other Hipshot XTender (on all 4-strings), Reunion Blues, Gruv Gear, GoGo tuner, D&A guitar stands Recording Bajo Mundo REDDI Tube Direct Box to Manley 16x2 Tube Mixer to Manley Variable Mu Limiter/ Compressor JESSE VENDETTA 30 bassplayer.com / march2017

Jon D'Auria Moogie Canazio, who mixed the album. He said it reminded him of the sounds in a gafieira, which are speakeasies in his native Brazil. Credit for “Flamencocho” goes to my beautiful wife, who makes an amazing half-flan/half-cake dessert called a flancocho. When I brought a piece to my friend, the great flamenco dancer Manuel Gutierrez, he tasted it and jumped up in joy and started doing some serious flamenco moves! That gave me the song idea. I had my bass with me, so we started working on it. Afterward he said, “I want to change my artistic name to Flamenco-cho.” “Mateo’s Lullabye” and “Alma Gemelas” feature your fretless playing. The lullabye, named for my son, came to me the day my wife told me we were going to have a baby. Originally I envisioned just the toy piano you hear at the start, and fretless. Then I felt it was asking for more, but I was too attached to the piece to do it justice. I called my friend Franky Suarez, who writes for the symphony orchestra in Puerto Rico, and he created a beautiful arrangement with strings and French horns. “Alma Gemelas” means twin souls or kindred spirits, which is how I feel about pianist Carlos Rodgarman—I co-wrote this with him, and he included the same version on his excellent upcoming album, The Rodgar Band. The piece is like a classical work, where it’s all about the interpretation of the melody. I used my fretless Mayones Patriot on both songs; it has a semi-hollow body with magnetic and piezo pickups that you can blend, all of which give it a unique, singing tone. You reach for your Kala U-Bass, your Baby Bass, and your upright on “Los Del Sur,” “Tumbao Cachao,” and “Get Up.” “Los Del Sur” is my anthem for young immigrants, utilizing various South American rhythms. It was inspired by a news story in which homeless children from across Latin America were bused to Arizona only to face picketers and opposition. I couldn’t find a bass that sat in the track right until I thought of my U-Bass, and it fit like a glove. “Tumbao Cachao” is dedicated to the one and only Cachao. The melody is typical of him, zig-zagging through the rhythms and the clave and tying them all together like a needle and thread. I played my prototype Lemur Stanley Clarke upright, which was a gift from Stanley. “Get Up” is a live party track, to close the album on a high note. It has a boogaloo groove, which was the mix of Latin and soul music that was happening in the ’60s, before salsa arrived in the ’70s. Stanley guests on bass guitar on “A La ’70s.” What can I say about Sir Stanley? He’s the Lord of the Low Frequencies, and he’s been such an important mentor to me in and away from music. That song started with the little Stanley-like phrase that opens the track, and it built from there into a tribute to the early days of fusion. I asked Chris Coleman to channel Billy Cobham for his part, and it was fun adding all the keyboard sounds of the bassplayer.com / march2017 31 WW_CS_LTD2017_2,375x9,75_USA.indd 1 08.01.17 11:52

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