Bass CDs

Low Standards: Jeff Berlin

Low Standards: Jeff Berlin
Raul Amador

jeff berlin low standardsJeff Berlin… Anytime I mention his name, there seems to be a ripple in the force and the wave of Berlin supporters or antagonists come to the surface and spout-off their opinions. No matter where you stand regarding Jeff’s musical philosophy, no one can  reasonably deny the simple fact that Jeff seriously knows his craft and is one of the major players of our time.

Jeff Berlin: Low Standards is a perfect example of a solid Jazz CD with Jeff’s electric bass in the forefront and a precise, no nonsense pair of musicians, Richard Drexler on Piano & Acoustic Bass and Mike Clark on Drums, rounding up the trio. The music is precise and tight and will certainly appeal to those that grasp this caliber of high level playing. The trio performs compositions by Wayne Shorter, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Bill Evans, Benny Gloson, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays.

Lets look at a couple of the tunes…

“E.S.P.” is a breakneck tempo piece that sets the bar high from the start. There is no holding back here as the lead electric bass runs with the melody with deliberate but intricate ease, while the walking acoustic bass keeps the grove pumping. Mid-tune, the tables turn and Jeff picks up the walking part and Richard cuts loose on piano. Of course the drums keep a steady, percussive foundation for these guys to frolic on.

“Falling Grace” takes a more harmonic tack and flows with smooth beauty. The trio interacts in an interlacing fashion, kind of like a “braid” of musicality. The switch from acoustic  bass to piano occurs seamlessly and the piece runs it’s course with steady, concise drumming throughout.

I could go on, but I think you grasp the generalities here. Jeff is a top-notch soloist and demonstrates this cut-after-cut. Similarly, as he takes over the “groove” foundation of each tune, he does so flawlessly. Richard and Mike are superb at their parts in this musical collaboration.The music simply speaks for itself.

If you are a serious jazz fan and enjoy bass, then this CD is a must hear for you.

Low Standards is available at

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Bass CDs
Raul Amador

Raul Amador serves as the Executive Editor of Bass Musician Magazine and is the Co-founder of V.I.E., LLC, publisher of virtual magazines. This dentist-by-day, Raul picked up the bass several years ago after a long hiatus from music. Born in Boulder, CO, Raul began playing guitar at a young age. By the time he moved to Texas at the age of 10, he was ready for his first gig with a local, junior rock band. After their first performance (and reviews), it was decided that he would study classical guitar instead. In 1970, his father took a teaching position in Puerto Rico and Raul moved with his family to the Caribbean. It was here that he began playing the cuatro and guitar with the Tuna de Cayey, a traditional Spanish group that has been together since 1964. During his 9 years as a member, he recorded over 11 albums and toured all over Puerto Rico as well as New York and the Dominican Republic. Tuna de Cayey is still actively recording and touring. Today, Raul is jamming with local groups in Portland and Vancouver and is hitting the music scene as Executive Editor with Bass Musician Magazine. He thrives in being part of a world-class team set on developing a virtual environment for professionals working in the field as musicians, clinicians and bass industry support as well as inspiring players just getting started.

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