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‘Brazilian Girl’s’ Jesse Murphy : Progressive Rock Update With Brad Houser

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Hello bassers. My name is Brad Houser and I have been given the privilege/honor of writing this column for Bass Musician Magazine. Over the next few months, I will be sharing a few different bands/artists that have fired me up and brought joy and excitement to my realm.

So, first off, one of my favorite bands of all time, Brazilian Girls. (Official website, (www.braziliangirls.info)

Brazilian Girls formed this decade in NYC, reportedly from jam sessions at NuBlu, a nightspot on Manhattan’s East Side. The group jammed under the name “Shitty Shitty Jam Band” (!) LOL At some point they became Brazilian Girls. There are no Brazilians and only one girl in the group. Brazilian Girls have released three CDs on Verve/Forecast since 2005. Their second CD, “Talk to La Bomb” is a bass tour de force, spotlighting the wizardry of Jesse Murphy.

Mr. Murphy, a classically trained bassist-turned-Fender-ninja, is simply outstanding on this CD. Previous to Brazilian Girls, Murphy had played with John Scofield on his CD, “Uberjam” and also did a short stint with Me’Shell Ndgeocello. His work on the title track “Talk to the Bomb” is nothing short of astonishing, sort of a combination of James Brown and avant-garde chamber music. The outro section of the bass track is simultaneously free-form and deep in the pocket, quite a feat indeed.

Another standout track is “All About Us”. Check out how the bass morphs from 3/4 to 4/4 in the intro. Genius! Harmonically speaking, this tune is practically a doctoral dissertation in A-flat ascending melodic minor. For extra bonus points, play along with this track and try to match Murphy’s laid back/energetic groove.

One of my personal favorites is “Sweatshop”. The song starts as a dub/reggae sort of thing and morphs through a soca sort of feel into jungle/drum-n-bass at the end. For maximum ear nirvana, experience the angelic chorus of voices in the outro through headphones. Sweet!

One striking feature of Murphy’s performance on this record is his brown tone, courtesy of his mid 60’s Fender Mustang, quite an anomaly in this age of boutique furniture basses. Check out BG’s YouTube footage from the David Letterman show, especially their wardrobe selection—true fashion pioneers. One can hear Jesse’s browntone Mustang in full effect in this clip.

“Talk to La Bomb”, while not specifically a rock record, is Progressive in the extreme. It is some of the most forward-thinking “Pop” music that I’ve ever heard. Brazilian Girls’ music strikes me as an exotic combination of R&B, fusion, new wave, afrobeat, ’50’s rock ‘n roll, and dance music. Think Fela, Deborah Harry, and James Brown having daiquiris at the beach in Rio. This CD lived in my player for months. I’ve listened to it at least a hundred times, no joke (I’m a bit obsessive). Upon further reflection, I am nominating “Talk to La Bomb” one of the top ten bass CDs of all time…

It is an honor to write this column for you, my fellow low-enders. Thank you, BH

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

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Bass Videos

Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More – February 2024

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Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More, January 2024

Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More…

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

I have always been a huge Styx fan. Their music kept me awake during countless nights studying and gave my imagination a place to escape when I had a moment to take a break. 

I had the immense opportunity to chat with STYX bassist Ricky Phillips for our August Cover in 2017 and follow his projects as time passed. Now, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with Ricky as he has been super-busy over the past six years. 

Join me as we take a deep dive into the band’s most recent album “Crash the Crown” and EP “The Same Stardust”. Ricky shares some insights into the herculean team effort behind the scenes and the musical process that keeps them ever so busy and how he has updated his sound. 

Without further ado… Here is Ricky Phillips!

Photo: Jason Powell

“Crash of the Crown” lyric video

“Reveries” lyric video

“Save Us From Ourselves” lyric video

“Sound the Alarm” lyric video

“Too Much Time On My Hands” Zoom video 2020

Visit online:

www.Styxworld.com
FB & IG @styxtheband

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Bass CDs

New Album: Ross Valory Debut Solo Album, All Of The Above + First Single

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New Album: Ross Valory Debut Solo Album, All Of The Above + First Single

Ross Valory, All Of The Above + First Single…

ROSS VALORY, regarded as one of rock’s best bass guitarists and an original member of the multi-platinum band Journey until his 2020 departure, returns today (January 17) with the video for “Tomland.” It’s the hypnotic first single from the bassist and songwriter’s debut solo album ALL OF THE ABOVE due out this April (exact date TBA) on OID Music. Watch the movingly atmospheric video, directed by Michael CottenHERE for the single which is out this Friday (January 19).

Penned by VALORY, the all-instrumental “Tomland” marks the second piece recorded for the project—and the first done entirely at his new studio in the East Bay area of Northern California. The track builds to a ripping, climactic solo by red-hot guitarist Miles Schon, drummer Prairie Prince and keyboardist Eric Levy. VALORY had the basic parts kicking around since shortly after leaving the Steve Miller Band in 1972, a bluesy set of chords that roll into each other mellifluously, something he had jammed on a lot over the years. He pulled it out to fashion a piece that not only recalls the passing of collaboratorTom Size (accomplished engineer known for his work with Mr. Big, Y&T, and Aerosmith), but also offers an affirmation of resolve to move forward, the sunlight of optimism illuminating the process.  

ROSS VALORY always had pieces of music tucked away that he had written, although songwriting contributions to Journey slipped away after the first three “experimental” albums. As a member of Journey, VALORY concentrated on shaping the rhythm section and contributing his baritone vocals to the background blend.

During the band’s second coming following the 1995 reunion album Trial By Fire, VALORY began sorting through his files and polishing up some of his old notes. In between tour dates, he pulled together a tight-knit group of collaborators and slowly began to finish what he started. After a lifetime in music, VALORY scrupulously etched ALL OF THE ABOVE. The album was produced by VALORY and co-produced by Jacob Stowe and Eric Levy.

VALORY developed a repertory company of musicians over the years that came together at his studio. He cultivated individual numbers like sprawling projects, experimenting with different arrangements played by an assortment of musicians. Sometimes spending years jamming on these ideas, the pieces took shape slowly. Different ideas were tried and discarded, remodeled and refurbished. The basic concept was to find the heart of the material and expand upon it until VALORY could refine and shape the music’s path to his supreme satisfaction. He cast specific musicians to specific parts. The studio became his laboratory and the compositions his experiments.

From the Latin-fired intensity of “Wild Kingdom” to the ethereal dirge of “No One Wins a War,” the raucous party on “Low Rider” or the brilliant reprise ofSantana’s “Incident of Neshabur,” the album presents an evolved artist fully in command of his vision, a lifetime of experience behind the project, augmenting his core associates with guest musicians such as Gregg Errico ofSly & the Family Stone, drummer Steve Smith, and saxophonist Marc Russo. The nine tracks on the album represent the full maturity of VALORY’s musical gifts, cutting a broad swath through the instrumental territory the music travels. He plays keyboards, guitar, and, of course, many basses in a display of cultivated virtuosity across a palette far broader than could be found in his work with Journey. He is stepping out from behind his bass and, for the first time in his more than half-century as a professional musician, representing his vision and his compositions.

VALORY left Journey in 2020 and the band members worked out their issues in a peaceful mediated settlement. VALORY, who spent most of his life as a member of Journey, has no regrets. He counts his blessings at having spent an amazing career with a remarkable group of musicians who succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

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Bass Videos

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner…

I am pretty sure that everyone is aware of Malcom-Jamal Warner’s work as an actor. What may be less known is his work as a director, poet, musician, and most importantly for us, a bass player. With four albums of his own, Grammy nominations and wins, as well as a sizable amount of ongoing live gigs, Malcolm is dedicating a serious amount of his attention to his music.

Join me as we hear about Malcom’s musical journey, projects, his gear choices, and plans for the future.

Here is Malcom-Jamal Warner!

Photos: Dwain Govan @dwain_go / Conrad Montgomery Mckethan @eyeconimages

Visit Online:

malcolmjamalwarner.com
IG @malcolmjamalwar
Twitter @malcolmjamalwar 
Facebook: Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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