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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

Gear News: Future Impact V4 Guitar & Bass Synth Now Available in the U.S.

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Future Impact V4 Guitar & Bass Synth

Future Impact V4 Guitar & Bass Synth Now Available in the U.S….

The Future Impact V4 is an incredibly versatile pedal with an exceptionally wide range of sounds. In addition to producing synthesizer sounds such as basses, leads and pads, it can function as an octaver, chorus, flanger, phaser, distortion, envelope filter, traditional wah-wah, tremolo, reverb, etc., and even has a built-in tuner. It can also drive external synthesizer gear via the optional CV/Gate. As such, it can potentially replace an entire pedalboard of dedicated single-effect pedals. 

The very powerful signal processor of the Future Impact V4 is able to replicate the various oscillator, filter, amplifier and envelope generator blocks found in classic synthesizers. In addition, it contains signal processing blocks more traditionally used for processing the sound of an instrument such as a harmonizer block and audio effects such as chorus, distortion and EQ. These architectures complement each other in a very flexible way.

Check out this short video with new sounds:

The Future Impact V4 has a completely new hardware platform with numerous enhancements, some of which are:

– 32-bit ultra-low-noise analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters
– New app-based software architecture 
– Vastly advanced pitch tracking based on 30+ years of experience
– Hard Sync between oscillators to open new sonic worlds
– On-pedal edits that can be saved into program memories
– Total compatibility with all previous Deep Impact and Future Impact patches

Setting the standard for the bass guitar synth pedals since 2015, together with an enthusiastic community and long line of great artists, the Future Impact V4 is the guitar synth platform for the next decade. 

For more information, visit online at pandamidi.com/bass-guitar-synth

Exclusive U.S. distribution by Tech 21 USA, Inc

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Bass Books

Interview With Barker Bass’s Inventor and Writer Lee Barker

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Interview With Barker Bass's Inventor and Writer Lee Barker

If you are an electric bass player, this is an exciting time to be alive as this relatively new instrument evolves around us. Some creative individuals have taken an active role in this evolution and made giant leaps in their own direction. Lee Barker is one of these inventive people having created the Barker Bass. 

Fortunately, Lee is also an excellent writer (among so many talents) and has recently released his book “Plausible Gumption, The Road Between a Christmas Toolbox and The Barker Bass”. This book is a very fun read for everyone and shares a ton of details about Lee’s life in general, his experiences as a musician, a radio host, and a luthier. Now I am fortunate to have the great opportunity to gain even more insights into this renaissance man with this video interview.

Plausible Gumption, The Road Between a Christmas Toolbox and The Barker Bass is available online at Amazon.com 

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Bass Videos

Working-Class Zeros: Episode #4 – Boutique and Vintage Basses, Dress Code for Summer Gigs

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WORKING-CLASS ZEROS With Steve Rosati and Shawn Cav

Here is episode 4 of WCZ, we discuss boutique and vintage basses in the working-class gig world, as well as navigating the heat and dress code for outdoor summer gigs. Plus another installment of ‘Sure it’s awesome but, is it necessary?’

These stories from the front are with real-life, day-to-day musicians who deal with work life and gigging and how they make it work out. Each month, topics may include… the kind of gigs you get, the money, dealing with less-than-ideal rooms, as well as the gear you need to get the job done… and the list goes on from there.” – Steve the Bass Guy and Shawn Cav

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Bass Videos

Gear News: Ibanez & Graph Tech Launch Multi-Scale Bass with Cutting-Edge Tuning

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Gear News: Ibanez & Graph Tech Launch Multi-Scale Bass with Cutting-Edge Tuning

Ibanez & Graph Tech Launch Revolutionary Multi-Scale Bass with Cutting-Edge Tuning Technology.

Ibanez Bass, renowned for pushing the boundaries of innovation in the music industry, is proud to announce an exciting collaboration with Graph Tech Guitar Labs, pioneers in instrument technology. Together, they introduce the revolutionary SRMS725 5-string Multi-scale Electric Bass and SRMS720 4-string Multi-scale Electric Bass featuring Graph Tech’s cutting-edge Ratio® Machine Heads.

The SRMS725 & SRMS720, part of the esteemed Bass Workshop series, represent a fusion of unparalleled craftsmanship and state-of-the-art engineering. Boasting a mesmerizing Blue Chameleon finish, this instrument embodies elegance and performance.

At the heart of this collaboration lies Graph Tech’s Ratio Machine Heads – a game-changer in the world of bass tuning. Unlike traditional machine heads, (which use a single gear ratio for all strings, such as 20:1) Ratio® Machine Heads employ a calibrated gear ratio for each string position. Why? Every string reacts differently to tuning adjustments, making the Low E or B on a bass hard to dial in the tuning because they are so sensitive to any adjustment. Fine-tuning where you need it. With every string having the same feel and response, players experience unparalleled control over their instrument’s tuning, resulting in a predictable, precise tuning experience with the musician in total control. 1 turn = 1 tone on every string. This same feel and response carries over to ratio-equipped electric and acoustic guitars.

We found RATIO® machine heads to be extraordinarily accurate, and we were particularly impressed with how easy drop tuning is with them, especially when dropping to D on the fourth string and to A on the fifth.,” says Ibanez. “This characteristic makes RATIO® tuners incredibly well suited for hard rock and other heavier sounds, so we thought they’d be a perfect match for our SRMS720 and SRMS725 basses. We’re also aware that Graph Tech is entirely committed to continuous product innovation, which fully aligns with our philosophy at Ibanez. .”

Innovation has always been at the core of Graph Tech’s philosophy,” says Dave Dunwoodie, President at Graph Tech Guitar Labs. “With Ratio® Machine Heads, we’ve reimagined the tuning experience, providing musicians with a tool that enhances their creativity and expression. Teaming up with Ibanez to bring this technology to the SRMS725 & SRMS720 represents a milestone in our journey to redefine industry standards.

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

Visit Online:

markegan.com
markegan.bandcamp.com
Apple Music
Amazon Music

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