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Just Outside Of Normal by Stuart Hamm

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Just Outside of Normal by Stu Hamm Review by Raul Amador –

I met Stu in Anaheim this past January at Winter NAMM. I was standing in the consistently long line to get coffee at Starbucks one morning and he walked up right behind me and we got to talking… I don’t think I have ever met such a nice, down to earth guy. We chatted about music and the Bass and before you know it I have this CD to listen to. Anyway, I just want to thank Stu again for sharing his work with me, especially one of such extraordinary caliber!

I really enjoyed every track on this CD. Stu promptly demonstrates that he is the master of his domain. He plays what he chooses with such confidence it actually made me smile. There is groove, there is speed, there is technique and there are some very unorthodox choices. Stu Hamm has his own “voice” and isn’t afraid to “speak up”! The extraordinary group of musicians that Stu recruited to collaborate on this work facilitates such expression.

Let’s start with “The Obligatory Boogie”. Stu starts us off with a driving rock tune that gets your pulse going; Great to wake up to and drive to work with. The bass work here is precise and impressive!

Now, lets get “Going to California”. We are treated to a musical vision of beauty and grandeur. It’s like seeing pictures but with your ears. This take is soothing, melodic and loaded with tasteful tones including harmonics; I really like the chromatic progressions here.

“The Clarinet Polka” would have been the last tune I expected to hear on the CD but there is, and it is really good. You might wonder how I might know what I am talking about but I admit that I played the accordion as a child and spent a fair amount of time in Polka halls in Colorado listening to the likes of Frankie Yakovich. Who but Stu would play this?

“Windsor Mews” is built on some very cool variations of counter-sliding chords and Joe Satrinis’ guitar playing fills out the piece with some lip-curling playing.

“Just Outside of Normal”, the title track, is another visual piece that takes us to the great Midwest. Let your mind wander to a farm just outside of Champaign, Illinois where Stu grew up. Listen for the Dotar solo by Stu’s brother Bruce. Total Americana.

Now a classical piece! “Adagio” is extremely beautiful and masterfully done and on our instrument! Full of feeling, I can barely see to type this review as my eyes tear up… thanks Stu…

“Big Roller” shows us a swinging version of Stu. The solid Bass platform allows this piece to highlight more of the other musicians where violin, sax, drums and piano take us back in time to an era of music long past.

“Uniformitarianism” has an ethereal kind of “New Age” feel to it; this is a tune that makes you want to think deeper thoughts about life in general. Frank Gambale on guitar reaches those high notes that scream out but in a good way. The bass scaffolding under this tune is deep and multidimensional.

The finale “Lucidity” is the only “vocal” piece and is a soothing, lullaby-like piece with the voice of Malika Ataoui who sings with Cirque Du Soleil. The bass backdrop has a “Happy Trails” quality and is complimentary to the relaxing feel of the tune.

So, there you have it. “Just Outside of Normal” is an amazing piece of work that I intend to enjoy on many more occasions! Discover Stu Hamm’s talent for yourself, you will not be disappointed!

Just Outside of Normal by Stu Hamm is available at Amazon.com

Visit online at www.stuarthamm.net

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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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

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Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

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Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

I was intrigued when The Bastard Instrument showed up on my desk… let’s dig in!

When we dive into the history of our beloved instrument, the bass, we find roots that go back as far as the 15th century. This instrument was a member of the violin family and was for the longest time, an acoustic instrument. As the years passed and music changed, there was a need for the instrument to evolve and the electric bass was born.

Comparatively, the electric bass is a relatively new instrument with its earliest appearances dating back to the 1930s and it is exciting to be an electric bass player while this history unfolds around us. Fortunately for us and future generations to come, Professor Brian F. Wright has taken on the herculean task of documenting the trajectory of the electric bass with this excellent book.

The Bastard Instrument presents an extraordinary amount of fine details about the instrument itself, the development of the amplification to handle its output, the pioneers that dared play it, the rapidly evolving music that flourished because of its presence and so much more. 

When I first started reading this book, I noticed that it felt a tad academic, like a textbook (it might be one someday) or a doctoral thesis, but to present all this information accurately, this approach is more than appropriate. Another detail that might be a bit of a spoiler is that the book only gets us up to the late ’60s. I was left wanting more as we know that so much has happened in the bass world since that time frame; I hope there is another volume in the works to get us up to the present!

All in all, “The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass” is a must-read for all of us who play electric bass and understand its essential place in music.

I found that there was a lot that I already knew but also quite a bit that I was unaware of. I believe that to know and understand where you are, you must know the history of exactly how you got here.

Highly recommended.

The Bastard Instrument is available at Amazon.com (beginning July 2024)

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @meridian_guitars @adamovicbasses @anacondabasses @mgbassguitars @xylembassguitar @officialspector @edwinpaanakker @alesvychodilbasses @boyarskycg @dmarkguitars

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

Follow On Social

IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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