I first learned of the extraordinarily exotic talent of Atlanta-based bassist Jermaine Hall when I was introduced to his project ZON3 a few years ago. Since then, I have watched closely as he honed his already unbelievable chops and writing ability into a living, breathing entity that boggles and arouses the mind, in addition to nearly always eliciting the response “how did he do that?!”, from the bassists I’ve offered a small listen into his world. He can say a lot about himself and the world he observes through the music he openly shares with the world around him.
Jermaine is a wonderful human being that embodies well-being and happiness that transcends his search for excellence through his chosen instrument. I’ve known few musicians of his ability to laugh so easily – all the while completely kicking butt! Ideology is the release that will absolutely put Jermaine on the map as THE bassist/composer to watch… and I, for one, would say this wonderful collection of coherent, beautifully written, and chops-laden material is long overdue! Finally, the world can hear this momentary travelogue of a brilliant player, as he steadily courses forward into hard won and fully-realized brilliance.
As the listener journeys through the “completely cool” 9 tunes that comprise Ideology, one can’t help but understand that Jermaine has paid a truly humble homage in inviting his favorite musicians, as well as bassist, along for the ride! His guests include the unbelievable talents of bassist Tony Grey, Cheikh Ndoye and Mike Pope; as well as ZON3 bandmate (keyboardist) Kevin Griffin. Greats Jalon Smith, Jay Oliver, John Peters, Brien Andrews, Gergo Borali, Rick Watford, Artia Lockett, Ede Wright, Keith Barnes, Gabbie McGee, Steve Weingart, and Shea Norman round out the who’s who of impossibly good players.
Jeremaine himself takes a vocal turn on the simply wonderful “Blessed Assurance”, and watch out for his gravity defying groove and solo of “(People Make The)World Go Round”- a bona fide (though often overlooked) staple of any R&B player living in the past 30 years! Yeah, baby! You will say something your Sunday School teacher will slap you for saying, after checking it out! Fair warning! Finally, there’s the able re-working of the ZON3 masterpiece, “Keep Left”. Thank you, “Ray-Ray”. There are so many aspects of Ideology that are simply (completely) beyond mere commentary. Um… I can’t think of a single person who shouldn’t put this in their library. No one.
Throughout, Jermaine and his Marleux 5-string present tone that is a character study unto itself. Each tune is expertly produced and insanely well-played. Many players will not be able to cop Jermaine’s chops. However, his tone should be as much sought after as the impossible (completely musical) lines deftly delivered on this great musical snapshot into the mind of a genius.