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Jimmy Haslip and Joe Vannelli – Nightfall, Review by Brent-Anthony Johnson

Jimmy Haslip and Joe Vannelli - Nightfall, Review by B.A. JohnsonBass guitarist and producer extrordinaire Jimmy Haslip delivers a bona fide smash with his 3rd solo release, in 18 years, Nightfall! If you’re keeping track, Jimmy released Arc (GRP) in 1993, and then followed it with Red Heat (Unitone) in 2000. This is Jimmy’s first release since leaving the Yellowjackets, in 2011, after 30 years and the final release with them, Timeline. Though Jimmy and Yellowjackets co-founder, Russell Ferrante, continue to record together on side projects, Jimmy’s new direction as session bassist (Jeff Lorber, Randy Hoexler, Dave Haskell, etc.) and producer has delivered a staggering amount of product in the past 2-years! Always a busy sessioneer, Jimmy has quite outdone himself most recently, and he shows no signs of slowing with the release of Nightfall!

There is a lot of information to feast upon here! Recorded over 4-years with co-composer, co-producer, keyboardist/programmer and longtime friend Joe Vannelli, the 9 tunes display an intuitive and conversational composition style and sounds a lot like how people in relationship speak with one another! Jimmy and Joe began their healthy collaboration in the late 1970’s, when Jimmy began working with Joe’s vocalist brother, Gino Vannelli.

The musicians joining Jimmy and Joe on Nightfall reads like a fantasy band list of players including saxophonists Steve Tavaglione and (Yellowjackets bandmate) Bob Mintzer; trumpeters Wayne Bergeron and Judd Miller, flutist Katisse Buckingham, percussionists Jason Hamm and Jimmy Branly, vibraphonist Roger Bunn, harpist Stella Castellucci and guitarist (and Vannelli brother) Ross Vannelli.

The single tune featuring vocals, “Deep Waters”, stands out as a gem amongst the 8 other well-played tunes due largely to the incredible talents of vocalist Lori Perry! Incredible! In addition to her remarkable skill-set She brings along her sisters! The performance of vocalists Lori, Sharron, Carolyn, and Darlene Perry is a true gift, and their addition to this beyond cool project shows, once again,m how and why Jimmy is such an astute benefactor in the world of production. Throughout the release, so much of what Joe and Jimmy do together is just… smart.

It goes without saying that Jimmy’s playing is great on this release! As always, his lines are (as always) brightly guitaristic and soulful, and his “miles deep” melodic and lyrical ability remind me of everything I have dug about the dozens of tracks he has composed and soloed on over the years. What can I say…? Here is a beautiful player and human being who’s voice is part of the 21st Century lexicon of bass guitar approach and presentation. There. In short, Jimmy is AMAZING, and Nightfall continues the entirely due reign of his unique approach to the bass guitar.

Must Hear Tunes: The Third Man, Deep Waters, On Sunday, Nightfall

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