Aug 15, 2010
Given that my late father was a bass player, I confess a certain soft spot in my heart – and blog – for bands led by bassists. Thanks to Harvie S., I have a new CD to return to anytime I want an understated, yet powerful, bass fix.
These days, the pyrotechnics of a Stanley Clarke or Victor Wooten are what comes to mind when thinking of what a bass player brings to the bandstand as a leader. That’s one reason that it’s refreshing that Harvie S. (born Harvie Swartz) isn’t afraid to take melodic solos or simply fade into the texture of a song. Working with a group of musicians he calls his “ Texas Band”, the sextet of Harvey on bass, Chris Cortez on guitar, Woody Witt on saxophone, Jose Miguel Yamal on piano, Joel Fulgham on drums and James Metcalf on percussion, play a mixture of covers and originals with vitality and sensitivity on Cocolamus Bridge (available on Blue Bamboo Music).
There’s a Latin tinge to many of the cuts, including “Coco Loco” and “Truth and Beauty”, but always with a subtle sway. The title track comes across as something that Pat Metheny (with whom Harvie has collaborated in the past) might play in his more mellow moods. The solo piece, “Eili Gheal Chiuin”, takes an Irish folk tune and turns it into almost a lullaby when Harvie picks up the bow.
There’s much to like here, with a special nod to saxophonist Witt. His duet with Harvie on Wayne Shorter’s “Night Dreamer” is worthy of the master himself.