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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Birmingham Bass Night – A Resounding Success!

March 19th, 2013 | 5 Comments | Categories: Birmingham Bass Night · Gig stuff · Music News |

So the first Birmingham Bass Night was a resounding success. A comfortably full venue, some amazing music and a good time was had by all.

I feel really lucky to have had such a great line-up for what was really the pilot for a regular event. Russ Sargeant played a beautiful opening set, including an exquisite cover of The Blue Nile’s Let’s Go Out Tonight… so often when an instrumentalist decides to sing a number, the verdict is ‘brave but unwise’, but Russ has a voice to match his bass skillz… hope we get to hear him sing again! He’ll be back at another Birmingham Bass Night soon, I promise :)

Then me, doing my thing. Running a night and playing at it can be a stress, but I’ve done it enough and have stripped away the unneccesary stuff well enough that I had no such troubles here. It helped that the venue, Tower Of Song, is SO musician-friendly. There are way too many ‘music venues’ these days whose primary concern is selling beer and musicians are just the bait to get people in the building. Tower Of Song is run by a dedicated and talented musician, Tom Martin, whose primary concern is to run a venue where music gets heard in the optimum environment. It makes a huge difference to how you play to know that your music is respected in that way by the people hosting you… almost house concert-like.

I played A Year Afloat, The Kindness Of Strangers, Hello and an extended new version of Grace And Gratitude (a request fromSarah in the audience… was happy to oblige :) )

 
Then our headliner was Lorenzo Feliciati. As I said in my introduction on the night, hearing Lorenzo’s musical world grow over the last 10 years has been a joy. He was already an amazing musician when I first met him, and has continued to stretch himself and find new vehicles for expressing himself musically. Definitely a kindred spirit. Of late, he’s put together an amazing band called Naked Truth, with Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson that combines fusion, ambient, post rock and deep improv to amazing effect. His latest solo album Frequent Flyer is also magical.

For Birmingham Bass Night, Lorenzo teamed up with Dave Walsh – a brilliant drummer from Leeds – for a duo set that covered Miles Davis and Alan Holdsworth tunes (Holdsworth for bass and drums duo?? yup.) and some of Lorenzo’s own compositions. It was a wonderful contrast to the more mellow sounds that Russ and I conjured up to have something that was at times ferocious and funky as well as gentle and contemplative.

All in a marvellous night. Thanks to everyone who came! PLEASE feel free to post your own thoughts and observations in the comments (there’s been loads of talk about the gig on Facebook which has been great, and it really helps with the promotion of the event to have positive audience feedback to link people to :) )

We’ll be doing another one in May.. stay tuned for an announcement about the line-up ASAP!

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Lorenzo Feliciati

    What a lovely experience, so much great music played from great musicians for such a wonderful audience…hope to see you all again very soon !!!
    Lorenzo

  • Mick Jeynes

    I had a fantastic night at the Tower. to witness 3 outstanding bass players and a virtuoso drummer produce and perform such beautiful well crafted music was a real delight to behold. I’m a big fan of The Blue Nile so was gutted to miss out on Russ Sergeant performing one of their tracks. It proves that the bass can not only be an instrument that provides backing for guitars, keyboards etc but can be lead expressive instrument in it’s own right. Steve, Russ and Lorenzo proved this point with passion on the evening. Thank you guys and I hope that you will be able to organise another great evening of fantastic music.

  • Steve Gaffney

    Hey Steve, Russ and Lorenzo !!

    What a wonderful evening! Such a diversity of style and tone from 3 amazing musicians. Where else could you have got what amounted to a personal audience with these guys for £7 ??? Nowhere!!
    There was plenty of opportunity to mix and ask questions throughout the nightmy son Chris is still raving on about his experiences. I’ve been paying for more years than I care to mention; but must confess I feel the same.
    Can’t wait for the next event…I’m sure it’s going to run and run and run….
    Thanks again

    Steve Gaffney

  • Alan Musson

    I came to this gig from a Jazz background where bass guitar and double bass are generally heard as part of a rhythm section supporting perhaps a pianist in a conventional trio or behind a front line soloist. I have never know a situation where the bass player is the only instrumentalist. But not only this, but here we had not one, not two but three bass players performing solo. This concept was totally alien to me. Would the performer(s) be able to sustain my interest and hold my attention for an entire evening? My concerns proved to be totally unfounded however.

    First up was Russ Sargeant. Russ produced music of rare beauty and lyricism from his bass guitar, enhancing his sound by deploying live looping effects very effectively. His set even included the only vocal of the evening and I certainly hope that he includes more vocals in future.

    Next we were treated to the bass guitar artistry of Steve Lawson. It is Steve that we must thank for arranging the event. Steve is a world renowned master of live looping and whilst his playing was very melodic, as evidenced by his composition Grace and Gratitude, looping was used in perhaps a more adventurous manner, contrasting nicely with the music of Russ Sargeant.

    The third member of this venerable trio of bassists was Lorenzo Feliciati. Lorenzo was a new name to me. He did not actually play a solo set but was working in a duo with drummer Dave Walsh. The telepathy between them was nothing short of magnificent. Their set was louder and had a much harder, rock tinged edge to it. But Lorenzo played bass guitar in a more conventional way with less reliance on looping effects. At one point he produced a very swinging jazz-like rhythm. A style not heard at all that night until then.

    The evening ended with all three bass players coming together with Dave Walsh at the drums in what I guess was a totally improvised performance with Steve laying down a melodic cushion over which Lorenzo and Russ (this time on double bass) worked their magic and then with Steve weaving in and out of the musical tapestry created by the others.

    All in all a wonderful evening of great music making from three master bassists (and one drummer).

    Steve is planning to bring together another trio of bassists for another performance very soon. We should all encourage him in this brave new venture and lets hope that Birmingham Bass Night become a regular fixture on the music calender.
    Alan Musson

  • Russ Sargeant

    What an excellent night. I was so privileged to be part of it and play alongside such excellent bassists as Steve and Lorenzo. To the next one! Russ