Saturday, June 5, 2010

Invisible Bass(ist)s

I was drawn to the center stage on Church Street last night by the sound of Bob Wagner's electric guitar. He was complemented by steady, sparse drumming, and the thick sound of Ray Paczkowski's organ. A solid bass line completed the sound, with occasional quick runs, although I couldn't see the bassist. Thinking that the bass player might be hidden behind the large organ and Leslie speaker cabinet setup, I walked around the stage. There was no bass player! Paczkowski was playing an impressive bass line on the organ with his left hand, even during his solos.

I had a similar experience at the Flynn: Arturo Sandoval scatted an extended imitation of a bass solo over a bebop medley of Cherokee, Hot House and Donna Lee. In the course of the solo, he mimed playing an electric bass, and then switched to a comic imitation of a bowed bass solo. Invisible bass certainly wasn't his only instrument - in addition to his blazing trumpet solos, he played timbales, piano, and keyboards!

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