Co-produced with Stanley Clarke, album features bassists from around the world
By David Sands
February 24, 2017
Could listening to bass players hit it out of the park be America’s next great pastime? It will be, if Bunny Brunel has anything to say on the topic.
The French-born jazz bassist has teamed up with Stanley Clarke to produce a new album, Bass Ball, that’s centered around a top-notch roster of bass players from around the world. Five years in the making, the album features impressive solos by U.S. bass stars Billy Sheehan, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey and Cameroonian jazz phenom Armand Sabal-Lecco, as well as some of Brunel’s compatriots from the land of the Eiffel Tower.
“The French bass players who also play on Bass Ball are famous in France, but not well known here,” Brunel says in statement. “I was the one who had the privilege to come to America and play with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, and others. But there were many bass players in France who were also very good.”
Inspired to write a tune from his hometown of Nice, Brunel composed a song named after a local body of water, Baie des Anges, that also happens to incorporate a bunch of local jazz talent.
“I composed and named the tune ‘Bay of the Angels’ and decided to have musicians from my hometown perform on the song,” says Brunel. “They were trombonist Alex Perdigon, trumpeter Eric Giausserand, bass players Tony Bonfils, Dominique Bertram, Fifi Chayeb.”
Other songs on the album feature Josquin Des Pres of St. Tropez and Marc Bertaux and Hadrien Feraud from Paris. As for the two masterminds behind the project, Brunel plays the ESP fretted bass, fretless bass, and piccolo bass; and Stanley Clarke plays Alembic basses, piccolo bass, and acoustic bass.
“I like the fact that Bass Ball is going to give people an opportunity to hear some of the best bass players they’ve never heard before,” says Clarke.
Also appearing on the album are drummers Dennis Chambers, John Wackerman, Simon Phillips, Steve Ferrone, Johan Franzon, Ike Wiley, Clayton Cameron, and Bryan Cabrera; percussionists Chris Moraga and Monette Moreno; and keyboardists Nick Smith and Larry Dunn (of Earth, Wind and Fire).
Encouraged by their work with Bass Ball, Brunel and Clarke are already planning a sequel.
1. Nothing but the Bass (feat. Armand Sabal-Leco & John Wackerman)
2. Slap & Tickle (feat. Victor Wooten, Hadrien Feraud & Dennis Chambers)
3. Stand Out (feat. Armand Sabal-Leco, Monette Marino & Bryan Cabrera)
4. Lopsy Lu (feat. Steve Bailey, Billy Sheehan & Simon Phillips)
5. Bay of the Angels (feat. Tony Bonfils, Alex Perdigon, Eric Giausserand & Steve Ferrone)
6. Gigi (feat. Johan Franzon)
7. Lulu (feat. Kaylene Peoples, Luisa Dunn, Larry Dunn & Steve Ferrone)
8. For You to Play (feat. Johan Franzon)
9. Freedom Jazz Dance (feat. Marc Bertaux, Jerry Lopez, Nick Smith, Monette Marino & Ike Willey)
10. John’s Space (feat. Josquin Des Pres, Kaylene Peoples, Monette Marino & Ike Willey)
11. Tradition (feat. Nick Smith, Chris Moraga & Clayton Cameron)
12. Bay of the Angels (Extended Version) [feat. Kaylene Peoples, Alex Perdigon, Eric Giausserand, Dominique Bertram, Fifi Chayeb, Tony Bonfils & Steve Ferrone]
Title: Bass Ball
Artist: Bunny Brunel & Friends
Release Date: January 15, 2017
Label: Nikaia Records
Watch our most recent interview with Bunny Brunel
FBPO interview with Josquin des Pres"
FBPO interview with Hadrien Feraud