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Berlin, Jeff: High Standards

Geddy Lee has called Jeff Berlin "the best bassist on the planet." Carlos Santana has echoed those setiments calling him "the best bassist in the world." Jaco Pastorius regarded Berlin as a better bass player than himself. Believe me when I tell you this high praise is warranted as demonstrated by his new CD High Standards. Berlin has had an quite a career having played with the likes of George Benson, Bill Bruford, Allan Holdsworth and the original members of Yes. Berlin also writes a regular column for Guitar Player magazine where he was once voted by readers as the number one bass player. If that is not enough he was even asked by Eddie Van Halen to join his band. There is no denying his accomplishments, but what about his new album?

Well, it is very good but Berlin does not do it alone. On High Standards he is joined by Richard Drexler (piano, upright bass) and Danny Gottlieb (drums). Gottlieb is best known as a member of the Pat Metheny Group but has played with a number of people including Booker T and the MGs, the Al DiMela Project and the Pete Levin Trio. Richard Drexler has appeared on recordings with Al DiMeola, Stanley Clarke and Oscar Feldman to name but a few and has performed live with many greats including Chick Corea, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Chris Potter. The music on High Standards is classic three piece jazz showcasing the talents of each musician. Being a three piece the music can be sparse but the extra room really allows these musicians to shine.

The album kicks off with "Groovin' High" where the bass and piano absolutely rip it up followed by the Miles Davis penned "Nardis" which reflects a calmer mood with deep languid bass notes and some daft snare and cymbal work. The country flavoured jazz of "I Want To Be Happy" features rollicking piano and a nice melody. Berlin's bass licks are incredibly fluid proving to be a good match to Drexler's excellent piano noodling. The slow deliberate groove of "Body and Soul" starts with swirling piano and Gottlieb shows a subtle finesse on the drum kit that is particularly satisfying. "Solar", another Miles Davis tune, has the band in full force as all three players gel wonderfully together . The subtle yet frantic drumming and the wicked bass playing is worth the price of admission alone.

This is a classy release filled to the brim with outstanding musicianship. Its safe to say High Standards should appeal to all fans of quality jazz. High standards indeed.


Track Listing:
1. Groovin' High
2. Nardis
3. I Want To Be Happy
4. Body & Soul
5. Solar
6. Invitation
7. If I Were A Bell
8. Valse Nobles et Sentimentales no. IV
9. Someday My Prince Will Come

Added: June 6th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2410
Language: english

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