Peter Martin Weiss

Bass Hits

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For his debut CD, Peter Martin Weiss steps away from his classical background and years as a sideman with Etta James and Houston Person to present this collection of, obviously, compositions written by bass players he admires. But the recording is as much a labor of love for his wife, pianist Jane Hastay, whose beautifully understated and delicate phrasings are the real centerpiece. Weiss as a bass player is not about impressing you with his chops, but underscoring the piano, and the truly great musicianship of guest tenor saxophonist and flutist, the peerless Frank Wess. Drummer Kenny Washington fits the pieces together with his world class stick and brush work. The strictly piano trio pieces are all pristine; Ron Carter's appropriately titled "Little Waltz," the gentle Scott LaFaro shortie (3:12) "Gloria's Step," and the easy samba treatment of Sam Jones' "Del Sasser." Wess can play the blues on tenor, as evidenced by the slow Ray Brown piece "Slippery," and he goes breathy on the lesser known Charles Mingus ballad "The Man Who Never Sleeps." Weiss is easily a top three flute master, his other worldly bossa melody and solo on Steve Swallow's "Falling Grace," and the midtempo swinger, Oscar Pettiford's "Laverne Walk," minus piano, is further proof. From the opener, Paul Chambers "Whims of Chambers" with it's sax-bass unison and succinct brush work from Washington, leads into song after song, eventually running into another Chambers piece, "Ease It," with bass-piano unison lines, that falls into a wonderland-like, swinging comfort zone that lasts the whole nine yards -- er, cuts. Not hard to be lulled into a dreamy state of mind during this exquisite program of '90s cool jazz, with just the right amount of bop-inflected spice, and a very intriguing choice of material, atypical of purely standard fare. Recommended.

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