Lynn Seaton

Solo Flights

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AllMusic Review by

Here Lynn Seaton deftly pulls off one of the trickiest of propositions: a solo bass album. These performances, recorded in 1996 and released by Omnitone in 2000, run the gamut of Seaton's influences, from swing to post-bop to rock. His "Ode to Jimi," a loose amalgamation of Hendrix's "Foxey Lady" and "Hey Joe," is not what you'd expect from a jazz bassist who's made his living with the Woody Herman and Count Basie orchestras. But there you are. Seaton is a universalist, and he makes this clear with convincing forays into bebop ("How High the Moon/Ornithology"), swing ("Moten Swing"), flamenco ("Barcelona"), and standards ("Body and Soul," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Yesterdays"). The originals "Improv for Aubrey," "Rain" (played entirely with the wood of the bow), and "First Melody" reveal a conceptual tilt toward abstraction, whereas "Liltin' With Milton," dedicated to the late Milt Hinton (still alive at the time of the recording), finds Seaton in a laid-back yet propulsive blues mode. For sheer virtuosity, the bassist peaks with "Trane's Changes," a spellbinding investigation of John Coltrane's groundbreaking "Giant Steps" chord progression. A full album of solo bass surely isn't everyone's cup of tea, but Seaton more than manages to make this a coherent, well-rounded, and highly expressive musical statement.

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