Chuck Deardorf


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An excellent outing to showcase the Northwest sound in jazz, Transparence features an outstanding ensemble of players from the region. Plus, the arrangements highlight the ability of the bass, in Chuck Deardorf's hands, to fit a variety of styles, all with the laid-back yet structured approach that is at the heart of Seattle's sound. Deardorf moves between a series of basses over the course of the album, each fitting a different sonic element. He uses a fairly standard bass for much of the proceedings, adapting it to bebop ideas or to modern jazz wanderings with equal ease. He switches to a fretless bass for a surprisingly sitar-like sound in a cover of "Dear Prudence." For a Brazilian piece, he moves to a Jaco Pastorius-like approach on an acoustic guitar-bass (essentially a massive guitar rather than a double bass), a difficult instrument to adapt to strong melodies. Surrounded by excellent players from around the Seattle scene, Deardorf manages to bring the bass to the forefront of the proceedings, but in a casual way -- it's never forced upon the listener, but he does enough interesting work with it that it catches the ear naturally. In other ensembles, Deardorf provides an excellent, stable bassline. Leading his own group, Deardorf brings an amazing touch and sensitivity to the sounds he can create, and puts that sensitivity to use in an excellent showcase of style and structure working together.

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