Three muscular and inventive solo improvisations on the acoustic upright bass from North Carolina bassist and composer Phil Venable, a member of Tragic Assembly and The Phil Venable - Paul Swest Duo, recorded in the studio in 2022, the three "Basswork" parts are mostly demonstrating his strong walking and plucking skills, at times applying objects to his strings.
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Label: Soul City Sounds
Catalog ID: SCS004
Squidco Product Code: 32009
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Todd Warner Studios, by Todd Warner.
Phil Venable-upright bass
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• Show Bio for Phil Venable
"Phil Venable is a Chapel Hill, NC composer and multi-instrumentalist. He plays in numerous groups including Tragic Assembly and The Phil Venable - Paul Swest Duo."-Soul City Sounds 8/10/2022
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1. Basswork No. 1 13:48
2. Basswork No. 2 13:22
3. Basswork No. 3 11:27
sample the album:
"Chapel Hill, North Carolina isn't the first city that comes to mind when you hear the words "free jazz," but the town's experimental music scene is slowly taking shape. There are punk, metal, folk, pop and jazz communities, with a lot of overlap between various genres and players, creating opportunities for musicians to explore innovative sounds. "The sprawling arts community here allows me to pursue my interests," says Phil Venable, bassist with Tragic Assembly, one of the town's best known jazz outfits. "I started playing rock, tuneful and noisy, when I was a kid. I could play guitar, mandolin and some piano, but local bands all needed a bass player, so I switched. Then I heard Charles Mingus. My style was always pretty brash, so moving over to jazz and improvisational music was a natural step. I like spontaneous music, exploring what's happening in the moment."
Venable takes that spirit to heart on Bassworks, his first solo recording. "I did the album alone," he says. "I had the total, unnerving freedom of deciding when I was finished exploring a certain idea, or musical phrase. There are three compositions and I had no idea when they would end, how they would begin, or how long they would be. It's a solitary experience recording by yourself, but I found a meditative space in the work as I was composing. Everything was recorded live, with no editing."
Venable says Bassworks is the first of a series of recordings, exploring the possibilities of solo upright bass. "I liked the idea of having compositions with no title. I'm driven to play music and the pieces are a primary expression of my musical vision. If you have something to say, nothing else really matters. I just go forward every day and fight the good fight."-Soul City Sounds
The Solo Venture of Phil Venable:
Explores the Varied Textures of The Stand-Up Bass In Three Wide-Ranging Improvisational Suites
The tracks on Bassworks have generic names, a nod to the extemporaneous sound of the music.
"Bassworks # 1" - "Greg Norton's bass intro to Husker Du's "I'll Never Forget You" always impressed me," Venable said. "I admire his ability to work around the 4/4 confines of the music. This takes some of that spirit and expands on it."
"Bassworks #2" - "The intro was inspired by DC musician Luke Stewart's 'Works for Upright Bass and Amplifier.' I combined his approach with the feel of a crime movie soundtrack and my improvisations."
Bassworks #3 - "I love the droning texture here. I listen to a lot of Middle-Eastern music, so that probably influenced the sound."
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