Album Review

How Low Can You Go? [coll] – [Dust-To-Digital]

ArtCrimes   2/7/2007   CD, Jazz

“How Low Can You Go?” [coll]
From the fine folks at D2D who brought you the “Goodbye Babylon” gospel box, this new collection highlights the role of the string bass in jazz, blues, hokum, calypso, country, western swing, and gospel recordings from 1925 thru 1941 (prior to 1925, recording technology couldn’t accurately capture the sound of the string bass…usually the tuba performed that function instead, which was far more audible in pre-electric recordings). Probably half this collection falls unders a general “jazz” style, so the collection will reside there, but don’t let that prevent you from examining the other genres represented here. With close to 80 tracks, it’s hard to pick just a few winners, but don’t miss Wilmoth Houdini, Washboard Sam, The Spirits of Rhythm, Tampa Red’s Hokum Jug Band, Chippie Hill…and all 26 tracks on CD3 feature the same bass player, Bill Johnson, who could work in virtually any style. If there’s a general theme here, it’s all about the rhythm, with the bass getting plucked, bowed, and slapped six ways to Thursday. Nice book too, you’ll learn a thing or two.

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