ABOUT OUTRE / JEFF SCHMIDT:
Completely untethered to the tradition of the instrument - Jeff Schmidt expands the melodic and musical voice of the electric bass in ways more akin to Guitar legends Michael Hedges & Preston Reed than Bass heroes Stanley Clarke or Jaco Pastorius.
In fact - you won't hear anything resembling a typical "bass line" on this album.
Rather than merely offering the sound of "a bass player playing bass alone"- each piece on Outre is a fully realized, complete musical idea that pictures the electric bass on equal footing with the expressiveness of guitar, harp, banjo and piano.
Jeff explains: "By using altered tunings, lighter gauge strings and a variety of unorthodox performance techniques on a long scale instrument, I get the beautiful expressive qualities of baritone guitar while maintaining the essential characteristics I love about the Electric Bass. It's a unique hybrid sound I feel suits my musical ideas exceptionally well".
After a 10 year musical hiatus, newcomer to the Solo Bass scene, JEFF
SCHMIDT made a huge splash when he won the 2005 Bass Extremes International Solo Bass Competition hosted by bass legends Steve Bailey & Victor Wooten - also judged by bass giants Will Lee (letterman show) Anthony Jackson, John Patitucci, drummer to the stars Gregg Bissonette and Jonathan Herrera of Bass Player Magazine.
Since then Jeff has spent nights & weekends composing original solo bass material for eventual release.
When it came time to capture these compositions Jeff chose world reknown Windham Hill producer Cookie Marenco to produce the project.
Recorded to 2 inch tape - mixed & processed with vintage lexicon processors to 1/2 tape and mastered with minimal compression and no "brick wall" limiting - the recording almost feels like it comes from another time -before LOUD became the purpose of production & mastering.
Says Jeff: "There's a great feeling of familiarity with the sound of the recording - very vintage. It makes it feel like people have been playing the bass guitar this way for a really long time!"
There are clear parallels to bass genius Michael Manring - to whom Jeff credits for his "musical re-awakening" after 10 years away from the bass.
Jeff recalls: "One night I fell asleep on the couch with the TV on -and awoke at about 2am to the image and sound of a guy playing 3 basses at the same time. It was Michael Manring. Suddenly I was taken back to my teens - and reminded that I had my own dreams of being the guy doing weird things with a bass guitar. I got on the internet and ordered a bass the next day".
But rather than merely restating Manring's innovations, Jeff sets about re-imagining, scrambling and expanding on them in his own voice.
The compositional force evident on this recording shows Jeff is dealing with these ideas on a deeper level than mere techniques, tricks & licks. They are always in service to a uniquely personal musical and sonically poetic message.
The CD title Outré - (pronounced "oo-trey") is French and means - "passing the bounds of what is usual or considered proper; unconventional".