the brand new album from
Australian bass great
There's a reason why you don’t hear so many solo albums by bass players ... and no
... I’m not about to launch into an onslaught of bass player jokes. The real reason,
and any musician will know this ... is because only the very best bass players can be
technically skilled and creatively inclined enough to pull it off. On his 2006 debut
release ‘Forgotten Melody', Melbourne bass great Wayne Jones proved to all he's one of the rare few who can
deliver an album full of beautifully constructed musical storylines featuring the bass as the central character.
Proving he's no one trick pony, Jones has done it again. Merely three years after his first solo effort, Wayne
Jones offers us ’Saturday Street’, another rich slice of sophisticated jazz flavoured pie.
The key to any successful musical endeavour in this genre is the quality and allure of the instrumental conversations between
musicians. On 'Saturday Street' Wayne's collection of virtuosic buddies talk it up big time. Assisting Jones in creating his late
night lounge grooves are the considerable talents of Gerry Pantazis (drums), Ron Peers (guitar) James Sandon, Benjamin
Northey, Andy O’Connell (sax), Daniel Beasy (trumpet), Dave Carter, Mal Logan, John Grant, Ash Crick, Mike Oliphant
(keyboards), Cheryl Beattie (vocals), Alejandro Vega, and Kintsho Tshabalala (percussion).
There's no doubt the accompanists shine, but in the end it’s Jones' street party. His command of the bass and those nimble yet
fluent licks will remain embedded in your mind long after the disc has come to a close.
‘Saturday Street’ track by track
Opening proceedings with ‘Strictly Dan’, Jones wears his
musical heart on his sleeve, as he pays tribute to American
music icons Steely Dan. Fat bass slaps feature as the band in
full flight forge ahead with purpose and precision.
The title track, ‘Saturday Street’ finds Jones with a spring
in his step, as he and his ensemble strut down his funkified
The ‘Back in Five’ vibe is one of a world we sometimes
forget, a stop and smell the roses kind of feel, where things
really don’t seem so bad after all.
Track four is the self-descriptive ‘Slow and Mellow’, a
dangerously seductive device for those quiet moments with a
‘Sneaky Pete’ finds the band neatly in the pocket right out
of the blocks. Not only are Jones’ chops remarkable, but his
compositional ideas and improvisational skills are impressive
‘MK3’ provides a leisurely walk down a sumptuously
textured path. A scintillating sax solo adds a scent of spice to
‘Time Traveler’ employs some interesting time signatures
as Jones’ displays his immense range of exceptional bass
skills. However, his licks are never gimmicky and never does
he give the impression of showing off. The bass ideas are
eternally tasteful and executed with style.
Any attempts to resist the samba flair of ‘Latin Tyme’ are
From the opening few moments of ‘Hiraeth’ you realise
there’s some major musicianship goin’ down. Utilising the
bass in a variety of guises, Jones takes total control of this
substantial sonic brew.
Much like a well-deserved nightcap, ‘I'm In The Mood’ is an
appropriate end to a perfect day. Cheryl Beattie adds a
smooth as silk vocal over a heart-melting melody.
In a world turning upside down, where it’s easy to get caught up in the rapid pace of life and all its negativity and
complexities, it’s comforting to know that at the end of the day it’s really all about how you choose to perceive things. You can
simply shut your door, kick off your shoes, and immerse yourself in life's more pleasurable pursuits. Better still, I heartily
recommend a gentle stroll down Wayne Jones' 'Saturday Street' in the company of someone you love.
Greg Phillips, Editor Australian Musician magazine. April 2009.