Accomplished jazz bassist, singer, composer Lukas Vesely has debuted with his al
Lukas was born in Czech Republic and came to the US at the age of three, he started playing piano at the age of six, and has been involved in music ever since. In school he started his own band playing pop rock covers. In 1991 he started playing string bass and went over to Europe that year where he performed at the infamous Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. At the end of high-school he received a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music; he soon became a faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. At 27 he is a free-lance bassist/pop-jazz vocalist who has a great sense of composing and arranging.
Now, I’m pretty sure that the record was well rehearsed, but the vibe of this record gives the impression that the musicians present here had tons of fun just feeding off each others’ playing. So, perhaps some parts were improvised, maybe not, nevertheless attention was paid to every little musical note, every brush stroke and horn line, it’s all in sync.
The songs have a lot of ‘breathing space’; the instruments seem to flow in and out of each other, it’s layered in such a way that at no point is there overcrowding or overplaying, a skill only seasoned musicians can master.
Most songs were written and arranged by Lukas Vesely except ‘Round Trip’ (which is an insane whirlwind of notes, modes, scales and dynamics – I mean everyone does their ‘thing’ here, a couple minutes in the spotlight each, after all, it is only 17 minutes!!!), ‘Body and Soul’ (with its cool and skippy piano solo intermingled with Vesely’s soft croon) and ‘You’re driving me crazy’ (the main melody line here is Vesely’s voice, and then comes a husky trombone).
The horn section on this record is superb, Dan Magay on Alto Sax, Scott Peterson on Tenor & Soprano sax, Johnathan Lagunte on Tenor Sax and Danny Grewen on Trombone. Check out the lines in ‘Eastern Sea Part 1 and 2’. ‘Dan’s Journey’ also has a blazing sax solo.
Piano is played by Adam Shulman, and piano and Rhodes by Sam Grobe-Heinz. ‘V Nebi’ (interesting song titles I must say) has a sparse piano line that carries through the song. ‘Peace Prayer’- the last song on the record has a spiraling piano solo, after which an upright bass solo ensues.
The job of keeping time and dynamics is shared between Brian Fischler and Jaz Sawyer. ‘Man-Dude’ brings this out in full force, excellent timing, grace notes, fills, off beats – you name it.
I’ve just realized that this is the second great jazz album I’ve received from someone hailing from the San Francisco Bay area. So, it may be fair to say that jazz artists from the Bay area certainly have their chops in order.
Currently, Lukas is playing with a West-Coast based East-Coast style swing band (try saying that 10 times fast) called Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums. From the list of talented musicians who have graced Lukas’s first effort, I can only imagine what greatness lies ahead for this talented jazz musician.
Lukas Vesely, the 28 year old Czech American jazz bassist has a new album called Peace Prayer out and it is a collection of sublime and very heartfelt numbers, most of which were composed by Mr Vesely. The first track , "Eastern Sea part 1" is the first in a three song trilogy that features Mr Vesely on bass and it reminds you of some of the finer jazz ensemble playing of the past. There is a very definite yet subtle give and take between the members of the group. each one gently layers his part over the next to form a seamless wall of sound.
"Man-Dude" has a very smart be-bop sound to it, if you are a lover of the saxophone this is an album for you. Mr Vesley and company highlight the instrument and the end result is wonderful. It seems that every once in a while you run across a song that is great to listen to but it has one of the odder sounding names for a title. Such is the case with "V Nebi", a lush piano driven ballad that is easy to listen to and carries you off to a better place, even if the title is a mystery.
Not to be restricted to just one place in the band Mr Vesley steps up and does a very admirable job as a vocalist on "You're Driving Me Crazy", another well done be-bop era tune that again showcases the saxophone and a great bass solo by Mr Vesely. "Round Trip" the great Ornette Coleman number is given a fresh rendition by Vesley and company that would have made the old man proud, the bass playing is refined and there is a wonderful chaotic sound to it all that is pure Coleman.
"Body and Soul" again features Mr Vesley on vocals and his tenor voice is complimented by the playing of his backup band that gives the number a real sense of emotional depth, a depth well beyond Mr Vesley's years. He carries it off effortlessly. "Dan's Journey" and "What Is This Thing Called Love" are two more numbers that demonstrate how gifted this group of musicians are, the piano playing on the later is something to be heard, it swings with a spirit all its own and really helps to drive the number along wonderfully.
The closing number of the recording is entitled "Peace Prayer" and it is heartfelt and done with soft undertones and very intimate playing it brings the whole album together very nicely. On the inside cover of the album there is a brief poem by Mr Vesley that reads "Should we be softly singing in the sound, dreaming slowly a light so sweet to hear the day, silence gleaming is one collecting us , and are we etched in time, perpetually flowing, and faithfully being. Mr Vesley is a very talented and multi-layered artist that has composed a very special and unique recording.