MICKEY BASS & His "Manhattan Burn Unit"
"Bass player Mickey Bass didn't shoot the Piano player...He just didn't bring one to his gig at the "One Step Down". Nor was the instrument missed last night, what with the melodic bent of the Quartets' Leader and the pianistic approach of Vibist Steve Nelson.
The credentials of the four include work with Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard and Dexter Gordon, and it shows in the brightness of their compositions and their familiarity with the modern Jazz tradition.
Alto Saxophonist Bobby Watson dived from on high at the first note of "One For Trane" and soared for five minutes or more over the gale force of the others. Nelson combined rhythmic boost with long flowing lines out of which surfaced brief quotes from other tunes.
(W. Royal Stokes, The Washington Post)
In the late 'Forties, Jazz gave birth to a new Harmonic concept. The use of the 'flat-five' chord, with dissonance allowed the young soloists of that generation to stretch their musical ideas much further. 'Be-Bop' had arrived, with Harlem as its' spawning ground.
The Patriarchs of 'Be-Bop' Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Max Roach used this music as a 'rite of passage'. These geniuses of Innovation stood alone. 'Be-Bop' was considered so exotic and dazzlingly delirious, that the 'old-school' of the time declared "Those 'Get-Off' Guys? They're playing Chinese Music!"
Those Founding Fathers of Be-Bop, also stood quite apart from one another. Their Jazz revolution, as all revolutions do, created upheaval. This upheaval extended even amongst the ranks of the 'Be-Bop' revolutionaries themselves. The Music fostered the development of each individuals' sound and personality; each Artist became immediately identifiable. Thus, the 'Be-Bop' revolution achieved more freedom of expression for Jazz Artists.
The popularity of smaller Bands continued into the late 'Fifties, the period realized both the freer forms, which Ornette Coleman envisioned; longer solo's, demanding 'denser' and more intricate solo-work ( later taken to an apex by Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane through their use of 'modes' ) and the work of 'Straight-ahead' Jazz Artists such as Art Blakey, or Miles Davis through his use of more symphonic concepts.
The unique sounds of these Innovators distinguished them from their less-accomplished peers, as well as from each other. Their creative genius is their legacy to us.
Today, work of 'Genius' is becoming increasingly rare.
Few in Jazz Music stand alone; those 'Founding Fathers' all stood together, completely alone....."Another way Out" groups together several unique Musicians, who also stand together, entirely on their own.
This Band has the ability to take Jazz music from its' past, through its' present, and well on..into the future....listen and see; Now is The Time for The Mickey Bass Quartet.
(excerpts from the edited liner notes, originally by Buster Brown)
"Mickey Bass, leading his ‘lean’,‘straight-ahead’ Quartet, the “Manhattan Burn Unit”, challenges a group of virtuoso performers, all leaders in their own right, to carry out Bass’ vision; of gathering together Musicians of the highest caliber and then challenging them with material that is as technically & rhythmically demanding as it is harmonically sophisticated…..
Listeners will agree that not only do they rise to this occasion, “The Mickey Bass Quartet” does all that, and more, they surpass it...."
"Bassist Bass as Leader, might be hard to find, but worth the search"
(All Music Guide)