STEPHEN GAUCI’S BASSO CONTINUO – Nididhyasana (CF 101)
This superb disc was recorded right here at Downtown Music Gallery exactly one year ago last week (January 14th, 2007). Although I was in attendance, this disc sounds even better than I remember and is captured closely and cleanly. I’ve always been a fan of the two bass thing, from Coltrane albums in the early sixties to Soft Machine ‘Four’ in 1971. Here, we again fine two master acoustic bassists playing with the strong toned tenor of Mr. Gauci and the ever-inventive trumpet of the ubiquitous Nate Wooley. Right from the opening note, both bassists are plucking deep notes together. Soon, Steve’s exceptional, haunting and unique tone emerges. Wow, what a sound he has! Both bassists spin and blur their layers of notes. Nate Wooley soon enters and sounds marvelous on his quick, calm muted trumpet. The balance of Steve’s thick, immense tone with Nate’s thinner, yet equally diverse array of notes is somehow perfect. There is a constant stream of ideas by both horns and both bassists that are inter-connected and blend into a flurry of riveting activity. What amazes me is that there is an ongoing story and communion between all four players as each contributes to the flow or directs the stream into another area. There is an incredible duo section that takes place about 9-minutes into the first piece between the trumpet and one bassist, slowly the other bassist takes over pushes the thread in another (connected) direction. Soon after the trumpet lays out, Gauci’s tenor comes in and slowly builds to a powerful solo. I soon notice that Nate never really stopped, he switches to breath-like, radiator-steam flutters, that add shades and shadows almost imperceptibly. When the bassist on the left starts bowing, it is as if the heavens have parted and the sun is shining down on us. Holy sh*t! This entire nearly hour disc is filled with grand moments like this, so why wait to make your life even richer?!?