As a young teenager I always wanted more bass on albums and was overjoyed when I discovered, as a slightly older teenager, dance music and the fact that a proper speaker set up goes a very long way in giving clarity to all the constituent parts of any production. Even still, there are many albums I hold dear where, frustratingly, certain instruments are favoured over one another in the production and composition. The first collaboration between bassist virtuoso Horatio Luna and nu-fushion outfit Foshe does not leave me wanting anything from any of the three musicians that have created the work, giving equal weighting to each main elements of keys, bass and drums, both in production and composition.
The album is entirely improvised and has been called spiritual jazz by the bassist whose funk is ever present on each track, with songs taking as much from classic jazz trios as it does from dance music. The improvised nature of the work seamlessly melds together the abundance of different styles that have found their way into the jam, from the syncopated beat of house tracks to the wonderful swung rhythms and walking bass line on ‘Bamboo Bop’ (which, being improvised, I imagine was named as a nod to the sounds that came out of the session) that bring to mind mid-century blues and jazz. The trio never rest on any particular style for long and the groove morphs effortlessly into its next stage with a tight precision that one would expect of a painstakingly choreographed and rehearsed set of songs.
Any of the three instruments can lead the journey, with a expression of flair turning into a new direction for the song, such as in Fabian Hunter where the fist-pumping, staccato-discotheque melody of the keys takes the whole tune into orbit. One thing I particular love about this style is the lack of discrete solos, there are many moments where individuals shine on the album, but these weave in and out of the jam and can often overlap with each other. Each musician seems attuned to the flow they are all in, there are no messy sections where the sound builds to homogenous chaos, or where direction is lost, but there are swells of intensity and reserved breakdowns where appropriate to give each of the improvisations form and texture and a distinct character of their own.
Returning to my younger teenage years reminds me of a video where Chad Smith and Flea discuss the importance of the relationship between drums and bass. In this collaboration the importance of this partnership is demonstrated immaculately, the technical ability and awareness of both musicians is incredible, and made all the more impressive that the tracks are all improvised. There definitely is a spiritual element to this spontaneous album, and there are a few clues to the passion that has gone into making it throughout the album in the form of vocal utterances of delight from the players.
Listen to Nice To Meetcha (or, as the album artwork and some interview transcripts have written it, Nice to Meecha) below: