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CD-Review: Intensity of Bass - Joel Locher

joel locher intensity of bass klMany Gypsyjazz-Fans already know Joel Locher since a long time from his cooperation with Wauwau Adler,  Gismo Graf or even the internationally known Pianist Michael Petrucciani.
His name is considered as one of the best Double-bass players within the German Jazzscene today. But also internationally he is gaining interest and  played many concerts with international know Jazzgreats.

Now Joel Locher introduces his first Soloalbum „Intensity of Bass“ with 13 Titles being in focus as a frontman himself for the first time. And one can say: „the name is program“!

Joel gets supported from many great musicians such as Frank Eberle (Piano), Felix Schrak (Drums, Jermaine Landsberger (Piano), Guido May (Drums), Gee Hye Lee (Piano), Frank Kuruc (Guitar), Katharina Locher (Vocals), André Schwaiger (Piano, Organ), Gismo und Joschi Graf (Guitar), Wawau Adler (Guitar), Nico Schulze (Piano), Daniel Kartmann (Drums), André Weiß (Piano) and Sandro Roy on violin.

Already on the first song  „Gatwick“ Joel Locher shows his great talent and ability as a bassplayer in a really „intense“ bass-solo.
The second song „Change“, a nice Jazzballad then presents Joel as a real musician who is not only capable of showing his ability in an egoistic manner, but the more being able to play „music oriented“ and serving the songs he chooses and plays, and always without leaving his creativity behind by that.
Then in the third tune „Speed“ (here really again name is program!) Joel Locher shows why he is considered as one of the best: at tempos beyond 300 BPMs he shows off his precision and soloistic capabilities beyond compare! These days there is propably no other bassplayer around here in Germany who is able to improvise so creative and precise as Joel does it here at such incredible speed.

All together Joel Locher presents himself on this first Solo-CD with a broadband of varieties between free-jazzy sounding tunes as „The Streets“, „Klappe die Zweite“ or „Klappe die Dritte“, in wonderful melodic tunes such as „Change“ or „Martinique“, in funky touched songs like „Montalivet Vendays“.
But also his very personal Version of Sting´s “An Englishman in New York“ (greatly interpreted by the Young Star Gismo Graf on guitar) convinces the listener, so does „Joel´s Groove“ or the title track „Intensity of Bass“ where Joel again is also able to show his great solistiability but without ever being boring or „overplaying“ in any way.
Everything sounds harmonic, stringent, round and always serving the music, never egomaniac or overpainted.

All in all „Intensity of Bass“ is a great, well done album which doesn’t show many Gypsyjazz-elements except  „Englishman in New York“ or „Martinique“, but still great and much fun to listen to.

Some listeners maybe may feel that some songs are sounding a bit too free-jazzy and less "main-streamy". Nevertheless one should consider this album as a bass-milestone because there wasn’t a real convincing album work of a bassplayer within the last years since the „King of bass“ Stanley Clarke in the late 80ies or Mark King of Level 42 in the 90ies presenting such a kind of creative work on the bass. Even a great bassplayer such as Avishai Cohen (who is getting hyped like a bit of a mode in some circles) cant nearly touch this work by far, being miles away from this class of playability.

„Intensity of Bass“ is a great album that we can only congratulate Joel Locher and his fellow musicians for.
Even if Jazz-Manouche has become a bit short on it here - we rate this CD with full points *****

Absolutely recommended!

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