Michael Feinberg – Blues Variant (ENG review)

Criss Cross Jazz – available May 1st, 2023
Michael Feinberg - Blues Variant

The double bassist Michael Feinberg refers to Duke Ellington’s use of the double bass as “background”. For the sake of comparison, I will stop there; one is completely enchanted by this album with its diverse inspirations incorporating themes that musicians will recognize, variations that recall both certain Miles Davis titles and other artists, to be taken as a thoughtful tribute to the artists who gave jazz its nobility.
Throughout Blues Variant – which includes six originals by Feinberg, one by tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger, and one by pianist Leo Genovese – the 35-year-old bass master adheres to the maxim: “If you want to hear me solo, come to a concert, where I often play a solo on every tune”.
“I serve the music,” Feinberg continues. “What I appreciate in a bassist is how he makes the other members of the group sound. I love hearing the soloing abilities of Christian McBride, John Patitucci, Dave Holland, and the people I idolize, but they are incredible because when they play, it feels amazing and they push their group partners to be their best selves or exceed what they think they can do.”
We can immediately see where Feinberg stands, and this album sounds familiar from the beginning because this artist has an intelligent know-how that offers both a particular rhythmic form and a musicality on which all the other artists do not fail to rely.
As another example, Feinberg mentions Jimmy Garrison, who triangulated between McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones with John Coltrane’s “spiritually transcendent” Quartet between 1961 and 1965. “He rarely plays a solo, but you don’t get the Coltrane Quartet with anyone else. So, I don’t care about solos, or being at the top of the mix to indicate that ‘it’s a bassist’s record.’ I play a lot of notes. I play all the time. You can’t miss it.”
Without a doubt, this album will make history, and you will enjoy a very inspired double bass solo on the title “Leslie”, perfectly mastered on a tempo that allows you to feel Michael Feinberg’s delicacy. Note that his style is truly remarkable; he offers a very talkative music leaving little room for silence, which may frighten some, but for others, the pleasure will be real, and that’s probably why I would only classify this album as a “Coup De Coeur”.

Thierry De Clemensat
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, April 17th 2023


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