My "Originals" page is in the works; for now please enjoy some of my Freelance work.
Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone
Recorded on select horn, mouthpiece and microphone combinations to achieve various effects.
||INSTRUMENTS||TEXTURE / COLOR / MOOD||DESCRIPTION|
|Alto Sax||Aggressive, punchy, forward||"Next One to Cry"
Grant Rosen, 2009
This is the kind of edgy, screaming sound David Sanborn popularized in the 70's, which is still a staple of Rock & Pop today.
|Alto Sax||Warm, round, sweet||"Autumn in New York"
Vernon Duke, 1934
Not a Freelance recording but something I did for myself. I place it here because it is the opposite of the edgy sound, above. This is a warm, round texture that works with jazz, acoustic music, theater and certain kinds of pop.
|Tenor Sax||Driving, Staccatto, Thin||
"Who Can it Be Now"
While doing research on the original saxophonist, Greg Ham, I realized I had the same vintage mouthpiece he did - as well as the mic he used on the track! So I strove to make it as close the the original recording as possible - including times he was a bit flat or layed behind the beat. The combination of thin reed and thin tone along with short, staccato phrases is very different from what I usually do.
2 Altos, Tenor & Bari
w/ Flute fills,
|Funky, Syncopathed, Punchy||"Travis Song"
TV Broken, 3rd Eye Open
I worked with this funky-rock-hippie band for a number of years, first as musical director then as a composer and performer. I love this kind of driving style.
Soprano, 2 Altos, Tenor & Bari
w/ 2 Flutes,
|Funky, Sophisticated, Layered||
After a few years of copying Fela charts, the bandleader asked me to give him ideas for new directions. He brought over a musical loop by the band "Antibalis." In my studio I layered ideas over it, arranging the horns off the top of my head withno paper, each example getting more complex (please listen all the way to the end).
When I was done, I leaned over the sax mic and blew a flute solo for kicks (even though it wasn't the proper way to record a flute). The band loved it - but I suspect my ideas were too "modern" for the bandleader who was a traditionalist. It is ashame the band eventually broke up. Bands are like marriages - and relationships are hard enough - imagine being married to 11 people!!!
2 Altos, 2 Tenors
& Bari Sax
|Thick, Textured, Weighty||"Sugarglass"
Sometimes you need horns to simply provide texture and weight. Saxes do it like nothing else; not even an organ or vocal choir. They can pack an articulated punch or flow like water; be gritty like sandpaper or smooth like glass; swell their notes or stay even and level. The bandleader wrote the horn chart on this one.
|Bari Sax & Flute,
|Bouncy, Light, Lyrical||"Kiss Those Chains"
I loved this artist and his music and poured myself into arranging and recording a whole album of his for a year in my studio. I wrote and played the horn arrangements, played some of the guitar parts and recorded his vocals as well.
When we were done recording the album, the mixing engineer called me and said "These tracks were recorded so well, I hardly had to do anything to them! They sat in the mix well." Unfortunately, the artist never released the album, for whatever reason.
Chalk this up, along with the track I did for Leonard Cohen that still hasn't seen the light of day. Hollywood is a bitch.
|Bari Sax||Driving, Muscular, Angular||"Selam (peace)"
This Ethiopian jazz/rock/fusion group was formed in Atlanta in 2004; this comes off their album "Salem", recorded at the Five Spot in 2006. The tenor player is probably Jorga Mesfin. We start out weaving lines together before I launch into my bari solo.
At this time I was just developing the kind of harmonic vocabulary to play over "free" music. After years of teaching theory and songwriting, my take on this today would probably be quite different. This was played on my old Zephyr bari; it was clunky as hell and rode sharp in the upper register but man, what a sound! But the Mk VI I have now trounces it, I believe.
|Bari Sax||Fluid, Driving, Sophisticated||"Confirmation"
Miles Davis / Charlie Parker
There is some contention as to whether Miles or Parker wrote this (I say Miles), but I'll leave this to the historians.
More germaine to this post is the fact that I had been blessed with a vintage Mk VI bari with a low A just prior to this recording. It's a beast of a horn (I nicknamed her "Animal")! She takes some getting used to as she weighs in at nearly 20 pounds! This is a tune I know well on tenor (in a different key), hence my "creative interpretation" of the melody. Lol.
|Bari Sax||Sweet, Romantic, Warm||"Early Autumn"
Ralph Burns, Woody Herman & Johnny Mercer
This is the more lyrical, soft side of the baritone sax. I could never achieve this with my old Zephyr - it was balls-to-the-wall or nothing. But this French horn will coo in your ear if you ask it to. Gotta hand it to the French for their understanding of romance.
This was combined with a specific ribbon mic to emphasize the warmer sound.
|Bari Sax||Lyrical, Big, Warm||"Mack the Knife"
While we're in Bari land, I should probably throw in a link to a video made around 2006 with the Gainesville Big Band. This was on my old Zephyr, back when my coat was white and my hair was black.
|Soprano Sax||Lyrical, Sinewy, Piquant
(C'mon, look it up)
Composed by Gilberto Gil, band is Rua 6
* WARNING: ADJUST YOUR VOLUME LEVEL *
Sometime around 2000 I sat in with a Brazilian Band I really liked named "Rua 6," in honor of the 6th Street restaurant at which they played. I soon began working with them at their steady multi-night gigs.
What fun it was! The music was great, the dancers were beautiful and the food was delicious. I had entered the band with a working knowledge of Jobim, Dori Caymmi, Baden Powell and a few other Brazilian composers, but they expanded my knowledge exponentially. I also got very good at a variety of hand percussion on those gigs.
The electric guitarist and I struck up a friendship and played many gigs together in a separate band. Roberto had an encyclopedic knowledge of Brazilian music. He used to laugh at me because I don't speak a word of Portuguese, so to request a song I'd have to say, "Can we play the one that goes like this" - then hum it. With Roberto, I learned many classsic Brazilian songs - and it started me on CD-buying rampage discovering Elis Regina, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and many other great Brazilian musicians.
I would jump at the chance to work with a good Brazilian outfit again.
DISCLAIMER: This was recorded on a cheap-ass soprano sax I bought in a pawn shop for 200 bucks. It rode sharp upstairs, flat downstairs and couldn't handle all the air I fed it, lol. But I played the HELL outta that horn. By God's grace, in 2020 I FINALLY got a good soprano. But I'm still looking for an affordable bent-neck Yamaha 62R - so let me know if you see one, lol.
|Alto Sax||Sweet, Lyrical, Dreamy, Romantic||"Petals"
The Lost Continentals
Recorded in 1997. I always loved Amy Pike's voice.
Here I evoke the style and sound of the 1930's Swing masters such as Johnny Hodges, Willie Smith and Benny Carter.
|Tenor Sax||Strong, Aggressive, Hard||
I had just received a new (vintage) mouthpiece and was amazed by the huge sound I could get out of it. I decided to try an experiment - how much air could I blow through the horn before the mouthpiece "choked up," (the reed seized up and stopped playing altogether)?
|Tenor Sax||Fat, Warm, Wistful||"Body & Soul"
Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, 1930
B&S is one of a handful of tunes so well written it is in its own category, a cut above the rest. From my youth I loved the Billie Holiday recording (I know every note of that Decca 2-album set by heart). I return to it often because it is so deep.
As a contrast to the "hard" tenor sound above, this is the sound I aim for more often - warm, balanced and fat. I love the big Tenor sounds of Gene Ammons, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Dexter and others. To me, this is how a tenor saxophone should sound - and not like a screaming alto wandering around in the altissimo range.
As trends go, I am currently in the minority on this opinion, lol.
|Tenor Sax||Fat, Thick, Creamy||"Take the A Train"
(Yes, written by Strayhorn, not Ellington)
Another warm, fat tenor sound - this time on a vintage 60's King saxophone.
I play both Western Flutes (Silver, transverse),
My initial inspiration for playing flute was an album I used to check out of my little Public Library as a kid -
Playing flute is hell when you're self-taught! I would huff and puff and go dizzy at first.
Unfortunately, it seems many modern "jazz" flautists use a lot of pyrotechnics in their playing.
||INSTRUMENTS||TEXTURE / COLO / MOOD||DESCRIPTION|
|Light, Airy, Dancing||
After moving to LA in 2008, I and went searching for another DJ to collaborate with. Inaia was recommended to me. I downloaded one of her tracks, recorded flute and percussion to it, then sent it to her as an introduction. She loved it, but little did I know she had just moved to Miami and we never worked together.
|Warm, Creamy, Mocha-latte
(Is this how you spell it?
I dunno; I don't drink the stuff)
Sometimes it is nice to have new equipment around; it gives you another focal point which is useful for the artist to avoid the dreaded "looking in a mirror" syndrome which is the death of all true art.
Here I am borrowing a mic from a dear friend. It's creamy, delicious voicing is just the thing for flute. It's my secret weapon and no, I won't tell you what it is. Well, for $500 bucks I'll tell you what it is (that way I can get my own).
BTW I am also on guitar here and it is an excellent example of the hybrid picking style I modified from my father, who himself modified it from Chet Atkins. Thank you Chet. I wish I had your thumb. But then, I'm sure you wouldn't like that very much.
|Sophisticated, Lyrical, Smooth||"Just Another Gig"
I wrote this song during the 6th year of hammering out nearly 250 gigs a year with the Dave Bass Quartet. It was an exhilerating but exhausting schedule. On the way back from one particularly frustrating gig, inspiration struck (hence the title).
It's a bit dark and has a bit of New Orleans in it. If you've ever been to N.O., you know the dark Gothic South is present everywhere, from the Spanish Moss to the old alleyway graveyards.
We filmed this version for a cable show called "Jazz and Blues," created and filmed by Tom Carpenter. He did fabulous job on that show, filming all of it LIVE, no overdubs, three cameras in the room. Quite challenging.
Dan Baraszu on guitar, Tim Delaney on bass, Keith Runfolla on drums, conjuring up subtle shades of New Orleans.
While you're at it, check out Dan's fabulous solo work:
||INSTRUMENTS||TEXTURE / COLO / MOOD||DESCRIPTION|
|Sophisitcated, Groovy, Minor (dark)||
It inspired me so I took the first portion of the song and completed it, writing the chords then laying down guitar, bass and drums. I think it transformed it into something quite different.
I guess he didn't like it because he said he wasn't going to use it and that's the last I heard from him. Unless he tries that LA trick of re-recording it and not giving credit in which case he'll be getting a terse letter from an attorney, lol.
|Funky, Quirky, Hip-Hoppy||"Monday"
Rau Rau (aka David Alexandrou)
David is one of the quirkiest artists I have ever known. Believe it or not, that voice can sound spot on like Johnny Cash. His range is big, his creativity is enormous. Just don't invite him for dinner; he won't show. Until three days later.
For a while there, he was writing songs for an alter-ego named "Rau Rau." Rau Rau was a hit with all the girls. He was an innovator. He was too cool for his own shoes. He even wrote a song called "Monday" to counter Rebecca Black's then-hit "Friday."
But Rau Rau's "Monday" was a lot hipper.
If memory serves correct, he laid down vocals while I played drums, then I went back and added bass, saxes, flutes & percussion.
David Alexandrou - er, I mean Rau Rau - on vocals.
Tenor; Lead and Background
Jazz, Theater, Soul, Pop
||INSTRUMENTS||TEXTURE / COLO / MOOD||DESCRIPTION|
|Voice||Warm, loose, swinging||
"Made for Each Other" - Robert Bass
One small note, I apparently did not pronounce the word "parting" fully because one friend thought I sang "party". My bad. Perhaps I'll get around to fixing it one day; for now I'll let it live as a one-take wonder.
|Coming soon: some Pop and R&B vocals.|
MY FORTE' IS RECORDING LIVE, ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENTS.
INSTRUMENTS PERFORMED & RECORDED:
"Working with Dave elevated my song from average bedroom music to legit world-class sounds!"
"I hired Dave to perform soprano fills and solos on my singer/songwriter jazz/pop track; it is a fantastic take.
"Dave put his horn on a Christmas present for my wife and turned the song into a thing of beauty.
"Dave's flute on two of my original songs resulted in recordings that I am quite proud of.
"Dave's studio is incredible.
"The tracking was superb, and the lines and arrangement you crafted fit well into everything."
"I am knocked out by your production work; very tasty, especially that nice solo.
"I would not hesitate to hire Dave as a musical director, singer, player, copyist or recording engineer and producer."
"I think we scored big; you did a great job."
"Dave is one of the most gifted and diverse musical artists I know.
"I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your Herculean effort, your musicality and your great nature."
"You are the hardest working man in show biz."
My father was a professional musician and songwriter; my mother is an avid lover of classic pop, theater and jazz.
My father taught me percussion instruments and brushes at age 3.
had my first steady gig at 15, playing every weekend in a very cool restaurant and bar in Marietta Square.
I won numerous awards in High School in both music and Creative Writing,
I freelanced for years with a ton of different bands - big bands, blues bands, pop bands -
I left college early because I wanted "Dead Poets Society" and got "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
But by 1993 I had grown sick of the corporate world.
I started transcribing all the music that really spoke to me -
Within months I was invited to join the most popular band in town, at the most popular nightclub in the city, Otto's in Buckhead.
In 1996, I re-formed my band with the best cats in town and soon went full-time.
As one bandmate put it, "I've seen more of you than I've seen of my wife!"
Then the composing bug hit me.
In 2005, I built my first Private Home Recording Studio -
In LA, I gigged, but the gigs often sucked ass in terms of actual musical quality - and they paid ass too.
In 2015, after a stretch of some pretty bad songwriters and performers coming through my studio,
Copyright © Dave Bass, 2020