ISB board member Alan Lewine is crazy about our executive director Madeleine Crouch and he was even more excited to be a contributor to the Dear Madeleine project.  While the purpose of making this CD was as a fundraiser, it is a great listen with contributions coming in from all kinds of styles (and ISB stars).  We only printed 1,000 copies total.  Once they’re gone, they are gone. With each purchase made, all proceeds go directly back to the ISB. You can read the full back story for the project here.  Here are Alan’s reflections on the project and individual artist tracks:

I frankly pinch myself to find one of my tunes in the illustrious company of so many of my idols.  I contributed a track called Soñar Contigo, an original composition featuring me with vibes and drums, but let me say a word about the work of each of the true masters here.  Roughly in the order on the CD:

  • Several compositions are dedicated explicitly to Madeleine, such as the opener Mad Rap by John Clayton, he of multiple Grammys and USC.  Reminiscent of his recording of Keeter Betts’ Walkin’ Bass from the first Clayton Brothers LP on Concord Jazz in 1979 (and a newer version on the 2008 CD Brother to Brother), John masterfully plays and amusingly sings (raps) an ode to Madeleine he co-wrote with Shelley Hubbard.  John is a master big band composer/arranger (who has done his share of pop arrangements as well – such as his Super Bowl Star Spangled Banner arrangement for Witney Houston) and one of the leading jazz bassists of our day, but his silky baritone voice is an underexploited resource.
  • Lynn Seaton, a New Yorker transplanted to North Texas University College of Music, where he leads the jazz bass program, follows with a madly swinging bowed workout on his own Zoom Blewz.
  • The Air Force’s master bassist and frequent Bass World contributor, Chris Kosky contributes a brilliant big band arrangement with vocals by Paige Martin dedicated to Madeleine’s trusty ancient VW, Dudley Beetle.
  • Michael Moore recorded a solo improvisation in bass doctor David Gage’s personal studio.   His I’m All For You is dedicated to the proposition that Madeleine Crouch has, as he notes, “Done more for the string bass than Bottesini.”

Curious?  Wanna hear the tracks?

  • Thierry Barbé, principal bass of the orchestra of the Opéra National de Paris, composed a harmonic progression based on the spelling of Madeleine’s name and then wrote and performs a beautiful melody played arco with his remarkably pellucid tone.   
  • Todd Coolman, another multiple Grammy winner and in-demand NYC bassist and teacher, offers his tribute to Oscar Pettiford,  O.P. Update, originally released on his Grammy-winning album Moody 48 in 2011 and featuring the great James Moody.
  • Gary Karr founded the ISB in 1967.  Considered the preeminent classical bass soloist (not just by me, but by Time magazine too) and heir of Koussevitzky’s bass, Gary comes out of retirement to perform a Paganini Aria and Variations for violin(!) and unveil his comic abilities with an interspersed hairy dog story.  No spoiler alert – I won’t give away the punch line, but the story begins with a bartender in Dallas.
  • Mark Dresser is not only a master of the instrument, he is a widely recorded composer who has written for and played with “just about every major experimental, creative, and/or improviser around”, according to AllMusic.  Here he presents a solo performance of his compositional portrait Mad for MAD.

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  • David Murray is an internationally renowned solo bass virtuoso and teacher.  His composition Beegeedeem for two basses shows the influence of Argentine master of nuevo tango, Astor Piazzolla as well as David’s remarkably fluid tone and articulation.
  • Tom Knific is a quadruple threat as an accomplished player in both the European non-improvising “classical” tradition and in jazz as well as a composer and educator.  Tom brings his trio featuring Fred Hersch to bear on his gentle, if ironically titled, composition Her Hymn.
  • The classical yin to Lynn Seaton’s jazz yang at North Texas University, Jeff Bradetich contributes a beautifully-rendered take on the traditional ballad Greensleeves.  Jeff is the former long-time executive director of the ISB, and founder of the Bradetich Foundation, which supports the advancement of the double bass.
  • Nashville’s master of jazz bass, Jim Ferguson offers a song punning on Madeleine’s nickname and the ISB’s occasional fiscal blues (which your purchase of this CD will help cure) with Don’t Go Away Mad.  He sings with his beautiful tenor accompanied only by his own swinging bass lines.
  • Ron Carter, teacher, composer and probably the most recognizable and maybe the most recorded jazz bassist in history, performs the longest track on the CD.  Though nearly 8 minutes of solo bass dedicated to “all you do”, we can’t be certain whether D.B. Blues is a blues for the Double Bass or another homage to Dudley Beetle.  But it takes only two notes to be certain this is the master, Ron Carter.
  • Another anchor of the jazz scene in New York and around the world for decades and an important author, composer and educator with hundreds (thousands?) of recordings as both leader and sideman released to the world, Rufus Reid with his Out Front trio performs his lovely jazz waltz I Can’t Explain.
  • Then Edgar Meyer presents a brief arco solo followed by a few words of heartfelt thanks to Madeleine. (****Only on the CD version.  Not available on the digital download.)
  • Finally, composer/bassist Frank Proto offers a 47 second trip through the bass-time continuum titled Greetings From Gallifrey.  Showing his mastery of orchestration in a musical joke, Proto finishes the CD with his bass out front of a synthesized orchestra playing off-the-wall references to the British TV hit Dr Who and his words of admiration delivered in his distinctive Brooklyn brogue.

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****Please note that the CD includes the Edgar Meyer’s track.  The digital download does not. The digital version  includes a pdf file of all the liner notes.