Friday, April 9, 2010

Michael Bisio: Triple-Threat Bassist, Composer, Bandleader

January 22, 2009—Bassist Michael Bisio has that triple-threat ability so important for a viable career in the jazz world. He is an extremely able bassist with capabilities that allow him to swing like mad, solo with imagination and maintain an important voice on the free-er channels of contemporary improvisation. He writes and arranges pieces that are well structured and memorable. And he is an astute bandleader, knowing how to pick musicians that each add an important voice to the group sound. All of this is quite apparent in a CIMP release of a 2006 session: CIMP 360: Circle This. The room balanced, record-it-as-it-sounds engineering of CIMP releases works to great advantage with this group. They have a give and take approach to their playing and, with each player attuned to the others, thrive when simply let alone to find their natural group sound.

These are wonderfully seasoned, modern improvisers. Reedmen Avram Fefer and Stephen Gauci contrast well together. Both can be gritty or purer in tone and they adjust their playing perceptively depending on what the other is doing. There are some exciting two-horn improv moments, such as on “Times that Bond,” that stoke fire while remaining phrase-articulate. And their solo spots sum up where modern sounds can go when gifted musicians are allowed free reign. These are players with a rich vocabulary and eloquence of expression. Bisio and Rosen team up as a strong rhythm section that can bear down or support the horns with sound color and flexibility. Bisio’s compositions and arrangements cement the quartet’s direction with variety and subtle nuance.

It’s one of those CDs that can stand endless playing while remaining fresh. That’s because there is nothing stale about it! There is much that is right in the jazz scene of today. And much of that can be found on Circle This. Check it out for a bit of the thrill of discovery. You can find out more or order this CD by going to Once there click on the CIMP banner.