We will continue our blindfold interviews with electric bassist and composer Selçuk Karaman. Selçuk Karaman, aka SelKa, was born in Istanbul and started to write and perform music at an early age. He studied music at Bilgi University, DJAM Amsterdam and Prins Klaus Conservatory. He has recorded and performed with musicians such as Aydın Esen, Ricky Ford, Don Braden, Butch Morris, Gary Husband, Scott Kinsey, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Gene Jackson, Chander Sardjoe and Owen Hart Jr. and recorded two albums called “SelKa / XyZ, ”SelKa / Transformation”. SelKa views music from a large perspective and compares his outlook with contemporary music as well as the trends of our day, and distinguishes between the different periods of jazz and their musicians. He believes that one needs to have a criticising outlook in order to be able to talk about music. We presented this esteemed musician with a selection of four albums.
2002, Bardo Records
Heretics – Jonas Hellborg & Shawn Lane
Shawn Lane (g)
Jonas Hellborg (eb)
Jeff Snipe (d)
This music has Tribal Tech vibes…Scott Henderson. At least it feels like him in the intro. It sounds like Los Angeles style, one of those who play in “packets”. The drummer is rather busy here. I listened to such music back in the day, Dennis Chambers and the like. I know that school. I don’t know what Dennis Chambers has been up to lately. This isn’t a track I am familiar with. I have been listening to the radio more for a while because I don’t like to be crushed under names. In order to be able to talk about pure music, one needs to be able to criticise as well. I want to say Alan Holdsworth but I don’t hear those harmonies yet. It seems to be following that. There is a guitarist from New York, called Tim, he has a darker tone but it sounds like him as well. I will say this, since that’s how I evaluate music in my head, “They are lallygagging still!”. We aren’t at the main theme still. I am not saying this as an intro. In contemporary music, may it be jazz or pop, there is no space for long intros. Spotify statistics suggest that the listeners decide within the first twelve seconds of a track. These musicians either feel like “we don’t care, we will do as we please” or they don’t follow the industry fully. It will probably turn out to be one of the good musicians, I can hear that smokiness in the sound but that doesn’t matter much for me. The bassist has that precision sound. He isn’t playing modern tones. The drums are busy even during the bass solo. I think he could do with smaller touches. These pentatonic performances are hard to get rid of for electric bassists. The LA style playing seems to work well for the whole band. I think I know who this bassist is, I can place the specific tone in my head. This isn’t a style of music that I would like, unfortunately. What can we talk about the technique? I didn’t hear a single altered sound! I cannot named the drummer, I don’t know this tone. What is the brand of the drum kit I wonder? Because contemporary drum sound like Eric Harland and Marc Guiliana’s has less sustain with stacato, closed tones, but this tone in particular seems to be in between the two. The guitarist might be Frank Gambale. This style of electric bass sound is old fashioned in today’s world. Therefore it doesn’t interest me. It has been a long time since that book was closed. There are eras with Stanley Clarkle when Marcus Miller was Marcus Miller. These came about between those periods… Frank Gambale trios, John Mc Laughlin, Dennis Chambers… Gary Willis has a couple of albums like this. It is important to pursue modernity, some catch up to it through their technique, some do so harmonically etc… Beethoven achieved modernity in his era with his innovations on form and choir arrangements for example.
Jonas Hellborg. Personae album.
The tune starts at 32:13.
Yes this is exactly the Hellborg sound. Hellborg is a musician who got popular for a while but then we didn’t hear more of his work. This was recorded in 2002. That is when Hellborg was at his peak. He published a bass guitar method during that period.
2000, Concord Records
King Kong – John Patitucci
Chris Potter (ss)
Danilo Perez (p)
John Patitucci (b)
Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez (d)
Giovanni Hidalgo (perc)
John Patitucci’s Imprint album. Horatio Hernandez played in this album. I got goosebumps! Patitucci is a special musician for me. We heard him with Chick Corea Electric Band for the first time but his One More Angel and Now albums could be his first LPs in which he focuses more on the double bass. He already played with Chick Corea Acoustic Band regularly but he proved his musical worth with his albums that recorded with Alan Pasqua, John Scofıeld, Bill Stewart etc. His One More Angel album, recorded after he has lost his child, is an intensely emotional one. His cellist wife Sachi is also in that album. That is a dark world but it is rather balanced. My first album XYZ also is rather dark as well. I couldn’t balance it out properly when I was young. Not all listeners can understand this but Patitucci has been maintaining that balance. He plays blues that isn’t light hearted really well, shines in every band he plays with, sometimes stays in the background, sometimes plays one note, or five, while maintaining the musicality and balance well. I met him during his concert at Babylon. He is a musician that I look up to when it comes to his view on life and his attitude. Even if he plays bad, which I haven’t heard yet, his tone and intonation is always on point. Playing blues does not mean necessarily playing it with blues notes, for example. If you pay attention especially to singers, there are off tone keys, Patitucci can do those on the double bass. Of course the youth these days can watch videos and imitate these styles well but he learnt these styes properly by working with really good musicians because he didn’t have the former opportunity. He made his last point with Wayne Shorter. He has a new album now. A solo bass album.
Anthony Jackson & Yiorgos Fakanas – Interspirit
2010, Abstract Logix
Footprints – Wayne Shorter
Takis Paterelis (as, ss, flt)
Mitch Forman (keyb)
Antonis Andreou (tb)
Anthony Jackson (eb)
Yiorgos Fakanas (eb, düzenlemeler)
Dave Weckl (d)
Is this Footprints? It has a European air or they wanted to achieve that! The musicians could be American. You wouldn’t write this 1-5-octave-9 thing of course but… If the music calls for it, there is little else to do. We played this piece in major scale with Aydın Esen! Gil Evans played the woodwinds really well in jazz, especially with Miles Davis. There is little creativity, it feels like an end-of-era project! We can’t hear jazz here, this is a bit out of topic. One should see these as variety, there are great musicians who play Balkan jazz. I would like to hear such an arrangement from Maria Schneider for example. Her orchestra’s sound is close to this. The bassist started to shine. I think he plays a fretless bass. It feels like a musician from the old times because he has a compressed tone. It is Stanley Clark’s sound. The playing style sounds like him as well. Or somebody played that era, they feel close to that, it isn’t Marcus Miller for example. Could be Steve Swallow but I don’t think so. It sounds like he plays with a pick. He plays close to the bridge with a pick. The sound is simiar to Steve Swallow but he wouldn’t play such a solo. There were orchestras back in the day then they became projects. I think this is such a project, I also can hear Anthony Jackson as well.
Anthony Jackson. Anthony Jackson & Yiorgos Fakanas – Interspirit album.
Time stamp: 8.38
I don’t feel immersed in this music. You cannot listen to Anthony Jackson intensively like that. I guessed that was the time period.
There are two bassists here. One can hear two different bass tones.
Yes, as I said, there is a Balkan air, it made itself evident in the beginning of the music. I got the opportunity to make Greek and Bulgar friends and play with the since I lived in Europe for a long time. They have a specific sound when they write for big orchestras. I would look for Anthony Jackson as a bassist if I wrote this music for an orchestra. He would shoulder the orchestra and play everything in its place. This music wouldn’t handle being interrupted. I would pop me head out if I was playing such music. I would try to drag the band in a direction, for example. This is ultimately a project, because it is clear they play in a scattered way. I think they should have rehearsed ten more times for this.
Live At Tonic
Boogie Woogie Waltz – Weather Report
Christian McBride (eb)
Geoff Keezer (keyb)
Ron Blake (ss)
Terreon Gully (d)
It sounds like Weather Report. Miroslav Vitous plays the electric bass like this. For example; Guardian Angels. This music speaks the universal language. Whoever it might be, Chinese or else. It sounds like Joe Zawinul;s works. The bassist isn’t Jaco Pasterius of course. How is this drummer compared to the other ones?! They played their whole lives away! I can see the musician’s face as I listen to the drums playing. His smile and the way he listens to the music. Bill Stewart is like that in John Patitucci’s Now album for example; not skipping even a single note, living fully in the music… I think that should be how to play. I thought it could be Syndicate Project since it is a live recording but I don’t think so, even though that definitely is the source. This is American music. The bassist clearly is a musician who has influenced newer generations. A master bassist. I heard some chops we all have. Some show this off everywhere, some don’t but we all know where they come from. These stem from Jaco Pastorius in modern electric bass. Marcus belongs to another phase. Scott Kinsey does similar work (Human Elements etc.). But they play more evolved now. This is a really warm session. Let this album play until the morning! We didn’t get to speak about melodic minor in the playing of the previous bassists. However, the new bassists mainly play melodic minor like 2-5-1. Five sharp in C major, for example. Lydian Augmented. Third degree melodic minor. That’s how most play now. Yes, this piece is the reflection of World Music in Americans. They are all responsible and play like a band. The soprano saxophonist could be Wayne Shorter or Dave Liebman. The ghost notes on the drum’s side drum are amazing! Tommy Campell plays like this for example. We can hear a bit of Bill Cobham as well…
Christian Mc Bride. Live at Tonic. A live recording.
This comes as a surprise! Thinking again, it does sound like him. I know his older albums as well. I listened to his concert at Roxy in which he played the electric bass. It was the Living album era, we were with Aydın Esen and Vinnie Colaiuta at that concert. Gregory Hutchinson played the drums. It was an incredible concert. I must have overlooked Christian McBride’s style of music. He plays a fretless bass and this music has the air of Black American Music. Christian McBride follows Jaco Pastorius in his bass playing. He expresses this most naturally. He hit the notes, raised the music and have the band the cue. He is a really professional musician. He is one of my favorite bassists who carry on with the tradition. Everyone plays jazz now but when Wynton Marsalis plays, and Branford is also included in this; you can hear the soul of New Orleans. They both play classical music as well. Christian McBride is one of these musicians, that’s why it is important. If I were to choose between Marc Johnson and McBride I would choose Marc Johnson, but that is only because of my personal views. But if a band has Christian McBride, that means the music is solid. Maybe it isn’t really modern but you will hear everything about traditions and music, nothing will be lost. The solos will be somewhat shabby. This man can stumble and fall on the road, make the environment muddy, but he will make his way to his destination, that is about hearing the music or not; it is about perspective…
Thank you for this pleasant conversation and this “Blindfold”.
Thank you as well!