Feb. 25, 2017
Brendan Rothwell may or may not be a bassist with whom you are familiar, but he certainly should be. His approach, at least on this album Time On My Hands, is at its very least quite interesting as his is a laid-back yet highly competent style of bass playing. The melodies are rich and pleasant; the playing pretty introspective — and maybe a bit too much so for those seeking that funky in-your-face slap bass style.
Playing the instrument as if trying to convey some deep discovery or observation, his approach seems almost cerebral, again not something simply for the groove-seeker. It is more a lesson in how to massage the bass (“wake it” and “let it breathe,” as he says) and speak through it, which is honestly the reason why I chose to review this project. You can hear that on the lead track (“Intro (Wake the Bass)”) and “The King.”
There’s a special character to this material. When he does get to that in-the-pocket groove, as you’ll hear on tracks like “This Is the Love” (which includes some cool background vocals from unnamed vocalists), the light, sweet, silky, and melodic title track, and “Smooth,” you’ll see why this 7-track EP warrants attention.
For Rothwell’s finale (“Outro (Stories”)), he offers us a food-for-thought narrative that’s really worth a listen. One of those “hmm” moments.
When you listen to Rothwell, you’ll undoubtedly hear skill and command of the instrument. Personally, I’m hoping to hear more from him, and I hope he’ll expand to include more of what bass-lovers crave in C=jazz, not to take anything away from this enlightening approach. In fact, I’m sure many bassists (and bass fans) will find something truly refreshing about this EP. – Ronald Jackson