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Reggie Young — Steppin’ Up

Aug. 13, 2011

One of the more interesting projects I’ve heard thus far in 2011, bassist Reggie Young offers a diverse field of moods on his latest release, Steppin’ Up.  There are well-played, well-written, well-phrased, and well-conceived tunes on this CD, which, by the way, also features award winning saxman Darren Rahn. promoting the new CD and offering advice to aspiring bassists and other musicians. While not a unique approach, it is most commendable and speaks volumes about his love of the music and his commitment to excellence in production.

Just as you hear the comfort level on the lead track, the funky “Play for Me,” Young also settles into the blues vein, as heard in “Gumbo.”  The fiery track brings home all of the electric emotion that all true bluesmen know only too well. Then, there’s the mellow, soulful Young who lays down such reflective tracks as “World Peace.”

The funky, up-tempo “Metheny Way” at track 7 features well-played vibes in addition to some tight horn and bass action. The short, rock-influenced “Champion” has a Led Zeppelin feel to it while maintaining a jazz/funk identity. “It’s Me Again” has both reggae and rock touches as well as some of the true jazz fusion of the DiMeola/Corea/Stern persuasion. 

To say Young is well-rounded in terms of tastes is an understatement. Though the project as a whole suggests the aforementioned jazz fusion climate, the diversity is quite interesting–almost riveting.

The bassist travels back to the blues on track 11 with “Odyssey Blues,” tossing in some nifty harmonica runs before going “Downtown” on track 12 to grab some of that impressive straight-ahead vibe.

Young also has a YouTube video promoting the new CD and offering advice to aspiring bassists and other musicians. While not a unique approach, it is most commendable and speaks volumes about his love of the music and his commitment to excellence in production.

This album is filled with competent musicians, really good music, and a sense that you’re getting the best from Young.  These are virtues that should never be taken lightly or for granted. – Ronald Jackson