Lonnie Plaxico – West Side Stories
West Side Stories
(Plaxmusic – 2006)
by Paula Edelstein
The sonic perceptions of double bassist/composer/musical director, Lonnie Plaxico surface in an array of styles ranging from contemporary jazz, avant-garde/free jazz, his innovative M-Base sound and funk on WEST SIDE STORIES. This is Plaxico’s eleventh recording, his second for his own record label PLAXMUSIC. It is a stunning accomplishment by anyone’s standards.
Joined by Cassandra Wilson, Steve Coleman and Gary Thomas (all from Plaxico’s M-Base days), Carla Cook, Ravi Coltrane, and Jeff Haynes, the songs not only bring back great memories but give you, dear listener an exciting reason to listen on. Wilson’s deep supple voice and moody vocal phrasings on four songs are worth the price of the CD alone but that’s not to say Steve Coleman’s alto saxophonics and Plaxico’s colorful bass textures and lines don’t provide the perfect underscore for her on “One Less Bell To Answer,” and “Longer.” What makes these particular songs so special is the eloquent technique of these masterful musicians and their interplay (they don’t cancel each out but integrate a focused compromise of M-Bass funk and jazz vocalizing.) Ravi Coltrane’s plays a funky soprano sax on “Funkadelic” an original song by Plaxico one of seven he contributes to the CD.
With its excellent production values and a sterling selection of songs that you don’t hear that often on jazz recordings (despite that fact that some of them are over 30!!), there is no reason not to add WEST SIDE STORIES to your jazz collection today.