Tony Levin: “D’Angelo’s Voodoo made me need to return to highschool as a bassist”

Tony Levin: “D’Angelo’s Voodoo made me need to return to highschool as a bassist”

The legendary Tony Levin is really a bass participant for all seasons. Who else straps wooden sticks to their fingers after they play? Having spent a few years supplying basslines of impeccable high quality in Peter Gabriel’s band in addition to holding down excursions with maybe essentially the most progressive of all of the old-school prog acts, King Crimson, Levin’s credentials converse for themselves.

In between all this bass magnificence Levin additionally performs the Chapman Stick, essentially the most intimidating musical instrument ever devised, in quite a lot of ensembles together with the self-explanatory Stick Males. “I don’t actually take into consideration the crossover between the 2 devices,” he says. “Some songs simply appear proper for the stick, and others for the bass guitar.”

Requested to advocate 4 albums with killer bass enjoying, Levin will get itemizing…

1. Oscar Pettiford – Oscar Pettiford (1954)

“Oscar Pettiford’s Tricotism is an album I grew up with. I’m not likely positive the identify is correct – it’s actually a collection of albums with the identical gamers, Julius Watkins on French horn, and Charlie Rouse on sax. It has nice, tasty enjoying, particularly by Pettiford – he at all times hits the best notes, they usually’re at all times positioned completely for optimum groove.”

2. D’Angelo – Voodoo (2000)

“D’Angelo’s Voodoo made me need to return to highschool, figuratively, as a bassist. It was a brand new type of groove (to me) that broke all the principles I grew up with, however was amazingly cool. I raved to my fellow gamers about it, and tried to introduce that type of enjoying to a few of my music – I couldn’t do it… so it’s nonetheless on my listing of ‘acquired to be taught this, dude.’” 

3. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – In Wonderful Occasions (2007)

“Then there’s Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s In Wonderful Occasions. I like this type of music – it has nice energy, nice musicianship and nice bass enjoying by Dan Rathbun, typically on devices he constructed himself. One factor you gotta love about music: this band could have been influenced a bit by King Crimson, however then I, a member of King Crimson, was very a lot influenced by them! With Stick Males, I insisted we do a chunk of theirs for our first yr on the street, although it was powerful and never an incredible rendition, simply to get us pondering in that vein.”

4. Joni Mitchell – Hejira (1976)

“Lastly, there’s Joni Mitchell’s Hejira. Jaco’s enjoying earlier than that had impressed me, but it surely didn’t transfer me, perhaps as a result of it was so removed from the types I performed. However the bass enjoying on this album is classy: to me it’s the apotheosis of fretless enjoying behind a singer. It’s fantastically melodic by itself, however by no means interfering with the nice vocals, distinctive harmonically, with a mode of its personal, and impeccably in tune… I put the fretless bass away for 10 years!”

Tony Levin will quickly be becoming a member of Peter Gabriel’s long-awaited i/o – The Tour. Tickets for the 2023 run throughout Europe and North America can be found from Peter Gabriel’s official site (opens in new tab).

Tony Levin live in concert with Peter Gabriel

(Picture credit score: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Pictures)

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