I was doing a bit of channel-surfing tonight and happened upon a programme on Sky Arts which has musicians playing live sessions in a studio. I think it is called something like the Basement Sessions. When I got to it it was halfway through a song by somebody I didn’t know and I might have carried on through the channels but something got me hooked.
It all sounded a bit jazzy, and I have to be in the right mood for jazzy stuff. There were two men playing bass guitar, one on keyboards and a drummer with a pretty minimal kit, but he was doing amazing things with a kit about 10% the size and scope of what, say, Neil Peart has. One of the bass players had a bass that seemed to have at least 6 strings and a neck like a Chapman Stick. They were playing in a sort of noodly jazz fusion style, but it was totally hypnotic. One song seemed to go on for about 8 minutes, with very few lyrics, but I kind of wished it would go on for ever.
It turned out to be somebody called Thundercat. His playing reminded me of Jaco Pastorius, but a lot more intricate at times. Having never heard of him, I looked him up: his Wikipedia entry is minimal and none of his sole albums are on Spotify, though I suspect he is better heard live anyway.
It just so happens that he was also in Suicidal Tendencies for 9 years. OK, so that is a band that has been going for over 30 years with a constantly changing lineup so almost everybody has been in it at some time, but what a difference in mood.
Here are a couple of clips of Thundercat: one a sort of solo effort and the other with Suicidal Tendencies. Compare and contrast.