Jeff Berlin, Jack Songs Review
Bassist and composer Jeff Berlin is releasing his new tribute album to legendary bassist Jack Bruce titled Jack Songs. Bruce, famous for his work with the classic rock group Cream and critically acclaimed solo career, passed away in 2014. Berlin was a friend of Bruce’s and wanted to record a project to remember how Bruce influenced his musical path. The guest artists are Sammy Hagar, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Gregg Bissonette, Gary Husband, Eric Johnson, Bill Frisell, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Alex Ligertwood, Scott Henderson, Marcus Miller, Ron Carter, Tony Levin, Michael League, Nathan East, Mark King, Bruce Guttridge, Billy Sheehan, and Johnny Hiland.
Berlin says, “Recording the music of Jack Bruce has been the most emotional recording project of my career. Jack was the greatest bass influence I ever had. In the center of his music were these strange and wonderful bass lines weaving in and out of the key, reaching for resolutions and finding them again and again. Jack’s playing was a living evolving improvisation.”
The album starts with a Cream medley titled “Creamed.” The arrangement is well-conceived, and the playing and sounds are excellent. After Berlin shows his solo skills with a warm, distorted bass sound, Alex Lifeson performs a beautiful guitar solo.
Eric Johnson contributes his easily identifiable guitar skills to “Theme From An Imaginary Western.” Fusion guitarist Scott Henderson takes a stirring solo on “L’Angelico Misterioso.”
The core band is Berlin: bass, keyboards; Bruce Guttridge: drums; John McCracken: guitars; Pat Coil: organ and Ron Hemby alternating vocals with Alex Ligertwood. Speaking of vocals, Sammy Hagar sings on “L’Angelico Misterioso.” The vocals and band are outstanding throughout the project.
Berlin is an excellent player, his skill on the bass is a combination of flawless technique that combines with heartfelt feels. In addition, Berlin is an exceptional composer; listen to “Traintime Time.”
Overall, Jack Songs is a creative project that will stimulate anyone that is a Cream fan, as I am, and all the talented musicians add many flavors and colors to each selection. Berlin is a fantastic bassist; each selection also shows his many talents in various styles and settings. Eclectic, sure, but in the best of ways. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Jeff Berlin: Website |
November 25, 2022