Walking the Changes – Bass Documentary

A Film by Nick Wells : beneaththebassline.com/double-bass

It was an immense honor to be included in Nick Wells’ excellent documentary, Walking the Changes | Legends of the Double Bass in Jazz. This film should be required watching for every inspiring bassist. Nick went through great lengths to interview some of the most amazing players alive today (most of whom are my heroes), and he captured really great moments, both in interviews and performances.

My contribution involved speaking about the contributions of bass great Scott LaFaro. For my segment, I met the camera crew at the legendary Village Vanguard, with Scott LaFaro’s Prescott bass in tow. Though I have played Scotty’s bass at the Vanguard a few times in the past, this experience was different. I felt the weight of my responsibility as I played a solo version of Gloria’s Step on LaFaro’s bass in the center of that historic jazz club. For me personally, that was a true life milestone.

This film is full of amazing interviews and performances by Dave Holland, Larry Grenadier, Ron Carter, Avishai Cohen, Chris Minh Doky, Liran Donin, Stanley Clarke, Steve Rodby, Phil Palombi, Lars Danielsson, John Patitucci, Christian McBride, Jon Thorne, Jasper Hoiby, and many more!

Follow Nick and this film on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/walkingthechanges

Walking the Changes centres around pivotal moments in the history of the double bass in jazz. Featuring exclusive interviews with the bass players who’ve pushed the boundaries of rhythm-section playing, elevating the instrument from a mere time-keeping role, to visionary composers and improvisors. With never-before-seen performance footage, studio outtakes and rare photos, this film unpacks the music of the best jazz bassists of all time.

Bill Evans Documentary Interview

About a month before I recorded my tribute to Scott LaFaro (RE:Person I Knew) with the late Don Friedman and Bill Evans alumnus Eliot Zigmund, I got a call. Don told me that a film maker named Bruce Spiegel contacted him about an interview for a Bill Evans documentary he was putting together. When Bruce heard that we were about to go into the studio together to record a tribute to Scott LaFaro, along with Scott’s Prescott bass that he used on some many recordings, he asked if I would be interested in talking a little about LaFaro for the documentary.

Bruce swung by Bennett Studio on our second day of recording for the interviews, basically hitting three birds with one stone: Eliot, of course, was a part of the Bill Evans trio, and I have my in-depth knowledge of LaFaro and how he fit into the trio musically. Don, however, had a very unique claim to fame. I don’t think this is in the film, but Don told me a story about a night he got a call from LaFaro, who asked him to run down immediately to some jazz club (in Manhattan) where the Bill Evans trio was headlining. Apparently the cops picked Evans up for something and he couldn’t make the gig that night– and that’s how Don Friedman played with the Bill Evans trio! Don, of course, was also Scott’s roommate and good friend, which he elaborates on in the film.

The documentary is very thorough and well put together with tons of great interviews. I think my favorite segment is Paul Motian, who speaks at length about that trio. From what I understand, it was difficult to get Paul to talk about that trio or anything else from the past. He was always looking to the future, so this interview is a rare treat.

I highly recommend renting this documentary! You won’t be disappointed.

VINYL HAS ARRIVED – Detroit Lean Limited Edition LPs!

Get’em while there cooling down! I’ve pressed only 300 audiophile 180g Lps, all of which are signed and numbered.

The recording LP was tracked at the Club House on a beautiful vintage Neve desk by engineer George Petit, mastered by the great Oscar Zambrano at Zampol productions, cut by the legendary Scott Hull at Masterdisk, and pressed in my birth state of Ohio by Gotta Groove records.

I spared no expense for this limited edition pressing, right down to the 180g double LP and thick, full color, glossy gatefold jacket reminiscent of the old Impulse! recordings. Watch the video to learn more!



Detroit Lean

A New Release by Bassist Phil Palombi!

Order, Download, Digital Liner Notes, Press Release and More!


Detroit Lean CoverWith my previous recordings, actually with most of my writing, I was always trying to write music that fit into a specific style or band,” says Palombi. “With Detroit Lean, I just wrote music stream-of-consciousness style— whatever popped into my mind. As a result, I think that I unconsciously channeled a wide range of influences and sounds that have been bouncing around in my head over my musical life. I didn’t really care what anyone wanted to hear or about trying to fit a genre. I wanted to see what was inside of me.
– Phil Palombi, April 2016 READ MORE

The Return of LaFaro’s Bass to the Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

On May 4th, I walked through the doors of the Village Vanguard with Scott LaFaro’s bass in hand. Why is that a big deal? I guess we all have our ideas about what matters in live. We all have our personal journeys to make, and along with those journeys comes our own views of what is monumental. For some people, life landmarks may have been scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or becoming the CEO of a successful company. For me, it was playing LaFaro’s bass on the very stage that he recorded Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard 53 years earlier. READ MORE

The Importance of Critical Listening — Part 1


Enjoying the Hi-Fi

As I typed the title phrase Critical Listening I thought to myself “Why do I need to include the word critical?” Why not just title it “The Importance of Listening”?

I guess I added critical for the younger generations that may not have grown up with the idea that a home stereo could be something that you sit in front of like a computer, TV, or book. I felt that if I would have just used the word listen, some people might think “Sure, I listen to music every day- in the car, at the grocery store, when I’m walking across campus, etc… What’s the big deal?” READ MORE

Vinyl vs CD – It’s a Battle to the Death!!!

So, this should be a quick blog post, right. Everyone these days seems to have come full circle back to the discussion that began in ernest in the 1980’s. Which is better? Vinyl? CD? Well, I am here to announce the official results! There is a definite answer, which is enclosed in an envelope sitting in front of me. Okay, are you ready?

Is vinyl better than CD, or is CD better than vinyl? And the answer is………………


My Earplug Odyssey

I have been a fan of earplugs for a long time, but it wasn’t until I lost my custom moulded pair that I reflected on my long term relationship with these little silicone live savers.

I’ve been playing gigs since I was about 14 years old, but it wasn’t until I went on the road with Maynard Ferguson that I realized it was time to fill in ye olde ear holes. I vividly remember my first rehearsal with Maynard. We were set up in an empty hotel room in Indiana. Two saxes, three trumpets, trombone, piano, bass, drums, and Maynard. Now, if you’re not familiar with trumpet players, they can really hurt their lips if they can’t hear themselves properly. That being the case, Maynard was playing into a microphone which was being piped though two stage monitors at his feet. You heard me right. I was standing three feet from the legendary Maynard Ferguson, in a small room, whilst he played double Cs into a PA system! READ MORE