David Hughes is a bass player who has been quietly making a name for himself as sideman to David Benoit and as part of the Jazz Crusaders. Now it is time for him to make some noise, which he has done with his debut CD, Swoosh. This self-produced CD has terrific melodies, funky bass lines, and great horns which take you through an energetic journey.
The title track, which opens the CD with a rush of wind and the crack of thunder, grabs you right away into a bass-driven tune that is totally funky. The second tune, aptly named “Benoit” and all piano, showcases a guest appearance by David Benoit alongside the subtle bass of Hughes. The two David’s fit well together on this piece that is very melodic and has the well-known Benoit sound down to the sax groove provided by Andy Suzuki. “Waiting for the Crowd” begins and ends with the hustle and bustle sounds of the city, but then travels into a very serene bass and piano tune. It makes you feel peaceful within a chaotic world. David Hughes shows his versatility throughout with his gentle touch on the strings.
“Carlton,” featuring Allen Hinds on electric guitar and Charles Huntley on sax, is a dark, yet upbeat track. Each instrument gets its turn in the spotlight and then blends into a jazz/rock tune. “Clearing” and “Riverside” are two very calming, reflective songs. Hughes’ bass playing on these tracks is amazing, taking the listener through a range of emotions. Then it’s “Millertime”…a Marcus Miller-type track that proves that David Hughes is a first-rate player. He can make that bass sing or be melancholy. He can make you groove or drift away. “Sunshine” is a radio-friendly song with terrific sax, piano and guitar that just lifts your spirits high with every note. One of my favorites on this CD is “Contemplationism.” This song gets you moving, humming and is just pure elation. Andy Suzuki’s flute is a welcome sound next to the crisp bass of David. The last two tracks, “Kenny” and “Waves,” are all bass. Pure and simple. Each of them highlights David’s talents in an understated way.
For either the bass enthusiast or listeners like me who have never before embraced the bass as a lead instrument, Swoosh is a slam dunk! David Hughes is a name that we all need to remember.
- Bonnie Schendell