Bassist Gerald Veasley's latest is a live recording in his own club in Reading, Pennsylvania known as the “House of the Flying Vee” or known to the public as Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base. It was recorded over a couple of nights last November, and the results are uplifting. His onstage energy comes across in flying colors, and is picked up by the rest of the band. You get the feel from the beginning of a tight jazz club on a weekend night. It had been requested by his fans, and now they have what they wanted.
The mix spreads songs around from six of his discs as well as two new tunes. “Shango” kicks it right off getting the crowd involved from the outset. Everyone's playing together, as Chris Farr's sax solo is a good contrast to the constant driving bass, while Pete Kuzma's keyboard adds a club feel. “Valdez In Country” shows off the bass as a focal point of a driving melody. Farr switches to soprano and doesn't miss a lick. Everyone is happy with “Coupe de Ville.” There's plenty of bass to go around in this crowd favorite. “Sugar Time” picks up the pace and has everyone bopping along. Gerald and Farr play off each other well throughout. It's one of the new tunes brought out for this night, and I know the fans won't be disappointed.
“Forever” leads off with Kuzma's keyboard only to be led in by Veasley's soft bass. This is probably his showcase piece, and he demonstrates to the crowd what has made him so very popular. “On the Fast Track” has everyone playing as one on this up-beat number. Veasley's bass is clean, and the sax part blends well. I especially like the chorus, and it plays the two off each other somewhat. “Bread Puddin'” is the longest number on the disc. It features Veasley throughout, as he is joined by most of his band. There's some great syncopation here, and they hold the line well. “Celebrating Sipho” is the final number, and is one of the new tunes brought out for this disc. It has a “fat” bass feel, and plays well to the playful soprano. This one flows nicely, and will be a welcomed addition to many of Veasley's fans.
If you're in the mood to get out and hear some live jazz, the club can be just as close as your stereo. Pop in a copy of Gerald Veasley's latest, then sit back and relax (but I know you just can't do that!) Be sure to get a good seat, and crank it up.
- H.A. Cline