Drawing inspiration from the grooves of his early days in Philadelphia, bassist Gerald Veasley reaches a unique musical destination on his new project that combines R&B, funk and jazz. His fifth outing for Heads Up International as a leader.
"I wanted a slightly more upbeat sound for this project," says Veasley. "The music is more uptempo in keeping with the 'fast track' theme. Also, I incorporated a bigger horn section on a couple of the tunes. I wanted to get it back to the kind of sound that I grew up loving. It goes back a little bit to those funk bands of the '70s - just a bigger sound overall."
Assisting Veasley in getting that bigger sound are more than a dozen session players including long-time collaborators pianist Will Brock, percussionist Richard Waller III and saxophonist Chris Farr.
The compositional ride of On the Fast Track includes classic covers of Steve Wonder's "Do I Do" and William Page II's "The In Crowd."
"I'm a big admirer of Ramsey Lewis, so it was with real respect that we approached 'The In Crowd,'" says Veasley. "I like the urban feel and party flavor we bring to the tune."
Veasley contributes eight compositions to the journey including a collaboration with Donald Robinson and Randy Bowland dedicated to Grover Washington Jr. entitled "Goodnight Moon."
"'Goodnight Moon' is one of my favorite moments on the CD," says Veasley. "Donald, Randy and I all had ties to Grover. We named it after my favorite children's book, which is a comforting book about the night. It's about being okay with saying goodbye."
Veasley dedicates On the Fast Track to Washington Jr., with whom the bassist performed with for many years.
"I think I learned more about what it takes to be a musician, a band leader and a good human being from him than from anyone else," says Veasley. "I learned from how he related to people and his music. He gave his music his all and gave people his heart. I couldn't ask for a better role model."