Considered one of the most versatile and prolific bassists in contemporary jazz, Gerald Veasley brings together an all-star line-up for his third Heads Up International release, Soul Control.
His most varied album yet, this jazz/R&B/funk effort features a variety of guests including jazz/soul diva Dianne Reeves (vocals); Grover Washington, Jr. (alto sax); veteran Earth, Wind & Fire vocalist Philip Bailey; the popular George Howard (soprano sax); and trumpeter/flugelhornist Rick Braun, along with fellow Heads Up artists Joe McBride (acoustic piano) and the Caribbean Jazz Project's Dave Samuels (vibes).
Specializing in six-string electric bass, Veasley has cultivated a range of experience that spans gospel, jazz, R&B, and funk. Among the diverse settings in which Veasley has been heard are those with Grover Washington Jr., The Zawinul Syndicate, avant-garde sax pioneer Odean Pope, pianist McCoy Tyner, violinist John Blake, and Special EFX. Veasley s first two Heads Up International releases - 1992's Look Ahead and l994's Signs - were big hits among contemporary jazz fans. Jazziz readers named Gerald the Most Underrated Musician in the magazine's 1997 Readers Poll.
Veasley spans many styles on Soul Control, ranging from the congenial jazz/pop of "Carolina", "Broad Street" and "Lady", to the R&B-influenced "Love Is The Cure" and "Quiet Storm." He ventures down yet another road with the Weather Report-ish challenges of "Kyles Groove" and "Earthworm" to the mysterious, Miles Davis-influenced jazz-funk of "Deeper." "I think this album is a return to music that's more direct, and is closer to my roots," Veasley says. "I wanted to play tunes that have a little more in common with the blues and gospel and don't have a lot of over-embellishment. I wanted to be as direct as possible and take more chances."
Soul Control is an Enhanced CD which features a Veasley biography and video footage, free Internet access, as well as information on other Heads Up recording artists. The CD can be viewed via a CD-ROM drive on either a Windows or Mac-based computer. This is the sixth Enhanced CD for Heads Up International, which embraced the new technology last spring for all their new recordings.
"Each record I do is an evolution in terms of discovering my own voice," Veasley continues. "I've played with a lot of people who definitely have a voice. I want to get to the point where people can hear me play one note and say, 'Aha, that's Gerald Veasley!' This album is a continuation of that quest."