Contemporary jazz bassist Gerald Veasley makes no claim to be a master chess player, but there are certain unmistakable parallels between his line of work and the small-scale war game that has challenged great minds for centuries. “There’s a multiplicity of decision making in the game of chess, and there are consequences to every action,” says Veasley. “In a lot of ways, making music is like that too. There are so many choices, especially in jazz, where the situation is never the same twice. That’s always exciting to me. You’re creating new scenarios at every turn – every time you step in front of an audience, or every time you step into the studio.”
That same combination of challenges and opportunities is at the heart of Your Move, Veasley’s new Heads Up International release. The album is the latest – and perhaps most innovative and audacious – maneuver in the game that Veasley has been playing since his early days as an up-and-coming musician in his native Philadelphia.
Guitarist Chuck Loeb steps in as a formidable session player/producer and author or co-author of several tracks. Saxophonist and longtime Veasley band member Chris Farr also shares a few song credits. The easygoing “Slip ‘n’ Slide” includes some playful interplay between Veasley and Loeb, with a rock solid backbeat crafted by drummer Josh Dion. “So Close to the Sun” showcases guest trumpeter John Swana and includes atmospheric layers from organist Peter Kuzma and vocalist Mikki Kornegay. “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” is a unique take on the Sly & The Family Stone classic from 1970.