05.12.14Fanfare Magazine

May/June 2014 Issue
Review by Lynn René Bayley

Michael Lee’s liner notes for this remarkable disc indicate that Anthony Stoops “wants nothing less than to enlarge and intensify a corpus of solo double bass music that he hopes will solemnize the double bass as an important solo instrument…[yet] Oddly Stoops has indicated his knowledge that his mission will fail, just as the similar missions of past virtuosi of the instrument have failed." My own personal comment to this is that if all classical bassists had a tone as rich, warm, round, and beautiful as Stoops’s, and if the compositions for that instrument were on as high a level as most of the works heard here, it just might succeed.

For Stoops has, to my ear, the most richly beautiful bass tone since the late jazz master Charles Mingus, who is paid tribute to on this CD in an eight-minute work by Marvin Lamb. His notes stream effortlessly from top to bottom of his range, the highest notes having the beautiful sound of a cello. I have not heard its like in 40 years. And that is always half the battle, to make the instrument itself sound pleasing and mellifluous to the ear.

David Maki’s little suite, Out of the Woods, reflects the composer’s own background as both a classical and jazz pianist. The title, say the notes, refers to the wide leaps necessary to play this “complex, jazz-informed tour de force." Every single movement is a small gem; the music bounces and propels itself through the use of real jazz rhythms, the lack of improvisation notwithstanding. Maki’s own piano solo in the last movement, titled “Circles," has a sort of Jaki Byard feel to it, and throughout Stoops’s bass alternately thrusts and sings in both a musical and lyrical fashion.

. . .

The sum total is a disc that, on the face of it, could have been either painful or a bore to listen to, but ended up being a real delight.

05.12.14American Record Guide

May/June 2014 Issue
Review by David Moore

David Maki's four-movement suite "Out of the Woods" is an expressively satisfying composition that pulls us in various directions, all relatively tonally comprehensible.

. . .

This is a relatively easy listening program. (...) I enjoyed it and I suspect you would, too.