David Dyson - The Dawning


When is a bass player a good bass player? When he is a legend like Jaco Pastorius or popular like Marcus Miller? I have written about many bass player in the past. Names like Victor Wooten, Luico Hopper, Steve Clarke, Kenny Wright, Chuck Smith, Kim Davis, Woody Lingle, Mark Egan, Kirwan Brown, Sipho Gumede, Johann Asmundsson, Jimmy Haslip, Gerald Veasley, Peter Muller, Garry W. Grainger, David Hughes, Nelson Braxton, Mike Manson, Larry Antonino are showing that there is a big bass world with so many talents, that even websites specialized in bass cannot register all. A good opportunity to present David Dyson, an excellent bass player which can be heard on many great projects.

David plays bass for Chico Freeman, Walter Beasley, Pieces of a Dream, Me’shell N’degeocello and The New Kids on the Block. He also worked with Jack Lee ("Into The Night"), Marcus Johnson ("Live In Person"), Philip Bailey ("Dreams, Soul On Jazz"), Ron Holloway ("Live at Montpelier"),  Alyson Williams ("It's About Time") Bobby Lyle ("Straight And Smooth") and a lot more. But David isn't just a bass player. Since his previous album "Soulmates" we know his creativity as an arranger and composer. David: "I think composing songs edges out performing for me. It’s very rewarding to complete a piece and be happy with it. But performing is a very close second."

I suggest to buy his new album "The Dawning" and listen to it extensively. Words cannot describe his lyrical play. Blazin' is the  first admirable show-piece. David is mixing bass play and a vocoderized humming. He is also playing the keyboards between the bass solo. And if you ask about the drum programmer, that's he again.

The title tune The Dawning might remind at Marcus Miller's bass. No wonder: David has a great affinity to this artist who paved him the way to professionalism. "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day", is his guiding principle.

His mercilessly funky bass is shining on Frantic. A stroboscopic bass in the frontline between funk and jazz.

On Hold On he showcases anew his musical universality also as a vocalist with a rough voice. Dark and deep like his bass. Alvin White adds his decent guitar slicks.

Le Le Lah Lah is David's special presentation of his daughter Lena Dyson and the Custom 55. Even this tiny interlude is so impressing that Stewart Basses is proudly reporting about it on their website

If you want to listen to a very uptempo dynamic floating bass run, check out Donovan James. A dream for all bass players and lovers. One said he has mind-boggling chops, who would deny that.

On The Narrow Path David is using a special playing technique.

Skippin' is featuring Skip Pruitt on sax. He has performed with Luther Vandross, The Winans, Keith Washington, Michael Bolton, Toni Braxton, Paul Riser, Jenifer Holliday, Phylis Hyman, Chuck Brown and Earl Klugh. This premium sax player from Washington DC has also released the debut album "Eternity" (2002) with a more mellow sound. On this tune he shows his talent in contemporary jazz with some edges.

A fret is a raised marker on the neck of a stringed instrument, typically fixed in place and made of hard-wearing material such as metal. With a fretted guitar it's easier to achieve an acceptable standard of intonation. It was Jaco Pastorius who took away the frets of his Fender bass. You have more room for expression but if you slightly move from the position you loose intonation. Yesterday Smile is an impressing example for the perfect use of fretless bass. Joe Zawinul should sample this tune.

I Won't Complain Again adds some vocals to the fretless bass. Take it as a completion.

Thief In The Night is a further vocal tune with this combination of vocals and fretless bass.  

David drives into Reggae region with In The Midst Of. An interesting tension between the strong Reggae rhythm and the free expression of fretless bass.

You find the power of slap bass on Slingshot. David recognizes the soul of bass and lets him speak. Best arranged and with the exact instrumental input he brings it right on the point.

On the reprise of Slingshot Kevin Levi adds a short sax overdub.

Nicki's Groove is the second excursion into Reggae with a pregnant bongo rhythm and a pressureful gloomy bass.

If I would only obtain one bass album this year, this album would be the one. A milestone in the history of bass.