One of today’s most versatile and in-demand bassists, David Finck has developed into an impressive composer, arranger, and producer. Future Day (Soundbrush Records), his debut CD as a leader, is a superb 12-song set including compositions by Wayne Shorter (Black Eyes), Cedar Walton (Firm Roots), Joe Locke (Appointment in Orvieto), and the leader himself. “I hear music as a spoken language,” says David Finck. “When I listen, I’m conscious of the breaths that are taken during a phrase; I hear the vocabulary, the inflection, and the syntax. I listen for all of it.”
The musicians who accompany David are all veterans of the jazz scene… vibraphonist Joe Locke, drummer Joe La Barbera (best known as a member of Bill Evan’s last trio), and Los Angeles based Tom Ranier. They are joined by two special guests Jeremy Pelt who is a rising trumpeter and Bob Sheppard, another first-call multi-reed player.
The twelve tunes on FUTURE DAY demonstrate not only David Finck’s rich, woodsy tone, flawless intonation and time, and an elegant delivery that never wastes a note, but also his imaginative and tasteful solos. FUTURE DAY is an impressive debut by a veteran sideman now stepping into the limelight as a leader.
March 31, 2008
Journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society
Dedicated to the performance, promotion and preservation of jazz.
In the February issue of Jersey Jazz, I reviewed bassist David Finck´s first album as a leader, Future Day. Two of his band mates from that disc, vibraphonist Joe Locke and saxophonist Bob Sheppard were on hand at The Jazz Standard on March 31 when Finck´s Soundbrush Records album was officially released. Trumpeter Greg Gisbert, pianist Bill O'Connell and drummer Lewis Nash added their talents for an evening that engaged the audience from first notes to last.
The opening four numbers were played by the quartet of Finck, Locke, O'Connell and Nash. They kicked things off with a romping take on Cedar Walton´s "Firm Roots," with Locke´s vibes almost taking off in flight around the room. They following with "Willow Weep for Me," giving this much played number a new freshness with a Latin feeling. Two originals followed, "New Valley" by Finck, and "Ballad for a Future Day" by Roger Davidson, with some terrific arco bass work from Finck. It was at this point that Sheppard and Gisbert arrived on the scene, and all of a sudden you felt like you were back at the Lighthouse in the 1950s. Joe LaBarbara´s "If Not for You" could have been a Shorty Rogers piece written for the Lighthouse crew. The dynamism of Sheppard and Gisbert acted as an impetus for Locke and O'€™Connell to hit new peaks of intensity. The final pieces, Finck´s "Look at You" and Bevan Manson´s "Four Flags" kept the West Coast feeling going. In addition to his outstanding bass playing, Finck also proved to be an engaging, humorous host. The smiles proliferated throughout the set, on the bandstand and among the crowd.
- Joe Lang
NJJS Music Committee Chair
JazzTimes - America´s Jazz Magazine
A reliably swinging, in-demand jazz bassist who has also logged his share of Brazilian and Latin gigs over the past 20 years. David Finck plays it strictly straightahead on his long overdue debut as a leader, surrounded by such stellar sidemen as vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Ranier and veteran... drummer (and former Bill Evans sideman) Joe La Barbera. They open with Ranier´s loping "I Know," a soulful, strutting number that allows Locke to dig deep into his bluesier side on a highly expressive solo. Finck´s engaging jazz waltz "New Valley" is a breezy number right out of the Vince Guaraldi book while the quartet´s inventive 5/4 take on "Nature Boy" puts a new spin on that haunting classic ballad. Guests Jeremy Pelt on trumpet and Bob Sheppard on tenor sax join the core group on a boppish jaunt through Bevan Manson´s uptempo "Four Flags" and also on Finck´s upbeat, Brazilian-flavored "Look at You," which is underscored by La Barbera´s brisk brushwork and the bassist´s authentic samba groove.
"Ballad for a Future Day" is a beautiful showcase for Locke, who opens the melancholy piece with an unaccompanied vibes solo before passing off the minor-key melody; first to Ranier´s piano and then on to Finck´s bowed bass. Locke also registers deep feeling on a sublime rendition of "For All We Know," which Finck anchors with rich, woody tones on top of La Barbera´s sensitive brushwork. Finck grounds a Latinized rendition of Wayne Shorter´s "Black Eyes" with an authentic tumbao pulse on bass and he demonstrates some formidable walking, a la Ray Brown, on La Barbera´s "If Not for You," a swinging ditty cleverly based on Gershwin´s "But Not for Me." These consummate pros end with Cedar Walton´s classic "Firm Roots," closing this satisfying session in swinging fashion.
- Bill Milkowski
Answering Gotham´s First Call On Upright
The pervasive sound of David Finck´s upright bass is probably never far from your ears. As New York´s veritable first-call upright player, Finck is all over television, ever-present on film and Broadway soundtracks (such as Elton John... and Tim Rice´s Aida), and an integral part of Rod Stewart´s four Great American Songbook CDs as well as Billy Joel´s latest single, "All My Life." He also accompanies the disparate jazz piano styling of Hank Jones, Steve Kuhn, and Andrew Previn, and is a formidable presence on the cabaret, classical, and Brazilian/Latin jazz scenes.
Born in Rochester, New York, on August 26, 1958, Finck was raised in the north-Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham, where he chose acoustic bass in elementary school at age ten. Once inspired by Ray Brown´s regular role on the Merv Griffin Show, David added the influences of Stanley Clarke, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro, and Eddie Gomez, as well as Verdine White and Anthony Jackson on electric bass, which he took up at 13. Following private lessons with several Philadelphia Orchestra members, Finck headed back to Rochester to attend the Eastman School of Music. After moving to New York City in 1980, he hit the road with Woody Herman, but soon returned to steadily growing in-town workload. This year, he also made his solo debut, with Future Day.
What´s the key to your versatility?
Having a fascination with all kinds of music, and a burning curiosity to really learn the dialects of the various genres. That, plus experience. When I teach jazz, I always talk about it being a language, with vocabulary, inflections, pauses, and phrases. This enables the musicians to communicate with each other and have conversation. I try to learn every aspect of an idiom, from the role and style of the bass lines to how the other instruments function. That way, I not only can complement what someone plays, I can take the conversation somewhere else.
The experience part speaks for itself. I remember being taught the gringo version of a samba bass line, early on: DING, da-DING, da-DING. Then someone played me a record of a real samba band, and it was: DOOSH-dah, DOOSH-dah, DOOSH. As a musician, you're in a constant state of growth. When I first played with folks like Paquito D'Rivera and Claudio Roditi, they would come over and sing the correct bass rhythm in my ear. That´s why I believe it´s important to take as many calls as possible; you're going to learn something on every job. I picked up the hippest substitute changes to "Satin Doll" from a guitarist on a wedding gig.
You're known for your impeccable intonation and big sound. What insight can you offer?
As acoustic bassists, intonation is something we have to think about constantly; like anyone, I have my good days and bad days. Playing with the bow is the key to learning how to play in tune. I use it all the time when I'm tuning, when I warm up. Practice clearly and loudly with the bow, so there´s nothing vague about the notes you're playing. Other than that, I try to stay in tune with the piano. If it´s a big, dense date with a lot of strings, and I don't have my own cue mix, it can be hard to hear if you're sharp or flat. So if I have to punch an eight-bar section, I'll ask the engineer to take something out, like the cellos.
Another important aspect for me is a very even setup across the strings, with fairly low action. I come from the Ron Carter school of clarity and sustain between the notes, via steel strings and pickups. In the studio, I like to blend 70 percent direct signal with 30 percent mic. I'm not one for gut strings, high action, no amp, and bloody fingers. Unless specified, I want everyone to know I'm playing an Ab note, not an Ab thump. On any instrument, there´s a threshold where you're not going to get any more sound by playing harder. You need to find that sweet spot. I always think of Steve Gadd; he has a way of drawing a big sound out of the drums without muscling them.
You just released your solo debut.
I'd been asked many times over the years why I didn't have my own CD. In 2006, [vibraphonist] Joe Locke and I did some recording with [drummer] Joe LaBarbera and [pianist] Tom Ranier, who were in from L.A. It felt so good, I said the next time you guys come to town, let´s get together in the studio. The resulting CD is not about featuring me and my bass. it´s about organizing a collective effort of playing and writing, and having the final product sound the way I like to hear it. When you're used to showing up to a date, playing a part, and leaving, it´s very rewarding to have creative control of the music at every turn. I'm working toward some summer and fall tours overseas.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Town & Village
David Finck is one of the jazz world´s most accomplished bass players, which is why he has appeared on countless recordings. "Future Day" is his debut as a leader and it is elegant straight-ahead jazz.
As someone who has worked with top musicians, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock... and Andre Previn, he knows how to pick his sideman: Joe Locke on vibes, Tom Ranier on piano and Joe La Barbera on drums, with special guests Jeremy Pelt (trumpet) and Bob Shepard (tenor saxophone). Ranier is new to me but he immediately won me over with the opening track: his composition, "I Know."
This is a finger-snapper that sounds like vintage Benny Golson or Bobby Timmons. The second piece on the CD, "New Valley," a jazz waltz, is by Finck and he also shows off his command of his instrument.
The outstanding soloist on the album is Locke, who makes one personal statement after another. Just listen to him on the vintage ballad "For All We Know" or on Wayne Shorter´s flowing "Black Eyes." Incidentally, the latter memorable tune has rarely been recorded, so its inclusion here is a testament to Finck´s good taste.
Jeremy Pelt´s trumpet adds zest to Bevan Manson´s "Four Flags" and Finck´s "Future Day," which also has fine work from Shepard. Locke´s "Appointment in Orvieto" and La Barbera´s "If Not for You" also reflects the group´s compositional talents. The closing track, Cedar Walton´s "Firm Roots," is another infectious tune, flawlessly executed.
Finck will be celebrating the release of his album on Monday, March 31st at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Jazz Standard (116 E. 27th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues; 212-576-2232) with Locke on vibes and Shepard on sax plus Lewis Nash on drums, Bill O'€™Connell on piano and Greg Gisbert on trumpet. The music charge is $15, which is a bargain.
- Barry Bassis
David Finck (b), Joe Locke (vib), Tom Ranier (p), Joe La Barbera (d), Jeremy Pelt (t), and Bob Sheppard (ts, ss), Rec. 2007
David Finck has been around for a while now, working with quite a few major pop stars as well as playing jazz gigs with people such as Herbie Hancock and AndrÃ© Pevin. He´s... a superb player and his sound, as well as that of the whole group, has been beautifully captured by the engineer Leon Zeroos at New York City´s Sterling Sound. Ten of the 12 titles (which include an obscure Wayne Shorter tune "Black Eyes" and Cedar Walton´s "Firm Roots" as well as a couple of poignant standards in such as "Nature Boy" (in 5/4) and particularly "For All We Know" in addition to catchy originals by band members and some talented friends, feature the basic quartet. There´s some of the best Joe Locke ever captured on record, showing off his Jackson/Hutcherson roots and Ranier, who apparently sight-read the whole date, is equally good. The sound is tight, relaxed and all four make it sound deceptively simple. The inclusion of hard-hitting tenor and trumpet (good as they are) on track four is almost intrusive, shattering the peaceful vibe. Why they did the date is hard to work out (extra bread?), as they only take a couple of choruses and then later colour a short samba. As noted, the recorded sound makes a very agreeable record even more appealing.
The first track, I Know, hooks the listener immediately as the bass and drums begin, locked in a groove. They are quickly joined by the pianist and bassist, who state the melody. I really enjoy this composition, written by the pianist on this session, Tom Rainer. Vibist Joe Locke displays great phrasing... during his brief solo, as does Mr. Rainer. ?New Valley,? written by the bandleader, has a bright and optimistic to feel to it. ?Nature Boy? features David doing some cool solo work, and includes a few hammer-ons. Joe Locke responds to these funky riffs on his vibes. Bob Sheppard and Jeremy Pelt join the band, on tenor saxophone and trumpet, respectively, for the next track, ?Four Flags.? They both share strong, but brief solos. Tom does some wonderful things on Roger Davidson´s ?Ballad For a Future Day.? I also like David´s work with the bow in this track. Wayne Shorter is a great composer and this band pulls off a nice version of ?Black Eyes.?I love the next composition, perhaps more than any other on the CD. Written by David, and featuring the horn section, ?Look At You? has one of those fun-loving melodies that puts me in a good mood the minute I hear it. Jeremy breaks out the mute to add an interesting twist to the character of the track. Both he and Bob have some wonderful moments on this one. The classic ballad, ?For All We Know,? features enjoyable solos from Joe (vibes) and Tom (piano). Based on Gershwin´s ?But Not for Me,? drummer Joe La Barbera contributes ?If Not For You,? another upbeat, swinging composition. This has a great melody and the bandleader does some nice bass playing on it. Joe Locke´s ?Appointment In Orvieto? has a rapid-fire tempo and Tom´s piano flies through the changes. This session is rounded out by Tom Rainer´s ?Transparency? and ?Firm Roots,? a selection penned by Cedar Walton.
Overall, this is a robust collection of straight ahead music. With a solid sense of swing, the musicians carry the torch for those who love their jazz in the pocket. Although only one tune exceeds six minutes, musicians have ample opportunity to show us their chops. Joe La Barbera solos only once on the final track, but makes his presence felt throughout the session. Some fans may wish that these quality musicians stretched out a little bit more, but they won?t be disappointed with the improvisation that they do throw down.
- Bryan Zoran
- Nick Catalano
David Finck: Music Spoken Here
Review Courtesy AllAboutJazz.com
In my 20 years of music journalism I have covered many genres: opera, cabaret, jazz, pop, chamber music, symphonic concerts and recitals. Never in my outings have I encountered a musician who has greater generic scope than bassist extraordinaire David Finck. He is totally at home in every setting imaginable.... He has been coveted by every singer from Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and Natalie Cole to Rod Stewart, Gladys Knight and George Michael. Broadway chanteuses everywhere cozen up to him i.e. Linda Eder. He shows up on TV interpreting opera scores i.e. Aretha Franklin performing Puccini´s '“Nessun Dorma'” on David Letterman. Jazz singers (Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Karrin Allyson) join the supplicating hordes trying to get dates in his work book. Jazz luminaries (he has executed definitive work with Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Andre Previn) won't go into a recording studio without him. Seminal latin performers (Paquito D'Rivera, Ivan Lins, Leny Andrade) who dread having to play New York dates with uninspiring American rhythmists relax in the city´s boites with Finck on the stage.
Finck is the apotheosis of the contemporary New York jazz musician- educated, articulate, and widely read. His humor is always sagacious and often hysterical. With both his parents involved in music, he began playing bass at age 10 and while still in high school studied with several bassists from the Philadelphia Orchestra. Upon graduation from the Eastman School of Music he immediately plunged into touring with the Woody Herman band. His jazz career has been remarkable. As Andre Previn notes, '“I have worked with David Finck in many different circumstances and venues, for a period of eight years, and in my opinion, there is no one who is as good a jazz bass player and collaborator.'”
The key to his talent has been best described by Finck himself: '“I hear music as a spoken language. When I listen, I'm conscious of the breaths that are taken during a phrase; I hear the vocabulary, the inflection and the syntax.'” This often used analogy of music to language is conspicuously helpful when analyzing Finck´s performing approach. When he plays he can indeed switch from active to passive voice and from imperative to subjunctive mood. His solos reflect the best rhetorical traditions of subordination and parallel structure. And in his vocal accompanying, he always chooses the correct modifier be it adjective, adverb or participial phrase.
In his continuing saga of pursuing a musical renaissance existence, Finck has become a producer, arranger, songwriter and lecturer/essayist. In the former incarnations he has of late created some magic for two emerging talents: Peter Cincotti and Christy Baron. Says Baron of her mentor '“as an arranger and producer, he´s able to apply the intention of the lyricist within the structure of his arrangements, while keeping his ideas fresh and unique.'” And in writing for the Village Voice in an issue celebrating Frank Sinatra´s 80th birthday Finck presciently isolated Sinatra´s '“ability to combine musical language with poetic language.'”
Finck has waited a long time to release a jazz CD as a leader, but finally we have Future Day--The David Finck Quartet (Soundbrush records) whose promos describe the selections as '“music that´s closest to his heart: jazz originals and standards of the last three decades, the ones that define his love affair with jazz.'” For the session, Finck has carefully chosen a crop of jazz standouts: vibist (and fellow Eastman alum) Joe Locke, drummer Joe La Barbera, pianist Tom Ranier and special guests trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and tenorist Bob Sheppard. Predictably, the CD contains material that is thoughtfully arranged, compositionally fresh and masterfully performed. Another triumph for the ubiquitous David Finck
- Nick Catalano
Bassist David Finck has impressed audiences for decades as an accompanist to such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Tony Bennett, and Paquito d'Rivera, among others. On Future Day, his debut recording as leader of the David Finck Quartet, his bass playing is imaginative and filled with tasteful... intuitive improvisations. Joined by such innovative musicians as Joe Locke, Tom Ranier, and Joe LaBarbara, this quartet focuses on music that defines Finck´s love affair with jazz. The set opens with Ranier´s prowling, low-down groove called "I Know." Joe Locke´s carefully considered solo swings with harmony and the impressive blues influences of vibraphonists Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson. Ranier´s piano magic is expressive and melodic, filling the song with soulful nuance and intelligent musical conversations. "New Valley", a David Finck original jazz waltz, spotlights Finck´s finesse and lyricism in one concise chorus. "Nature Boy," is freshened up in a new time signature and played in 5/4. However, these fresh changes don't spoil the beautiful, moody qualities of this all-time jazz gem. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonist Bob Sheppard are special guests on "Four Flags," a high-speed burner that manages to stay very cool, while by contrast, the beautiful and tranquil ballad "For All We Know" is a constant reminder to live life to the fullest because for all we know...it could be your last. Locke´s insightful soloing takes you deeper into the true meaning of the song via his remarkable technical virtuosity. While David Finck´s woodsy tone, flawless intonation, and brilliant timing and delivery add major credibility to his leadership, the overall stellar interplay of the musicians and the brilliant arrangements of these compositions are what make Future Day a must have for any serious jazz collector.
- Paula Edelstein
(Soundbrush Records ***1/2) http://www.philly.com/inquirer/entertainment/20080302_New_Recordings.html
Talk about a CD to curl up to.
Philly native David Finck is a favored bassist of maestro Andre Previn and singer Tony Bennett. His long resume runs from Latin and Brazilian (Paquito D'Rivera, Ivan Lins) to pop (Elton John, Gladys Knight, Rod Stewart) and jazz (Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie... and Rosemary Clooney.) Finck even backed Aretha Franklin, singing Puccini´s "Nessun Dorma" on David Letterman.
The gig here is some of the smoothest, most relaxing jazz around. The set with vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Ranier and drummer Joe LaBarbera moves like a Delta 88 Oldsmobile, albeit more economically. The session mixes in standards like a sylvan "For All We Know" with carefully chosen originals, such as the liquid "Ballad for a Future Day."
"Nature Boy" gets played over five beats to a measure, instead of the standard four, while maintaining its tuneful allure.
Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard are tapped for soloing heft. Finck, who has taken up arranging, producing, and songwriting in recent years, has created a sophisticated mix, never jarring or discordant, but full of quality moments. This CD creates instant ambience, like a great bar without smoke.
Jazz Times april 2008
A reliably swinging, indemand jazz bassist who has logged his share of Brazilan and Latin gigs over the past 20 years, David Fink plays is strictly straighthead on his long overdue debut as a leader, surrounded by such stellar sideman as vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Rainer and veteran drummer... (and former Bill Evans sideman) Joe La Berbera. They open with Reiner'‘s loping '“I Know,'” a soulful, strutting number that allows Locke to dig deep into his bluesier side on a highly expressive solo. Finck'’s engaging jazz waltz '“New Valley'” is a breezy number right out of the Vince Guaraldi book while the quartet'’s inventive 5/4 take on '“Nature Boy'” puts a new spin on that haunting classic ballad. Guests Jeremy Pelt on trumpet and Bob Sheppard on tenor sax join the core group on a boppish jaunt through Bevan Manson'’s uptempo '“Four Flags'” and also on Fink'´s upbeat, Brazilian flavored '“Look at You,'” which is underscored by La Barbera'’s brisk brushwork and the bassist'’s authentic samba groove. '“Ballad for a Future Day'” is a beautiful showcase for Locke, who opens the melancholy piece with an unaccompanied vibes solo before passing off the minor-key melody, first to Ranier'’s piano and then on yo Fink'’s bowed bass. Locke also registers deep feeling on a sublime rendition of '“For All We Know,'” which Finck anchors with an authentic tumbato pulse on a bass and he demonstrates some formidable walking, a la Ray Brown, on La Barbera'’s '“If Not For You,'” a swinging ditty cleverly based on Gershwin'´s '“But Not for Me.'” These consummate pros end with Cedar Walton'’s classic '“Firm Roots'” closing this satisfying session in a swinging fashion.
- Jazz Times, April 2008
He´s one of those players you may not know by name, but you've more than likely heard. In a career now nearing thirty years long, David Finck has worked with artists ranging from pianists Herbie Hancock, Steve Kuhn and Sir Andre Previn to singers Sinead O'Connor, Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight. He´s... also done plenty of everything in between and all around these particular markers on the musical continuum. But it´s only been in recent years that the bassist--now approaching fifty--has branched out from being a flexible and chameleon-like sideman with unerring instincts to become a songwriter, arranger, producer--and, with Future Day, leader.
With the countless musicians he´s encountered in his travels, Finck´s choices for his quartet are telling. Vibraphonist Joe Locke, pianist Tom Ranier and drummer Joe La Barbera all possess the same kind of broad reach as Finck, each capable of bringing a contemporary aesthetic to this set of originals and standards. It may be firmly centered in the mainstream; but with the kind of individual and collective commitment heard here, it´s clear that accessibility needn't suggest either predictability or a lack of imagination.
As would be expected, groove is paramount. It ranges from Finck´s samba-esque '“Look at You'”--one of two tracks to also feature tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt--and the ambling waltz-time swing of '“New Valley,'” to Rainer´s soulful '“I Know'” and elegant '“Transparency.'” La Barbera´s easygoing '“If Not for You'” is another lithe swinger, while Locke´s more complex '“Appointment in Orvieto'” burns even harder than the version on his own Sticks and Strings (Music Eyes, 2007). Throughout, Finck and La Barbera work with the kind of ease that belies more nuanced depth.
It´s one thing to play changes, it´s another to get beyond the mechanics and really mean them. While none of the twelve tunes here overstay their welcome--the longest track is just over six minutes, with most in the four-to-five-minute range--there´s no shortage of solo opportunities. Locke demonstrates the closest thing to perfection in solo construction this side of Gary Burton, while Ranier´s relentless solo on '“Appointment in Orvieto'” says so much in just over a minute that anything more would be an overstatement.
Finck´s tone is warm and robust, with a lyrical approach to soloing and a gorgeous arco tone that´s featured on Roger Davidson´s tender '“Ballad for a Future Day.'” Locke´s a capella intro to the tune is one of his most evocative solos on a disc filled with memorable moments by everyone.
La Barbera gets less solo space than the rest, but his ensemble playing--at once responsive and provocative--is outstanding; and, like Ranier, his solo on Cedar Walton´s bright '“Firm Roots'” may be brief, but it speaks volumes. It´s a fitting end to an album that may have been years in coming, but proves that Finck is more than ready to assume the role of bandleader. - John Kelman
The future is now on The David Finck Quartet´s new release, "Future Day." Led by first-call NYC bassist Finck, the quartet also features well-known drummer Joe LaBarbera (Bill Evans, Lalo Schifrin, Woody Herman and more) along with fellow West Coaster '— pianist Tom Rainer. Rounding out the core group... emis warmly melodic vibraphonist Joe Locke, whose playing has graced numerous recordings, including Wayne Escoffery´s wonderful recent "Veneration." With special guests, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonist Bob Sheppard, the quartet tears through a nice mixture of originals and eclectic covers, which are all presented in a mainstream manner that is exciting yet still comfortable and pleasing to the listener.
Ranier'’s "I Know" opens things up in a swinging way, and the combination of the LaBarbera´s stylish drive, Finck´s smooth and rich bass, Ranier´s mature and cool piano and ´secret weapon' Locke´s resonant yet unobtrusive vibes captures the ears immediately. Just try not tapping your foot and I guarantee that you will lose your mind. Finck´s "New Valley" meanwhile mines a Vince Guaraldi vein with pleasing results, and gives Ranier a chance to stretch out a bit. Finck solos with an assured smoothness one rarely finds in a bassist and shows why people like Andre Previn, Tony Bennett and many of the top names in music trust him to take care of the low end. Locke again swings sweetly, and LaBarbera'’s fills show remarkable taste and just the right touch to push the music without ramming it into a wall.
"Nature Boy" in a Latin-flavored 5/4? Sure enough, and it works beautifully. Finck is well known for his Latin work, and he and LaBarbera make it seem like this was the way Eden Ahbez (Herman Yablakoff, Dvorcek or whoever) intended it. When Pelt and Sheppard kick in on trumpet and sax on Bevan Manson'’s "Four Flags" over the top of Finck´s ferociously walking bass, you know these guys can do no wrong. You just wish this 2:30 of solid straight ahead jazz would go on longer.
Switching gears, "Ballad for a Future Day" (composed by Roger Davidson) offers a delicious intro by Locke, some dark-toned and reflective piano, glorious bowed bass and LaBarbera´s sizzling brushwork. Meanwhile, Wayne Shorter´s "Black Eyes" is given the Finck Quartet treatment with happy results, and Pelt´s muted trumpet and Sheppard´s soprano sax enliven another Finck original, the uptempo "Look at You."
But the fun is only beginning as covers of the standard "For All We Know" and Cedar Walton´s "Firm Roots," along with tasty originals written by LaBarbera ("If Not for You"), Lockes mysterious "Appointment in Orvieto," and Ranier ("Transperancy") round out the second half. The Walton track is especially noted for the energetic playing the group engenders and ends the album on a high note. Not really cutting edge, but more subtly interesting than most edgier releases out there, "Future Day" is a record designed for listening and enjoying, and I am pleased to learn that are still jazz artists out there making such music. - Brad Walseth
One of Gotham'‘s first-call uprighters (from Rod Stewart'‘s Songbook CDs to duo discs with Andre Previn), Finck mostly features his top-notch ensemble on his solo debut. Still, you'‘ll be hared-pressed to take your ears off his gorgeous growling tone and flawless intonation and time. All-to-brief step... outs include his bowd melody pass on the title track, and expressive solos on '“Nature Boy,'“ '“Firm Roots,'“ '“If Not for You,'“ and his own Bill Evansminded waltz, '“New Valley.'“ - (CJ)
I was hooked from the first few notes of the first cut. '“I Know,'” a gentle loping ballad by Tom Ranier placed vibist Joe Locke in the solo spotlight with leader-bassist David Finck setting the pulse rate from in back. On '“Four Flags,'” a hard bop excursion, special guests; trumpeter Jeremy Pelt... and tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard join in for an all too brief exercise. Buried on track eight is perhaps the prettiest version of the grand old ballad '“For All We Know.'” Locke is insightful with his interpretation and make this all that it is. Some may not be familiar with Finck or his work. He is no neophyte. He worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Mark Murphy, Gladys Knight and Tony Bennett. Fortunately, he is not a bassist-leader who feels the need to dominate. He knows and understands the role of the bass. He is also a competent if not brilliant soloist.
EJAZZNEWS / FUTURE DAY
The new 2008 releases are just coming out and one you definitely need to keep in mind is '“Future Day,'” the debut album as leader from bassist David Finck and his quartet. An album of contemporary light jazz with a repertoire that blends originals and time-honored standards in one exciting jazzy package.... Finck, who is AndrÃ© Previn'’s bassist of choice and has worked with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and a long list of Broadway stars, assembles one of the finest quartets for this recording.
Besides the leader, the quartet consists of legendary vibraphonist Joe Locke, drumming master Joe La Barbera and piano virtuoso Tom Ranier. On this recording Finck also includes trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and tenor saxophone great Bob Sheppard as special guests making for an eclectic cast of luminaries.
Locke plays a major role providing leads on many tunes and contributes one composition with '“Appointment In Orvieto.'” Two of his most memorable performances here are on Finck'’s original score '“New Valley,'” and the beautiful ballad piece of '“For All We Know,'” where Locke takes center stage.
Pianist Ranier includes two charts, '“I Know'” and '“Transparency,'” but displays his best piano chops on such tunes as Wayne Shorter'’s '“Black Eyes,'” '“New Valley '“and Cedar Walton'’s '“Firm Roots,'” while drummer La Barbera provides appreciable drumming throughout and contributes one chart with '“If Not for You.'”
Finck'’s talents on the bass are immediately evident with his intro on the opener and nice bass solos on his '“New Valley'”, La Barbera'’s '“If Not For You'” and elsewhere. Trumpeter Pelt and saxophonist Sheppard make their appearance on one of the best tunes here with the brief '“Four Flags.'”
In all this is an album where the musicianship, excellent charts and a superb cast of players combine to make this disc one of the finest new releases of the year. An impressive debut for bassist David Finck and his quartet. - Edward Blanco
Despite his having appeared on hundreds of recordings, Future Day (Soundbrush SR 1012) is the first album from bassist DAVID FINCK as a leader. One listen, and you wonder why it has taken so long for him to assume the leader'’s mantle. Fronting a quartet that also includes Joe Locke on vibes, Tom Ranier... on piano and Joe La Barbera on drums, Finck has created a superb collection of straight-ahead jazz that will appeal to a wide audience of jazz enthusiasts. Finck is a thoughtful and accomplished musician. He never wastes a note, and knows exactly how to provide the kind of bass support that other musicians relish. Locke is soulfully tasteful in his playing. Ranier is a complete jazz pianist, who is a great section player, and a scintillating soloist. You only need to check the credits of Joe La Barbara - Bill Evans, Woody Herman, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney to name a few - to dig the fact that La Barbara is a drummer possessed of the right kind of musicianship. Together, they make music that keeps on giving through repeated listenings. The program has twelve selections, most of them jazz tunes, with half being originals by the members of the band. The two exceptions are '“Nature Boy'” and '“For All We Know.'” The reality is that they quickly draw you into each number, making each of them lie comfortably on your ears, and you are anxious to have them become a consistent part of your musical experience. On two pieces, '“Four Flags'” and '“Look at You,'” trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard augment the lineup, and they fit in smoothly. It would not surprise me if these cats find themselves in a studio again under the leadership of David Finck.
David Finck has been plying his trade as a sought-after bassist for quite some time. His associations with the likes of AndrÃ© Previn, Steve Kuhn and vocalists running the gamut from Mark Murphy to Aretha Franklin speak volumes of how other musicians view his work. On his latest album, Future Day, Finck´s... choice of music and arrangements makes for an enjoyably worthy albeit mellow offering.
Finck has gathered together the musical talents of Joe Locke on vibes, pianist Tom Ranier and Bill Evans-alumnus Joe La Barbera on drums. On the album´s most upbeat cut, the swinging "Four Flags," trumpet sensation Jeremy Pelt and journeyman saxophonist Bob Shepard are added as special guests, to great effect. The haunting Roger Davidson tune "Ballad for a Future Day," though, is the highlight of this endeavor. Finck lets the poignant melody speak for itself with a minimum of improvisation as each musician in turn interprets this moodily touching song. Locke´s hollow, pit-of-your-gut sound is especially effective on this cut. Ranier´s keyboard work is tasteful, as is La Barbera´s subtle brush and cymbal work. Yet David Finck´s almost mournfully bowed bass most pointedly defines the essence of this unheralded song. His playing is reminiscent of the venerable Richard Davis on his wonderful Philosophy of the Bass album. A solid performance by all. - Ralph A. Miriello
Jazzwise, March 2008