I’m not a big fan of lifting whole quotes or paragraphs from an artist’s profile in my attempts to adequately illustrate his or her musical prowess or competency. However, in the case of master bassist Gerald Veasley, the charismatic wonder of smooth jazz and fusion with the infectious smile, I felt compelled to do so, as I felt his own words do great justice as a clear and right-on testimonial to his genius. That genius is more than displayed on his latest album Your Move, a clever reference to his apparent affinity for chess).
Veasley accurately states that, "There’s a multiplicity of decision making in the game of chess and there are consequences to every action. 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’s what drew me to this kind of music in the first place, the idea that it was always fresh, there was always an opportunity and a new challenge."
If you’ve ever heard Veasley’s material or witnessed his live performance, you know that he walks the walk as eloquently as he talks the talk. He shows his appreciation of the attitudes he’s stated here through his performance without question.
The Philly-born Veasley first started playing bass at age 12. He lost his dad in the late ‘70s, and the ensuing grief led him to embark upon what has turned out to be a most richly rewarding venture in music. He learned classical guitar (I shudder at the daunting task that must have been or would certainly have been for me!) and was justifiably influenced by the likes Charles Mingus, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, and Miles Davis. Is it any wonder the man’s talent shouts through on any composition he tackles?
Your Move is simply chock full of goodies easily identifiable as the work of Veasley, boasting creativity, insight, and precision. From the opening funk of "Hear Now!" through the steady and smooth title cut to the sultry, slinky closing cut "Roxanne’s Dance," (oh, and you’ve just gotta hear the mean and gritty rendition of Sly Stone’s "Thank You"), you are constantly reminded here that Veasley has made all the right choices, all the right decisions. Another "checkmate."