Alexander Claffy – Claffy I (2020)

Alexander Claffy - Claffy I (2020)
Artist: Alexander Claffy
Album: Claffy I
Label: La Reserve Records
Year Of Release: 2020
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

Tracklist:
01. Introduction
02. Chapter 1 Blossoms as They Wilt Away
03. Chapter 2 July 30th 212pm Jfk-Zrh
04. Chapter 3 I’ll Be Seeing You
05. Chapter 4 Don’t Let It Bring You Down
06. Chapter 4 Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Outro)
07. Chapter 5 (Memories of) Her Flat
08. Chapter 6 with a Song in My Heart
09. Epilogue

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There’s a touch of irony coloring the fact that bassist Alexander Claffy has developed a singular artistic voice by pursuing a pluralistic direction—one that doesn’t actually showcase his instrument. Yet it’s not so odd when you hear him explain it. “I’ve always been a fan of the great bass leaders and those who release records that are more bass-centric; I’ve just never really heard music that way,” he says. “I lead from the bass in a different way, because I grew up playing piano first.”

Claffy, a force on his second instrument, has become a fixture on the scene through sideman associations with a series of A-listers—pianist Orrin Evans, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and organist Joey DeFrancesco among them. A love of the canonical classics, passed down from his parents, comes through clearly on his 2018 brush with the tradition, Standards: What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? But it’s an ongoing series of eponymous recordings, stretching his skills as a songwriter, arranger, conceptualist, and studio chemist, that speaks most clearly to the man’s passions and partnerships. “[2016’s] Claffy came about because I had been writing all of these songs and I really didn’t know what to do with them,” he recounts. “Around the same time I met guitarist Ben Eunson who, along with Jonathan Barber and Mike King and all of these guys who are now doing amazing things, was willing to get together and just play this music.”

The resulting experiences allowed Claffy to flesh out his genre-blurring vision, but it was recording ace Michael Perez-Cisneros, a behind-the-scenes force on colleague Kurt Rosenwinkel’s highly influential Heartcore, who would help to crystallize the material. “He was the catalyst for so much music and we loved working with him right away,” Claffy explains. “It was kind of a Miles vibe—we had these little scraps and we didn’t really talk about it much. We just recorded in bulk, and then Mike and I worked together for almost two years to piece things together.” The final recording, a brilliant bricolage and multifaceted concept album running the arc of romance and dissolution, set Claffy apart. And it was only the beginning.

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