My Bio

My Music Calendar

The Art of Freelancing


My New

Faces of
the Bass

Jazz Musician’s Alliance

Lex Valk

Faces of the Bass

The realization that my career has never involved just one style led to this CD, which includes a variety of styles, each one presenting a different “face of the bass.” Fusion, blues, new age, classical crossover, latin, modern and traditional jazz are all here, each requiring a different approach, whether soloing, playing melody, or accompanying.
                                           ~ Lex Valk

Liner Notes from the CD

Click on song titles with an asterisk* to hear sample.
The “Faces of the Bass” CD can be ordered online at www.cdbaby.com.

1. Bright Size Life* ~ This song is from an early album of the same name, and its eclectic style moves away from modern jazz, towards latin and new age flavors. It is performed more in the style of the current Pat Metheny Trio, featuring string bass instead of electric.
2. 117 Special ~ This melody fits the bass so comfortably that it must have been written by composer/bassist Ron Carter bass in hand. The gospel-flavored song is given a fusion treatment, updating it from its ‘70s origins.
3. I Fall In Love Too Easily ~ Bill Evans’ great innovation in trio jazz was to give bass and drums equal roles, freeing them from time-keeping duties. Pianist Ricky Diaz ably leads us in an exploration of that style and I provide a supportive running commentary
4. Sometimes I’m Happy* ~ This unrelentingly cheerful song puts the bass back in walking mode, displaying a more traditional face. Guitarist Clayton Dyess and I have always enjoyed playing jazz with a strong groove, and that’s exactly what we do here.
5. Vivo Sohando* ~ Although I had schlocked through acres of bossa novas on various easy listening gigs, Stan and Maggie’s interpretation gave such freshness to this genre that I couldn’t resist recording it. I try to play a kinder, gentler bass both on my solo and in support of Stan and Maggie.
6. Eccles Sonata ~ Years ago, solo bassist Gary Karr had me play electric bass continuo on this sonata, which was something of an anthem for him at the time. Here we add a piano trio improvisation to Henry Eccles’ beautiful melody, fusing jazz and classical music.
7. Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You ~ When guitarist Clayton Dyess and I get together, we always play this song. It’s got such a relaxed bluesy groove, it’s almost a theme song for us.
8. Good Bye Pork Pie Hat* ~ I have always thought that Charlie Mingus’ playing proved that string bass is definitely a blues instrument. This song, with its simple blues melody and extravagantly altered changes, seemed an ideal vehicle to present the blues face of the bass. Our version is more Jeff Beck-ish than pure jazz.
9. My Foolish Heart ~ I decided to see if bowing a jazz melody was as effective as bowing a classical one, and commissioned composer George Oldziey to write a string arrangement of this song, with its classical-sounding melody. My bowed solo is counterweighted with saxophonist Stan Killian’s artful double time solo.
10. Requiem* ~ Yes, I did write the melody on the bass. This is the only new age/collective improvisation song on the album and all of us had a lot of fun exploring this style. Saxophonist Stan Killian and I echo the work of Eberhard Weber and Jan Garbarek in our bass/sax rendition of the melody.
11. Armando’s Rhumba ~ Dedicated to his father Armando, this song is Chick Corea’s “Mi Tierra,” originally done with the old-fashioned Orquestra Aragon instrumentation of violin and flute. Here it’s given a piano trio treatment, echoing the original in reduced form. I pay homage to the great bassist Israel Lopez with a brief bowed solo
12. Manha de Carnaval ~ This song, by Antonio Carlos Jobim, is perhaps second in familiarity only to the Girl From Ipanema. This version takes on such a pretty mournfulness that its overfamiliarity is fully excused.
13. I’ll Remember April ~ Although we take it at a more modest tempo here, this song often has been a barnburner for guitarist Clayton Dyess and me. I usually take out my bow in self-defense when soloing at these tempos, which seem not to bother Clayton and drummer Bob Adams at all.

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