Rob Wasserman


Bassist extraordinaire Rob Wasserman’s three-CD Trilogy—a remastered collection of his 1983 CD Solo, 1988’s Duets and 1994’s Trios—might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The first third of the trilogy, Solo, is purely solo upright bass. But if anyone can make solo bass creative, interesting and enjoyable, Wasserman (whose credits include Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Bob Weir and the late Jerry Garcia) can. His mostly bowed “Ode to Casals” is a beautiful, haunting piece, and “Sara’s Rainbow Song” sounds as if there are two basses playing (“no overdubs,” Wasserman reminds us). Duets—mostly bass with vocalists—pleasingly teams Wasserman with unmistakable R&B vocalist Aaron Neville on Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” and with Rickie Lee Jones (whom he accompanied at her Paradise Performing Arts Center show this past January) on “The Moon Is Made of Gold” and “Autumn Leaves.” Great duets with Reed, Dan Hicks (insane fun!) and the late violinist Stephane Grappelli, among others, also appear. Trios’ “Zillionaire”—Wasserman, Garcia and Edie Brickell—about a dog named Zillionaire is oddly precious. Plus, two of Wasserman’s trios include the mad bass work of Primus’ Les Claypool.