Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bass Master Mines Rock Catalog for New Tour

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bass Master Mines Rock Catalog for New Tour

Article excerpt

Bass guitar guru Stu Hamm says the time is right for him to rock out once again.

"The last tour that I did was a solo bass tour, and the last few times with my band was more of the improvisational, fusion side of my material," Hamm said by phone.

"This time out it's very much a rock band," said Hamm, who performs on Friday in Clifton. "The shows have the more rock portion of my catalog and my work with [guitar heroes] Steve Vai and Joe Satriani."

Hamm's set will include fan favorites like his version of the Peanuts theme, "Linus and Lucy," high-energy bass adaptations of polkas, straight-ahead rock and a few surprises. "I won't spill the beans completely," he said, "but I've created a new medley that encourages much screaming and audience participation."

The four-string virtuoso's diverse following includes highly skilled musicians who attend his master classes and clinics on classical for rock bass to everyday music fans. "I like to be well versed in different styles of music," he said. "I'm pretty confident that anyone who shows up to my shows will enjoy what I have to offer."

Hamm's latest album, "The Book of Lies" (2015), underscores the depth and breadth of his talent. The disc includes an inventive cover of the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," the slow groove of the title track and the playful, South African-influenced "Back to Shabalalla."

"My dad was president of the American Musicology Association and spent a year teaching in South Africa," Hamm said. "It's super happy go-to music for me. Shaballala is a reference to Joseph Shabalala of [South African chorale group] Ladysmith Black Mambazo."

The disc's centerpiece, "Le Petite Suite for Solo Bass," consists of several classical movements. Hamm said he wanted to create a composition that students could use as performance pieces and for auditions.

"It's an educational tool in that each piece has a different technique to make a four-minute bass piece interesting," said Hamm, 56. "One is played with chords, one is all harmonics, one is tapping. So students can pursue ideas and strategies," he said. "There's just not a lot of material like this out there. …

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