Jimmy Haslip is digging deep on Gratitude

Earlier I’ve written about my workflow when developing an idea into a tune or how I work when I’m arranging a song by making demos. This is about recording bass and about the recording session with the awesome Jimmy Haslip for my Gratitude album.

I have had the pleasure to work with many outstanding bass players – Will Lee, John Peña and Mark King, all unique players. Here I’ll tell you about some of my work with Jimmy Haslip – a living legend.

Many years ago I saw Jimmy Haslip’s name for the first time on the album “Mirage a trois” by the band Yellow Jackets.After my very first listen to that album, I became a fan of the band and have been ever since. The way Yellow Jackets mixed jazz, blues and funk actually changed my approach to music. This is also why it was fantastic for me to have Ricky Lawson playing drums on the “Miss You” album, just like it was awesome to play some Yellow Jackets tunes live with Russell Ferrante and Jimmy Haslip a couple of years ago … but that’s another story. Back to Jimmy Haslip on the Gratitude album.

Soren Reiff & Jimmy Haslip
I met Jimmy Haslip for the first time several years ago, when he played in Copenhagen with Henrik Engqvist and Jeff Richman – photo by Carsten Weide

I met Jimmy for the first time about 7 years ago, when he played in Copenhagen with guitarist Jeff Richman and drummer Henrik Engqvist. We talked briefly after the concert, and the year after I was invited to sit in with this group when they visited Copenhagen again. Since then I’ve played some concerts with him, Jeff and Henrik when they have been in Scandinavia.

Soren Reiff jamming with Henrik Engqvist & Jeff Richman – photo by Carsten Weide

The session for the Gratitude album was the first time I worked with Jimmy in the studio. Jimmy has this unique approach and groove, and in addition this you get the fattest tone I’ve ever heard from a bass – deep with tons of warm overtones.

During the session, while we listened to my demos with the music sheets between us Jimmy asked what I was going for … if I wanted what I’ve written or ? Apart from a few places where I knew it was very important to play exactly what was in my scores, I asked him to do his interpretation of what I’d written. For instance when we were about to record “Longing Home” Jimmy asked me if I wanted exactly what I had written in the break down part – I said no, I just wanted it to be funky – and he responded “I’ll give you a groove” … he did 🙂

Jimmy Haslip is digging deep

I think the bass parts for this album we ended up having are awesome. The way he grooves is typical Jimmy Haslip – digging reel deep into the groove – and I love the way he interacts with Gary Novak – so intense! I entered the recording booth while they recorded “Make some noise” – and met a giant wall of energy – wow! And on “Let’s Play” he and Gary are smoking … well I think they are on all the tracks 🙂

I’m proud and full of gratitude to have musicians like Jimmy and Gary on my album. And on top of their unique musicianship they are the nicest hang – incredible persons. I wish I played with them more often.

You are more than welcome to leave comments and share this post if you feel for it – thanks 🙂

All the very best


NB: you can also read about Jimmy Haslip here & Gary Novak here.

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