Personnel: Ernest Ranglin (guitar); Roland Alphonso (tenor & soprano saxophones); Monty Alexander (piano, melodica); Gary Mayone (keyboards, percussion); Ira Coleman (acoustic bass); Idris Muhammad (drums).
Recorded at Sony Music Studios, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Steve Barrow.
Personnel: Ernest Ranglin (guitar); Monty Alexander (melodica, piano); Roland Alphonso (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Gary Mayone (keyboards, percussion); Ira Coleman (acoustic bass); Idris Muhammad (drums).
Audio Mixer: Mark Wilder.
Liner Note Author: Steve Barrow.
Recording information: Sony Music Studios, New York, NY.
If there is was ever one Jamaican musician who should be considered a representative of all things musical in that tropical paradise, it is guitarist Ernest Ranglin. In the nearly 50 years of playing leading up to the release of 1996's BELOW THE BASSLINE, Ranglin has not only seen musical trends metamorphosize from mento to ska to rock-steady and reggae, but has also had a hand in participating in sessions for many hit songs.
BASSLINE bubbles over with Ranglin's distinctive and fluid guitar lines. He is joined by a talented back-up band, including Jamaican pianist Monte Alexander, jazz great Idris Muhammad on drums and Skatalites saxman Roland Alphonso. The mix of songs in this instrumental setting contains not only a number of Ranglin originals, but material by Augustus Pablo ("King Tubby Meets The Rockers"), Burning Spear ("Black Disciples") and Toots Hibbert ("54-46 [Was My Number]"). Regardless of origin, this talented crew manages to have great fun changing gears for this ska, reggae and dub material delivered with a jazzy touch. This wonderful instrumental opus is a Jamaican musical history lesson. In addition, Ranglin's exquisite phrasing makes BELOW THE BASSLINE the perfect soundtrack for Sunday brunch.
Q (7/96, p.122) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...These are Jamaica's standards but they have never felt as intimate as this. Invariably light of touch, Ranglin never overstates his case, relying instead on filigree melody and a delicious, mellow elegance....BELOW THE BASSLINE is peacefully magnificent."
JazzTimes (10/96, p.81) - "...Ranglin settles comfortably into this disc's reggae jazz grooves...moving from velvety Wes-styled octaves to bluesy, Green-styled runs."
The Beat (V.15 #4 1996, p.28) - "...a recording of such deep quality, of such straight-ahead radicalness, infused with such satisfying wonderfulness and fantastic guitar playing that I defy anyone not to be immensely enamored of the intelligent, subtle grooves contained in this major release."