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Spotlights [Issue # 9 ]
Harald Weinkum:

By Dean Truitt


If patience is a virtue, Austrian bass prodigy Harald Weinkum should receive his sainthood. Without any label support, Weinkum miraculously assembled an army of fusion’s finest bass players to create what would ultimately become his debut for the Hot Wire label, Bass-Talk 8: A Bass Bolero. The BIT instructor’s determination over a challenging three-year session motivated him to record with: Gary Willis, Steve Bailey, Abraham Laboriel, and many more. Weinkum’s drive paid off; he remembers the process: “Victor Wooten was the hardest [to attain] because he’s on the road all the time and doesn’t live in LA. I went to his shows whenever he came to LA and there was one time he said to show up at his soundcheck in Arizona. So, I jumped in my car and drove to Arizona to record his track!”

If gathering such an impressive dossier of musicians were the disc’s highlight, Weinkum could be proud of the result. However, the album itself is the true feat. The artist decided early that the entire collection would be in 3/4 time. Weinkum explains, “I realized that I wanted to do something a little different. A lot of the tunes that I have on there: ‘Bolero,’ ‘Recuerdos De La Alhambra,’ and the Erik Satie piece were in 3/4 time. The more I thought about it, I realized the music that I really care about is in 3 [time] and I just decided to go all the way with it.”

While the time signature may be a central theme, the CD is as eclectic as the musicians involved in the project. Weinkum was not afraid to tackle the most challenging compositions. His rendition of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” alone makes a profound statement. The track starts gently and, as each bass enters, builds with dynamic beauty. By the climactic ending, the listener is in ecstatic disbelief.

“Bolero” is certainly not the only gem on the album. His rendition of Jaco Pastorius’ masterpiece “Teen Town” is exceptional. As with any great interpreter of art, Weinkum simultaneously remains respectful to the original composition while making it his own. Harald Weinkum’s talent and persistence should take him to great musical heights.


Bass-Talk 8: A Bass Bolero
Hot Wire

Harald Weinkum Bass-Talk 8: A Bass Bolero


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