Jimmy Masters, local jazz bass champ, celebrates new solo CD

Bassist often hang just outside the spotlight, providing groove, texture and pulse in a way that makes a band sound better without drawing eyes away from center stage. Local bass man Jimmy Masters is breaking out of that mold.

Masters, a jazz musician who plays mostly upright bass, is celebrating the release of his new solo album, "When Trees Speak," with a set of shows this week at Havana Nights in Virginia Beach.

The former James City County resident will play there Thursday, Friday and Saturday along with much of the ensemble featured on his new album: J.C. Kuhl on saxophones; Justin Kauflin, piano; Brian Jones, drums.

The new album is an immaculately recorded, polished acoustic jazz effort that presents Masters' rich bass playing in a straight-forward band setting.

There's the gentle, Latin-flavored swing of "Fair With Me, Fair With You," the late-night feel of "More Than Two, It's Five," and some poetry spoken by Masters on "Alone in the Field," and "A Flock of Blackbirds." Vocalist and songwriter Mary Lou Osterhous, who is Masters' wife, stops by to sing on her own folky tune "The Storm." The album ends with a relaxed, bass-and-piano take on the traditional ballad "The Water is Wide."

As the title suggests, there's a nature theme running through the album. "I have played jazz and acoustic music for almost 30 years on an instrument carved from these trees roughly 150 years ago," Masters wrote in the album's liner notes. "It is the sound emanating from that instrument that has led me to understand more deeply my long-standing relationship to these beautiful creators of the forest."

Call 855-301-2822 to make a reservation for the Masters shows at Havana Nights. 

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