the pit of fashion cd | liner notes
"Special guests abound on bassist Peter Barshay's all-star gathering, Pit Of Fashion . Mike Stern unleashes with heavy metal bebop abandon on Peter's hip cover of the provocative Miles Davis composition "Stuff" (from 1968's Miles In The Sky ). Trumpeter Patches Stewart invokes Miles' signature muted trumpet work on a funky updating of Victor Feldman's "Joshua" (originally recorded by Miles on 1963's Seven Steps To Heaven ). Harmonica ace Norton Buffalo brightens the buoyant "OK, Bye Bye, Fine," written by Barshay back in 1983. Tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis, a charter member of the Charlie Hunter Trio who has also played with Grateful Dead off-shoot bands Ratdog and The Other Ones, plays a key role on "Joshua" and on Barshay's infectious reggae groover "Radio Joe." Trumpeter Brian Lynch, a former Jazz Messenger and longtime sideman with Latin jazz icon Eddie Palmieri, blows with authority on the salsafied closer "Don't Ask." Saxophonist Bob Sheppard lends his bold, probing tenor voice to Barshay's other Latin flavored offering, "Please Recall," and to a surprising second line rendition of the Cole Porter standard "What Is This Thing Called Love?" (Check out Peter's audacious wah-wah bass work here). Pianist Billy Childs is also prominently featured on "OK, Bye Bye, Fine" and "Don't Ask."
Elsewhere, significant contributions are made by organists Larry Goldings, a longtime member of John Scofield's group and currently with Michael Brecker's band, and former Santana band member Tom Coster. On separate tracks they flesh out the rhythmic texture along with percussionist Michael Spiro and guitarist Ray Obiedo. Underpinning it all, and capturing the appropriate vibe on each of these diverse tracks, is the versatile drummer Steve Smith, founder of Vital Information whose varied list of credits includes work with fusioneers Steps Ahead and Jean-Luc Ponty, the rock supergroup Journey and, more recently, a Buddy Rich tribute band.
"Certainly it's an improviser's record," Barshay says of Pit Of Fashion . "There's lots of soloing but I also wanted it to feature my writing and arranging in addition to my bass playing."
While the darkly alluring "Please Recall" and "Don't Ask" both reflect Barshay's experience on New York's Latin jazz and Brazilian scenes, the title track harkens back to a band he had in the mid '80s with fellow bassist Walter Booker and pianist Bertha Hope. "We wrote this tune together and later recorded a demo version with Carter Jefferson on tenor sax, Idris Muhammad on drums, Steve Turre on trombone, Tex Allen on trumpet, Walter and myself on basses and Bertha on Fender Rhodes. We never really named the piece in its original inception. I just happened to come up with the spoonerism Pit Of Fashion from Fit Of Passion."
A solid collection from start to finish, Pit Of Fashion represents an incremental leap in the long and ever-evolving career of this dedicated jazz bassist."
Bill Milkowski, contributor to JazzTimes magazine, author of JACO: The Extrordinary Life Of Jaco Pastorious" (Miller Freeman Books) and "Rockers, Jazzbos & Visionaries" (Billboard Books)