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The Current Set

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Album Review

Bassist Mark Helias' work as a leader has always been a touch more straight-ahead than many of the musicians for whom he's worked as a sideman, but his heart seems to be with bouncy heads and elastic grooves and that's not a bad thing. For The Current Set, he assembled a very strong band and steers them through six varied original pieces. The title cut has all the earmarks of a boppish piece by one of his former employers, Anthony Braxton, with a delightfully singing theme and delicious solos by Greg Osby and Robin Eubanks. On "Rebound," the irrepressible Herb Robertson threatens the poise of the proceedings with wild smears of sound while altoist Tim Berne successfully attempts to widen the boundaries even further, taking a brief, incendiary solo. "Greetings from L.C." introduces Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos into the mix, strongly evoking the carnival spirit. Throughout, Helias is supple and steady, always providing (with the fine drummer Victor Lewis) a touchstone for this set that nimbly treads the border between mainstream and the avant-garde.


Born: October 1, 1950 in New Brunswick, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A versatile bassist with a particular flair for the avant-garde, Mark Helias is also an underappreciated composer, and no slouch with a funk groove either. Helias was born in Brunswick, N.J., in 1950, and didn't begin playing bass until age 20; however, he wound up studying music at Yale, graduating in 1976. In 1977, he formed BassDrumBone with trombonist Ray Anderson and drummer Gerry Hemingway, and began appearing as a sideman on albums by the likes of Anthony Braxton, Dewey Redman, Barry Altschul,...
Full Bio
The Current Set, Mark Helias
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  • $10.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1987

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