by Kevin Amos
Dwayne Dolphin our “ace of bass,” has produced another excellent release highlighting talent from international stars and artists on the horizon.
As executive producer, Dolphin has enlisted the help of keyboardist/ arranger, Brett “the kid” Williams in the studio. The result is a 10-cut foray covering funk, fusion and inspirational as well as R&B. Dolphin is a veteran player of multiple basses: the acoustic, electric, and piccolo bass, and has performed all over the world with the legendary masters of Jazz and Funk music.
As a young student, by the time he was 15, Dolphin was already on the local Pittsburgh jazz scene working with legendary drummer Roger Humphries and many of Pittsburgh’s local musical heroes. He got his first big break right out of high school when he was recruited by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to join his band that also included his brother, Branford. That was more than 25 years ago and now he is mentoring younger musicians on the scene in the Pittsburgh Jazz tradition.
Dolphin during his long career also was a band member of saxophone master Hank Crawford. As his reputation and name spread, he went on to work with some of the greatest names in jazz including Hank Jones, Abbey Lincoln, Kenny Burrell, Clark Terry and Pharaoh Sanders. He also worked with pianist Geri Allen as well as other contemporary improvisers like Graham Haynes, Don Byron, Oliver Lake and Arthur Blythe. Currently he tours as bass player for Fred Wesley.
In a recent radio interview Dolphin spoke of the various contributors to “Essence of an Angel.”
“I can go nowhere without my ‘little brother’ these days (referring to Sean Jones). I try to include him on everything I do. And Brett Williams is an extraordinary talent. Look for him to do big things.”
Also featured on the new CD are Loran Mann II, Tom Wendt, Jevon Rushton, Kevin Garrett, Jermaine Manor, Michala Williams, Stacia Abbott, Brian Sanders, Erica Sanders, Lou Stellute and George Heid III. Standout cuts on the recording include “Air Bender,” “Sara Smile,” “First Love,” “Anytime, Anyplace,” and the title tune, “Essence of an Angel.” The new release has something for everyone as Dolphin states, “I’m making recordings for everyone’s enjoyment.”
It is a pure delight and worth a listen.