Michael League, Cory Henry, and Nathaniel Townsley – Continuum

9 Dec

Here is an incredible rendition of the famous Jaco Pastorius tune Continuum from Michael League and Cory Henry of Snarky Puppy with veteran studio drummer Nathaniel Townsley. If you are familiar with Snarky Puppy then you know that the ensemble is always large, so hearing Michael League and Cory Henry play in a small trio is a real treat. The tune begins with a free and ambient introduction from League on bass. His tone and dynamic control are on point as always, but here you can experience the more melodic side of his playing that is not at the forefront of Snarky Puppy’s music.

In my post on the Snarky Puppy song Lingus I rave about the virtuosity of keyboardist Cory Henry. His playing here is not as scorching as in Lingus, but it is instead very understated and tasteful. The keyboard that he is playing is not just any ordinary electric keyboard, mind you. It is a Fender Rhodes Piano. In my opinion, the Rhodes Piano has one of the most satisfying timbres in all of music. The Rhodes Piano works very similarly to a regular acoustic piano. Pressing the keys drives a hammer down onto a thin metal rod, but the vibrations are then magnified by an electromagnetic pickup. The point is that while the Rhodes is an electric instrument, it is also very expressive because it is physically responsive to how hard you press the keys. I’m rambling, but just know that the Rhodes Piano sounds amazing and Cory Henry plays it extremely well.

Michael League is fast becoming one of my favorite bass players, and his solo beginning at 5:33 is an example of why. League’s solo is not your average bass solo. Most bass solos are groove oriented, locking in tightly with the drummer while maintaining the rhythm (which is awesome). Meanwhile, Mike League’s solo is lyrical and melodic while still exploring all corners of the neck. The bass player along with the drummer provide the rhythmic backbone of any group, so the fact Cory Henry and Nathaniel Townsley hold it down while Michael League takes a melodic solo really speaks to the talent of these musicians.

Thanks for listening.

– Rami

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