View (CD Review)|
by Jedd Beaudoin
Published November, 2003
Say the words "something for everyone" to me and it's likely to elicit little more than an annoyed chuckle - but View, the debut album by bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Mike Keneally Band, ex-Wayne Kramer), offers just that and, if possible, much, much more. Beller moves from the terrain of latter-day John Scofield (with Medeski, Martin and Wood) on the organ-drenched "Supermarket People" to the gritty, hip-grinding energy of a groove-intensive Stone Temple Pilots ("Bite") before hiking up the mountain a bit for a small dose of classical ("Eighteen Weeks," which comes replete with heavenly vibraphone).
And while Beller is a bassist, View is hardly a bass album; Beller has little time for overindulgent soloing and manically misplaced licks. Instead, he busts out his chops in the areas of melody and steady, driving lines that are as just as memorable for what isn't played as what is. Still, those familiar with his work (or interested in the instrument in general) won't cry that he's gone all soft: "Get Things Done," "Seven Percent Grade" and "See You Next Tuesday" feature enough in-your-face playing to more than satisfy your low-end cravings.
Beller makes this View something to admire with the help of a stellar cast of musicians including bassist Wes Wehmiller, drummer Joe Travers and guitarist (and ex-Wichitan) Rick Musallam.
Throw open the curtains and enjoy.
Originally reprinted with permission from the now-defunct F5 Magazine.