Review of "Time On My Hands" by Hans-Bernd Hulsmann, www.smooth-jazz.de
True greatness comes from the precision in the details. Bassist Brendan Rothwell seems to have come out of the blue to follow this motto. With his debut album Time On My Hands (2016) he is now in the spotlight.
Brendan performs on this album bass, keyboards, guitar and programming. Among the supporting musical friends he rounds up are Poogie Bell and Chris Bailey (drums), Sheldon Zandboer (synth, piano, programming), Luc Desharnais (pedal steel) and Chris Andrew (synth, additional piano).
The album starts with the Intro (Wake the Bass). Quiet like a panther purrs his bass to keyboards chords. The Song of Songs from the Old Testament inspired both religious and secular love poetry over many centuries. This Is the Love is Brendan's personal praise of love.
The gentle title song Time on My Hands features a duet between Brendan and Luc Desharnais. While Brendan performs the bass as melody carrier, plays Luc a pedal steel delivering additional harmonies with country music flair. The lyrical walking bass lines are contagious. Decade is a melodious flashback on Brendan's creation period in Calgary. Grace and style of his bass harmonize in a gorgeous display of musical cohesion with the crystal world of Sheldon Zandboer's synth sounds.
The King is inspired by the Takamine acoustic bass and written in tribute to Akir. In the search of higher notes one can recognize elements of Jaco Pastorius' style. Brendan describes Smooth as machine music. This is likely to be the case for the rhythm, the bass and the guitar however are pure natural beasts.
Brendan has to tell a story, the Outro (Stories). Beside the spoken words is his bass the real storyteller.
Is Time On My Hands just another bass album? Not at all, Brendan's bass is far deeper than the soul. You have to discover the musical abysses, which magnetically draw in the spell.
Hans-Bernd Hulsmann http://www.smooth-jazz.de/starportrait/Rothwell/TimeOnMyHands.htm
January 27 2017