How Low Can You Go?


How Low Can You Go? : Anthology of the String Bass (1925-1941) 

Dust-to-Digital (3CDs) DTD-04


Not so long ago, the string bass stood tall and proud — roughly the length and breadth of a poor man’s pine coffin — in every musical aggregation throughout the land from Bangor to Buenos Aires, from the highest high life to the lowest lowdown: From tuxedoed symphony ensembles to tipsy calypso bands to honkytonkers in oil-field dives, from elegantly gelled tango orchestras to jazz combos in unspeakable speak-easys to methed-out rockabilly trios right off some flatbed.

This three-CD box set, the first ever anthology of the upright bass, explores the earliest recorded history of the instrument. Without it, the revolutionary sound of American mongrel music of the last century would have been thin gruel indeed.

The personal feel of this project is evident even in the whimsical packaging that recalls the early Victrola era. A 96-page book contains notes on each track and bios and photos of most of the players, as well as short essays on the evolution of the string bass and the life of Bill Johnson… Oddities like the kazoo choir of Dickie Wells’ Shim Shammers and the jazzy South Pacific sounds of Andy Iona and His Islanders hold their own against the driving big band jazz of Luis Russell. Alongside the rumble and slap of the upright bass, they all contain the magic spark peculiar to the 78 rpm record, the indefinable phantom thrill that somehow went missing as the music and recording studios became more sophisticated.



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