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Wakefield bassist drops debut album with his ‘heroes’

April 10th,2023 | Arts & Entertainment

Marc Decho always wanted to make the perfect record, with the perfect players.

That’s why it’s taken the Wakefield bassist close to 20 years to drop his first studio album, “Aaaaum” under the guise of the Marc Decho Quartet. The four-track, modern creative, jazz EP is a rich sonic stew of improvisation that’s full to the brim with auditory wonder.

“That’s why I looked for the best guys in the world,” says Decho, referring to his three other jazz cats that play on the record: Grammy nominated and Juno award-winning alto saxophonist Luis Deniz; pianist composer and producer Jeremy Ledbetter; and Grammy, Latin Grammy and Junonominated drummer and producer Marito Marques.

“I’ve always made a point… to play with people better than me. That’s how you get better. If you just stay spinning around in circles in the same spot, you don’t progress. These are the best dudes nationwide, forget cities. They blow everyone away,” he says.

Decho says he met the three jazz masters while playing a gig at Ottawa’s Mercury Lounge several years ago and fanboyed them hard at the bar after their show. He told the Toronto musicians he wanted to jam with them and they said “Sure,” and went back to their drinks. But then Decho took to the stage and they quickly realized that they, too, wanted to play with Decho. It didn’t take long for the quartet to form

“Those dudes are like heroes of mine,” says Decho.

What makes the record so good is that it’s essentially a live album. All four players are so talented that there was no re-recording or fixing certain sections. Most of the tracks were recorded on the first take.

“It’s live, there is literally no overdubs, no punch-ins. What you hear is live,” he says. “We recorded it and just looked at each other and said, ‘That felt good, okay next one,’ and we didn’t listen until a week later.”

The result is a complex set of modern jazz tunes that are full of spontaneity, creativity and a little bit of crazy. The EP starts off slow, with some groovy baselines and chill piano notes, before moving onto a busy “Calle 23”, with Deniz providing a soft horn landing for Ledbetter’s insane piano work.

Decho says the slow burn album will get a sequel, as there are four more tracks ready to go, but he just needs more studio time. He says the four other tracks get even crazier, with odd time signatures and chest pumping drum fills — all sprinkled on top of Decho’s foundational base groove. And when Decho says he hired the best, he truly meant it. The album was mixed by twotime Grammy Award-winning mixer and sound engineer Helik Hadar, who won a Grammy for his work on Herbie Hancocks’ 2008 Album of the Year-winning record, “River: The Joni Letters”.

“Aaaaum” is available to purchase on Bandcamp for $7 or can be streamed via Spotify and other streaming services.

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