Wilbert de Joode
The first thing you notice about Wilbert de Joode’s bass playing is the sheer force of his sound. He’s a state of the art modern player, but it some ways he’s a throwback, to the 1950s and earlier, before bassists started amplifying their basses, which let them lower their strings toward the bass’s neck. They could play faster but needed an amp to be heard in a band context. Wilbert’s acoustic sound, on the other hand, is so powerful, after a gig a famous bass player once asked him what amp he was using, when he wasn’t using one. He keeps his strings high, has to really press them down to the neck; under high tension, the sound of a vibrating string blossoms in rich overtones, and his plucked tones explode like popcorn. His bowing is likewise frictive; he can make bowed strings yelp when he wants to. His sound is literally visceral; he uses custom-made gut strings. He doesn’t go in for easy walking lines—his sound is more urgent—but he can groove, and sync up with a drummer, to drive the music ahead.
Wilbert de Joode plays in satisfying settings on a regular basis: with reed man Ab Baars’ long running trio, in pianist Michiel Braam’s trio and big band, with composer and violist Ig Henneman’s various, chamberish improvising groups, in Joost Buis’s rangy midsize band Astronotes, and with fellow dOeK members: in Eric Boeren 4tet and trio Fuhler • Bennink • De Joode, for instance. And he’s always up for improvising with new people, in new situations, at Amsterdam’s Zaal 100 or on stage in Canada. Under his own name, he’s recorded the solo disc Olo.