In 37 years only three people have sat in the bass chair. No, wait a minute, no one “sits” in a bass chair in Manteca, if the groove don’t move the “bass person” (note gender neutral) Houston we have a problem. Henry Heillig, was the founding bassist (sounds like founding father, not gender neutral, but I’m in Charlottetown today hence the reference), in 2012, after 34 years of dedicated service Henry took the massive buyout option to concentrate on his awesome band the Heillig Manoeuvre. His last album is a gem among many great releases, and you can find it here.
Pat McBride followed Henry for the Monday Night at the Mensa Disco record and he burned it up! I was always happy to have Pat in the band for his playing and sense of humour but also because he came from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Our drummer, Charlie Cooley comes from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I don’t know how much you know about the centuries of ethnic fighting between Haligonians and the Dartmouthians, a people separated only by a bridge, but it is fierce, ugly and tragic. To unify these two guys in the same rhythm section, despite years of sectarian violence, I thought positioned Manteca very well for a prize, no, not the Juno, the Nobel Peace Prize…yeah, whatever! Bob Dylan.
Pat and Charlie got along great and my next assignment is to fix the Middle East, but Pat had too many things on the go and eventually the band was summoned to the secret hall where we have a ritual similar to the Papal Enclave and after 30 seconds of discussion, the white smoke was emitted and the adoring crowds were introduced to the new Pope of the lower octaves, Will Jarvis.
Now Will has played with everyone from Steve Gadd to Tito Puente so we were mighty happy to get him. We sent him charts and tracks so he could get up to speed on the Manteca book, which as you know is very simple, nothin’ to it really. He shows up for the first day of rehearsal, sets up the amp, sets up the pedals, tunes the basses but no music stand and no music.
“Hey Will, did you bring your charts?”
“Nope, don’t need ‘em, memorized it.”
So then we’re all asking him questions about the form of the new tunes…on his first day of rehearsal…”do we repeat A before we take the coda, I forgot?”
Will has been a joy to have in the band on so many levels and has just released his first solo recording a superb CD called, Con Gracious, which has received critical acclaim and a remarkable audience response.