This quote about the late bass player Charnett Moffett comes from a piece written by Martin Johnson for NPR Music: “Big, elastic tone and … acute rhythmic sensibility. He could elevate a tune without soloing on it.”
The bassist, and the bass, is the foundational statement of the collective ensemble. It’s understood to provide the ground upon which the others play. Now change that narrative, alter the lens, allow the bass to be the root, or roots, and now allow the concept of an organic beginning, a starting place, a ground-up nurturing force that is where the growing and expansive creating comes out of. That is the defining measure of Charnett Moffett.
The charm of an artist is the ability to take an idea and manifest it through the medium they speak with. In the instrumentalist’s case, the brain conceives and the lightning speed at which the imagined creative impulse reaches the hands and fingers — and then strings or keypads or otherwise — can amaze and dazzle, surprise, invite and engage.
Moffett did all of this and more; his playing united those around him. A oneness kind of awareness and a skilled weaving of the line and thought. This quote by the late bassist describing the soundscape as lead player is how he sounds every time: “When you’re using the bass as a lead instrument, as a voice, to create melodies … You have more space, the sound of the instrument can resonate more and be heard in a more complete way.”