I first heard the Horace Silver tune, “Lonely Woman,” on a Pat Metheny album and fell in love with it immediately. It’s a brooding kind of tune. And as I was working on “The Drummer Loves Ballads,” I thought it could be even more brooding as an acoustic bass feature. And I thought Gerald Spaits would be perfect for it. Gerald has a way of featuring the bass as a solo instrument that is unique. He’s a real artist of the instrument. Listen, for example, to his use of counterpoint lines and double stops to really cover all the bases, no pun intended, on the tune and to bring it to life.
I love the way the ensemble worked on this piece. Wayne Hawkins just laid out on piano for the first couple of minutes, just to let it breathe and give room for the bass to really be featured. And then he kind of sneaks in when Rod Fleeman takes a little guitar solo a couple of minutes in. Speaking of which, around 2:35 you’ve got to listen for this bent blues tone that Rod plays, which just knocks me out every time I hear it. Rod and Gerald in particular have played together a ton over the years. And you can just feel them move in sync, especially on the last chorus where they’re handing phrases off back and forth with each other as we head out of the tune.
I almost didn’t do this tune. As I was thinking about it, I had asked some bass players I knew, “Hey, you think there’s a way a bass player could do “Lonely Woman” as sort of a solo feature and cover the harmony and the melody at the same time?” The responses I got back were mostly, “Well, I don’t know, it would kind of tough.” And when I asked Gerald about it, his response was, “Sure.” So I think when you listen to it, you’ll see why.