Contemporary jazz bassist Gerald Veasley makes no claim to be a master chess player, but there are certain unmistakable parallels between his line of work and the small-scale war game that has challenged great minds for centuries. Like chess, Veasley sees music as a pursuit that involves a combination of strategy, quick thinking and even a bit of blind faith.
“There’s a multiplicity of decision making in the game of chess, and there are consequences to every action,” says Veasley. “In a lot of ways, making music is like that too. There are so many choices, especially in jazz, where the situation is never the same twice. That’s always exciting to me. You’re creating new scenarios at every turn – every time you step in front of an audience, or every time you step into the studio. That’s what drew me to this kind of music in the first place – the idea that it was always fresh, there was always an opportunity and a new challenge. Unlike chess, though, winning in jazz doesn’t mean someone else has to lose.”
That same combination of challenges, opportunities and win-win is at the heart of Your Move (HUCD 3130), Veasley’s new Heads Up International CD set for worldwide release on March 11, 2008. The album is the latest – and perhaps most innovative and audacious – maneuver in the game that Veasley has been playing since his early days as an up-and-coming musician in his native Philadelphia.
“After all those years, after all the records I’ve made, I’m really mindful of the fact that not just music but life in general is a lot like that too,” says Veasley. “There are so many decisions that you have to make. You get the best information you can, and then you take the next step. Sometimes you have to be willing to make a leap and take a chance. There are always situations where you have to be flexible and adjust, and you have to adjust quickly.”