Triumvirate: TM Stevens

triumvirateGravity by James Brown

Although this 1986 album by the Godfather of Soul was only a modest success, and certainly not one of his finest efforts, it features some sublime playing by TM Stevens. Its biggest hit, thanks in no small part to the Rocky IV soundtrack, was ‘Living In America’. Stevens’ thick yet wiry tone is all over the track, nailing a funky groove with some amazing slap fills that cut through the mix. The album is full of tasty bass playing, probably some of the best featured on a James Brown record – and that’s saying something.

 

triumvirate (1)Sex And Religion by Steve Vai

In 1993, guitar shred legend Steve Vai was looking to follow up his surprisingly successful album Passion And Warfare. In his pursuit of musical perfection he put together a band of stunning musicians: Devin Townsend on vocals, Terry Bozzio on drums and Stevens on bass. Proving himself to be one of the most versatile players on the planet, TM doled out equal measures of groove and crushing metal riffage, something he terms metal-funk. The recording process was fraught with tension and the band never ended up touring the album, but TM provided a masterclass on grooving rock playing.

 

triumvirate (2)Foreign Affair by Tina Turner

Here’s TM once again showing his ability to mould his playing into whatever style is needed. This monster hit album from Tina Turner is crammed to bursting with hit singles. TM’s playing tends to understated here, playing melodic and subtle support to some of Tina’s best pop songs. At times he steps out and lays down the funk, but it’s a mature performance that only comes from the security of knowing that you’re simply the best…

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