As the title suggests, Roland Guerin travels to different realms on his latest CD. Performing in an array of settings, the New Orleans bassist has always displayed his versatility. Noted for his slap-bass technique on the upright, an old-school style that he modernized and made his own, Guerin is equally adept at adding punch and funk on the electric.
On A Different World, he abandons the swing and groove of his past recorded projects, though rhythm continues to play an important role on this electronically focused album. What’s found within might best be described as contemporary, instrumental, improvisational music performed by talented artists who give it drive. Guerin uses electronic manipulation on the first recorded vocals of his career. His bass goes beyond its rhythmic function, showing its nature as a melodic instrument on the soulful, closing cut, “The Tender Part.” Guerin generously allows his band mates—including saxophonists Kris Royal and Dennis Williams, drummer Terence Higgins, pianist Mike Esnault, percussionist Bill Summers and guitarist Shane Theriot—plenty of room to make their own solo statements.
For Guerin, A Different World doesn’t exist too far away from his jazz home. He isn’t swingin’ but he’s sure not smoothin’.