The American label Relative Pitch continues to offer young and fearless, female improvisers, and now it releases the debut solo album of Seattle-based, classically-trained double bass player-vocalist (and educator) Kelsey Mines. The album Look Like was recorded at the Plot in the Shoreline in Washington in November 2021.
Mines released earlier this year To Actually Create Everywhere (Relative Pitch), her arrangement for a chamber ensemble of local poet Em Nitz-Ritter’s poem, which explores the gendered experiences of making art through music and spoken word, performed by women and trans people and plays with gender nonconformity, joy, and collaboration. She is a versatile musician, who also plays the electric bass, and currently works for the Yakima Symphony, Symphony Tacoma and the Paramount Orchestra, freelancing in numerous settings reaching from chamber music to Latin jazz, and co-leads the local bands EarthToneSkyTone and Here to Play.
Mines is endorsed by French master double bass player and vocalist Joëlle Léandre, clearly a seminal influence on Mines, who wrote generous liner notes praising Mines’ creativity, unique and direct voice, independent vocabulary, and risk-taking approach. Look Like offers a series of six free improvised solo double bass pieces and duets of Mines with her own expressive voice.
Mines is a free spirit with a strong, personal voice – literally – of her own, who is well-versed in the classical and extended arco and pizzicato techniques but seeks to liberate the double bass, as well as herself as an artist, from the traditional and familiar roles of the bull fiddle. Mines, like Léandre, can make the double bass dance playfully and rhythmically, expose her emotional vulnerability, serenade her free-associative, wordless songs (except for the title song, where she keeps asking what it looks like), and chant irreverent hymns, often at the same time.
Kelsey Mines (b, v)