Updated: Feb 5
Stephen Godsall is a multi instrumentalist based in Dorset England, who plays in the 8 piece Jazz Band Blue Tides. I had the pleasure of having Stephen as a guest on the Ukulele Sessions a little
while ago so I was excited to hear that he had a new E.P. released called ‘Plucking the Underdog Ukulele Forms Volume 1’.
The E.P. has 5 tracks on it and if you are a fan of Django Rheinhardt or Lyle Ritz then you wont be disappointed. The ukulele features heavily in all the tracks, as do many other stringed instruments. I would say that the E.P. has its roots firmly based in gypsy jazz - but it also runs much deeper. You can really feel some Latin grooves in there, as well as some samba and Bossa Nova. It could definitely hear the influences of Joe Pass and maybe even a little Luiz Bonfa in there. The album is recorded exquisitely well, and the playing is of an incredibly high standard. It's impossible not to smile while listening to the music. Diminished chords are racing up and down the fretboard, while syncopated rhythms pulse through your head.
The first track ’Plucking The Underdog’ is a great interplay between a ukulele and banjo. The banjo provides a solidi, staccato type rhythm, allowing the ukulele to go crazy above it playing the melody. A lovely, uplifting track. It's almost like having the most exhilarating day out at the park after being locked up for a year.
Another favorite track is Uke-otronics where Stephen experiments with some lonely echo and distortion on the ukulele. Again a very uplifting track, whilst being very textured and layered with interesting riffs. I love the way Stephen is pushing the ukulele boundaries by using computers and various effect pedals.
In Piglets Stephen shows off his wonderful virtuosity. Stephen uses the uke mainly as a lead instrument in this piece. Unlike Lyle Ritz there is not much Chord Melody playing going on - much more intricate solo’s over a pulsating rhythm. This really allows the ukulele to shine and show that although it ma=y be small - it sure is not lacking in capability.
I have really enjoyed listening to the E.P. - and will continue to do so. There are not that many great ukulele E.P’s out there - but this is one. You can download the E.P. at https://jazzhalo.bandcamp.com/album/plucking-the-underdog-ukulele-forms-vol-1
and it is available from April 10th.
In the meantime you can hear the title track here - https://youtu.be/DnQue1d13KQ
Alternatively for more information on Stephen visit www.stephengodsall.co.uk