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Hadrien Faraud No Longer With MacLaughlin

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by EZ9R, May 6, 2010.

  1. EZ9R


    Oct 28, 2008
    I was reading a drum forum and Gary Husband talks about the new John MacLaughlin album that's out. Hadrien in not on it and this is what Gary said after someone questioned him about their new bass player
    and our new bass player (Etienne M'Bappe) has really trasnsformed the bass situation. It's great now.

    Gary, I have to ask... transformed in what sense? Was it not great with Hadrien? The way you stated this made it sound like he couldn't do his part, and from what I have seen, and heard... you don't get much better...


    Thanks for your question here. Just saw it Drumman74.

    Well, it depends on what you're looking for I guess, and what particular elements constitute one guy as someone who couldn't be any better so to speak.

    Hadrien's got facility up the ying yang. He's got a lot of awe inspiring, truly staggering technique .. and he applies it.. just about everywhere, in everything! He's up the top end whopping in jazz chordal substitutions, in I'm afraid (to me) that are frequently musically inappropriate and he's generally shedding his load at seemingly any opportunity.

    Many (and I've seen this type of opinion reflected here occasionally) frequently put this down to age, and the fact he's extremely young. I'm afraid I don't buy this philosophy at all. I was absorbed in classical music at an incredibly young age, and when I wasn't I was pursuing musical effect for all it's worth in what I could find improvisationally. It was always just about music, and what I could strive for and reach as a musical effect. Ultimately! I wouldn't dream of comparing myself for one minute, but look at what Tony Williams was doing at 17? Enough said.

    Etienne has the fundamental. He's playing bass, and his whole conception and contribution stems from what the bass is about in this kind of music. Not just groove. It's about what's musically important down in the bottom end of music. His whole interaction also stems from a complete understanding of what the bass is all about too. In addition to this, he is also 100% skilled in terms of working with drummers, which is something Hadrien has yet to even start understanding. Etienne embraces what goes on rhythmically and produces a total intuitive cohesion with whoever he's playing with. Whatever he does, he does for musical reasons and reacts in a total musical and sense all the time, with a lot of instinctive empathy.

    That's where I'm at with all this. I'm talking about the same thing that made what Rick Laird so effective in Mahavishnu, and Jimmy Johnson so great with Allan Holdsworth... and it isn't just about playing low, simple and minimal, it's about what the player either understands or don't understand about what the bass has got to be about for this kind of music to work.

    That's my stance.


  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Huh. Hadrien's playing on the tracks he did for McLaughlin's Industrial Zen fit in great.
  3. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
  4. MixBass


    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    I saw both Hadrien and Etienne do a short demo together at NAMM a few years ago. What I saw goes hand in hand with your post and some observations of my own. I call some players "alpha-players", guys you have to play to, versus with. I do gigs with both type all the time. When going into a gig/session I look for which role I need to be and it usually spells itself out quickly.
    When watching those 2 GREAT players, I saw exactly that: Hadrien was more of an alpha than Etienne. Even when he was "comping" for Etienne, he was louder and it was more about him. Etienne didn't seem too thrilled and it sure seemed like he was looking at him to slow down, play quieter, listen, and leave a breath.
    To be sure, Hadrien has MASSIVE chops and some pretty serious bounce in his groove, and sounds to me like an alpha.
    Etienne on the other hand can play different roles depending on what needs to be there. And when it comes to playing some other grooves i.e. in 3,6, etc., few can compare.
    I've seen both do gigs and that's what I've seen.
    Your mention of JJ with Holdsworth is a great example of another guy who has the total bag , is a great listener, can play some space, and has all the chops too. Another that immediately comes to mind is Pino.
    There is room for both and watching Hadrien solo is exciting. But if I were choosing someone to support a band I'd go elsewhere. I suspect Gary is happy JM did.
  5. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I knew this would come up. McLaughlin always has great bassist and I love Hadrien's playing with him, but for me, the groove is deeper on the new 'To The One' album compared to the last few. IMHO and all that.;)
  6. harrybosch

    harrybosch Banned

    Aug 18, 2008
    Gary is a very cool guy to hang with. He is a deeply musical person. I appluaed Gary for having the balls to put this out there. I bet this will sting Hadrien pretty good. Maybe it will help him in the long run become a more well rounded musician.
  7. EZ9R


    Oct 28, 2008

    One thing has always been one of my, lets say top 5 ways to be a great bass player or musician is to listen during a performance. Being a bass player, my problem is dealing with drummers that are tooooo busy because I play jazz/rock with drummers who fell they have to show off their chops. There is fine line being busy and stepping on toes. I play jazz and jazz/rock and I have my moments to shine by taking a solo. But, when I'm comping, I try to give the soloist all the support so they're free to create and not have to worry about a foundation the same way I would want them to be supportive during my solos.
  8. buddyro57

    buddyro57 me and PJ (living with the angels now)

    Apr 14, 2006
    Cedar Falls Iowa
    with every job you hold, its always a matter of fit. Hadrien is one of the current wave of amazing players (Janek, Matt Garrison, Bona. etc) who have just catapulted the art of improvisation on the bass to a whole different galaxy it seems. Still, there are times when holding down the groove is more important than being one of the foreground soloists. The fact that McLaughlin has changed bassists is not surprising, because he's always done that- hardly ever staying with one guy for more than a couple of records (except for Rick Laird) but that's cool, that's consistent with the way McLaughlin operates; he's always on the lookout for the next challenging situation.
    Hadrien will be fine, despite Gary Husband's remarks- he will gravitate to a situation where his contribution will be the perfect fit. I'd LOVE to have 15% of what that cat has in technique and cool ideas. BUT (now to start a whole new controversy) Janek is my MAN!
  9. NickBass81


    Jul 4, 2008
    Endorsing Bulkmusic Strings
    We should always listen to our drummer friends!
    That said, H. Feraud is a MONSTER player without any doubt, but probably E. Mbappe is a better rounded player, and this comes from experience...also Etienne has great skills, but he displays it only when needed ! (I saw him years ago with the Zawinul Syndicate...wow!).
    As many of you said above, McLaughlin is changing his players very often...look how many "fresh" bassists he brought under the light in the past years (Eckhardt, Di Piazza, Garrison), all musicians that were already known but probably had their definitive "jump" with John...Hadrien is a great musician, and I think that he will treasure his experience with McLaughlin and he will come out with something new in a few times....
  10. sfbabali


    May 11, 2009
    People in the music business are like that : present is always perfect and they can explain why...
    Reminds me of Matthew Garrison teasing for the new Whitney tour : all was perfect, rehersals were doin' fine etc...
    Well we can see now what reality was beyhond that "political" talk...
    I think Hadrien is more like an "equal" to John (or at least he should be, like Dominique Di Piazza once was), and John maybe prefers a quieter, more "traditionnal" bass player...

    Let me clear this : i LOVE Etienne's playing (and as a French guy, i also love Had's), i'm just saying that all kind of "****** talk" in music his the same u can see when election time is coming : just a way to "buzz around"

    French Bassists will conquer the world :D
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    the alpha thing is wrong, i think...don't forget that john mc brought a brash young slapper named jonas hellborg to prominence.

    the story going around that i heard was that john was always after hadrien to turn down and he wouldn't, and he finally had enough. this comes to me from a couple different independent and usually reliable sources.

    however, i shouldn't stoke rumors when hadrien comes on here fairly often and can comment for himself. however, even though i like hadrien just fine as a tb member and i like his playing a lot, i'm going to stoke the rumors anyway...sorry hadrien, but this is the internet ;)
  12. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Further proof to me, and IMO of course, that most of the pyrotechnic soloing that seems to pass for 'an amazing/revolutionary/genius bass player' in all the internet/magazine bass circles doesn't really mean much to our fellow musicians when compared to holding down the bass chair by being supportive, ie playing rythmically/harmonically/melodically-interesting lines that enhance the overall music without sticking out and calling undue attention to itself.

    Laying complex chords and soloing in 32nd notes doesn't EVER impress me these days compared to a player in complete command of how his instrument functions in an ensemble, and how he can completely alter the overall sound of the group by his/her feel and note choices. Sure, there are people who can encompass BOTH approaches, but too often those bassists who are lionized for their 'flash' do nothing for me, again IMO, in the realm of 'holding down the bass chair'. YMMV. And of course Hadrien is a stunning player technique-wise who will have ZERO problems finding work.
  13. EZ9R


    Oct 28, 2008

    If you ever seen that youtube vid with Jaco and Frank Gambale @ M.I. in '85, Frank is blazing through playing 16th note triplets, 32nds notes. To me, it gets old fast because He doesn't phrase well IMHO. When Jaco solos, he's playing half the speed, but his phrasing and note choice sounds like when people say music is a language.
    Of course, that vid is 25 years old and Gambale's playing keeps growing.

    There are players today that have far more technique than Jaco, Stanley and Berlin, but I don't think they have the musicality those guys did. Again IMO
  14. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    That kind of thing is a subtle difference to some, but once you notice the difference it becomes HUGE.
  15. Not surprising to me as I've never found Hadrien to be very musical in his playing. Chops for days but that doesn't equal musicality, for sure.

    Pino Palladino is musical, has chops and is maybe the smoothest player alive. Check out his stuff with PSP. That's how fusion should be done.
  16. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Hadrien is in a camp of guys who I consider to be making 'music for other musicians'. IMO of course. Sure, his technique and skill is undeniable on the instrument, but its funny how regular non-musicians respond much more to players who 'sing' with their instruments and play simple lines from the heart. I feel the same way when I listen to a Steve Swallow solo. Sure there's nothing particularly virtuosic about his playing, but HOLY CRAP the lyrical phrasing is out of this world. Really connects to me. I have a healthy dose of respect for the 'musical athletes' who perform amazing technical feats on the instrument, but give I'll take a musician who makes you feel something any day.
  17. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    +1. I've pretty much had my fill of bass virtuosos. It's been really interesting to see how far the instrument can be taken in a lead capacity but I've had enough. At this point, I really just want to listen to good, solid, tasteful bass without a lot of soloing and grandstanding getting in the way.
  18. I understand that music in general is a very personal thing but I feel like I have to respond to this, lol. While I do agree that Hadrien does seem to make his music for other musicians I think he's far more than a chopsmeister. Yes, he can blaze across a fretboard at Mach 2 but I find him to be one of the most tasteful and musical bass guitarists around. I think he falls right in line with this "new" generation of bassists (Tony Grey, Janek Gwizdala, Richard Bona, Matt Garrison) that improvise in similar ways to horn players in their phrasing and use of dynamics and sound fantastic doing it. Hadrien's solo album is one of the most well composed, beautiful sounding bassist albums out there. You can tell right off the bat that it's a bass album but he does it in such a way that it isn't obnoxious or grating, everything just falls into place.

    All that said, I do believe that if Hadrien were put into a band "for the people", people being non-musicians, I feel like he could really turn some heads. That's just a gut feeling though.
  19. OldogNewTrick


    Dec 28, 2004
    Germany, EU
    Etienne's is a fantastic bassist with great groove. I love his playing (not only) on "To The One". His playing is showing the maturity commensurate with his age and life experience.
  20. billy ayers

    billy ayers

    Feb 1, 2009
    this is definitely one of the most intriguing and well-thought threads in a while.
    all comments about hadrien's and etienne's game-changing chops and polar-opposite ensemble roles have been articulated in smart, humane fashion.
    it seems to me that hadrien's playing is often so ferocious, so busting-at-the-seams, that he'd be best served right now as leader of his own band- perhaps with a support-bassist in tow...
    this would give him both the acres of room his ideas could thrive in, AND fine-tune them in a writing context- few things musically mature us more thoroughly than shouldering the mantle of band leader.

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