One Track Mind: Roberto Badoglio – "Inner Urge" (2010)

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by Pico

I find that much of jazz is taking someone else’s tune and make it into something new. The trick is to do so without casting off the thing (or things) that made it such a great tune to cover to begin with. But who can take Joe Henderson’s modal madness of “Inner Urge”, update it with modern touches that leave the compositional brilliance shining through?

Roberto Badoglio, for one, can.


Badoglio is a hotshot electric bassist from Trieste, Italy, and if you’re into the kind of bass fusion championed by Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller and Gary Willis, you can easily get all wooshie by Badoglio’s nimble but melodic five-string bass. But fortunately for those yearning for a little harmonic development to go with the technical dazzling, Badoglio put in the some work toward that end on several of his originals from his debut album, issued just last month.

Just 25 years old, Badoglio is already a seasoned prog rock and fusion bass player, performing as part of combos in locales as diverse as Boston, New York, Italy, Morroco and his current home base, Berlin. When a serious illness sidelined him for about a year, Badoglio began composing the songs that made up most of Re-Evaluation Time, that debut CD. But he left room for a couple of covers and the Joe Henderson classic was one of them.

“Inner Urge” was first recorded, by Henderson, toward the end of 1964. it’s been tackled many times since, even in a contemporary jazz setting, but this might be the first one by a contemporary bass player. This song typifies Henderson’s groundbreaking ability to build a harmonically complex song structure, cast it in bop language and layer an appealing melody over it all that fits like a glove. I’d imagine it’s a blast to improvise over if you can stay on top of the chord changes.

Roberto Badoglio, for one, can. Steve Hunt, a veteran keyboardist who’s played with fusion maestros like Allan Holdsworth, Stanley Clarke and Billy Cobham in the 80s, helped with the modern arrangement and adds his silky electric keyboards that softens the choppy terrain of the song. This version contains an original intro that works well to get the tune going on a funky groove right away. Badoglio states the head, followed by Hunt’s Moog-ish solo that shows his fusion mojo is intact. But Badoglio follows with lines bursting with lyrical notes at speeds that could scare John Patitucci. And even if speed isn’t your thing, his clear tone and rote free lines just might be.

Joe Henderson has been gone for about nine years, now, but his songs not only live on, they were written well enough to thrive in a variety of settings. And when put in the hands of a very capable young musician like Roberto Badoglio, a song like “Inner Urge” scorches.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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