When bassist Miles Mosley entered the studio to record his latest solo album Uprising, he wanted to create music that sounded like “you’re best friends with a giant”—grandiose and emotionally animated, yet relaxed and welcoming. Made with a collective of friends known as the West Coast Get Down, Uprising offers down-to-earth, shoe-leather funk written as an exercise in self-healing after a reflective period of Mosley’s life. But it’s performed as a celebration with his bandmates—an approach that Mosley adopted before he became known for his appearances on two of the decade’s definitive albums, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. In fact, it stretches far outside the jazz-fusion circle, to his stint playing bass on Chris Cornell’s 2007 solo album, Carry On.
The camaraderie and collective effort of the great Seattle bands Cornell came up with left a lasting impression on Mosley.
“When one got an opportunity—they got signed to a major label and had a hit—instead of them taking that and the fortune and fame of it and leaving everyone behind, they would advocate for those labels to go check out my friend’s band,” Mosley said during his recent performance at Paste Studio. “They shared this wealth and they shared this opportunity, which ended up putting an entire city on the map, instead of just one band. That really resonated with me because I grew up with all the guys in the West Coast Get Down. That was always a story that was in the back of my head of what would happen if you invest in your friends and invest in each other and in your community of artists. When one person gets a win, share it with the next.”
Mosley and his producer/drummer, Tony Austin, have a matchless musical conversation you can only dream of hearing in the best rhythm sections. Mosley’s chameleonic range is something to behold as he seamlessly switches among combinations of effects pedals and playing styles. Austin’s drum work is untouchable, playing breakneck fills while looking as casual as one would waiting in line at the store. Their music is more than just the benefits of being best friends with a giant —it’s the dividends of investing in an uncannily talented group of artists.
Watch the duo play two songs from Uprising (“Shadow of Doubt” and “Abraham”) as well as an improvised jam for Paste’s New York office below.