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Good "Standard" Jazz electric bass players


jackotheclown
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I think this is one of the best examples of a song that swings that is played on electric bass albeit a fretless one. I think the whole tune has a lovely lilting swing feel and you can argue Willis isn't really playing a conventional walking line. Swing doesn't just come from the bass though, the drummer must also contribute and if the drummer is lacking the music won't swing regardless of how good a feel the bassist has got!

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8NCG9wDRLc"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8NCG9wDRLc[/url]

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Yes, I know this track and yes, it swings its tits off. I did say there are few exceptions and this is certainly one of them (I transcribed it once, IIRC). The drums make a massive contribution to the swing; beautifully delicate. Its absolutely delightful and Willis' solo is top drawer. Thanks for remnding me about this one.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, swing is to jazz as groove is to funk. This is my two bob's worth. Swing and groove are intangible things related to how a piece of music 'feels'. When the music swings it skips along sublimely, with everything in place the rhythm section is often gelling and interacting in an almost spiritual way. The same with groove, and I don't believe it has anything to do necessarily with the quality of the musicians. I have heard pro players who can't swing or groove and amateurs who are awesome.As I mentioned in my previous post I think the drummer always has a massive part to play. I also don't believe a particular instrument creates any better type of swing or groove than another. It depends on the player(s). I am damn sure Christian Mcbride can swing just as well on electric bass as upright. Bobby Vega can groove just as well on acoustic bass guitar as electric.

I think this clip captures some of the things I am trying to explain. Would it groove any better if it was played on upright or electric bass?

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mCKQzrlSyI&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mCKQzrlSyI&feature=related[/url]

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I think that ES track would groove a lot harder on double bass but there you are. In fact, that track, to me, illustrates the non-swingingness of the wrong timbre. As does this (which swings a little inspite of the bass sound):

[b][url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwOWOtW0kn8"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwOWOtW0kn8[/url][/b]

[b]Or this[/b]

[b][url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcEKAWZ1Nbk&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcEKAWZ1Nbk&feature=related[/url][/b]



Play that Gary Willils tune 10 beats per minute faster and it wouldn't swing like it does. :lol:

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Or compare these:

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzIQYJ0bjFA&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzIQYJ0bjFA&feature=related[/url]

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThtaxYc_x-s&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThtaxYc_x-s&feature=related[/url]

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[quote name='Bilbo' timestamp='1332100486' post='1583334']
I think that ES track would groove a lot harder on double bass but there you are. In fact, that track, to me, illustrates the non-swingingness of the wrong timbre. As does this (which swings a little inspite of the bass sound):





Play that Gary Willils tune 10 beats per minute faster and it wouldn't swing like it does. :lol:
[/quote]


That doesn't make sense. I don't believe I have ever heard anyone else play the tune faster or Willis for that matter. Until such a time it can't be ascertained whether it would swing at a faster tempo, you merely assume it wouldn't swing if played faster.

I can't really make a judgement or offer an opinion on the Buddy Rich clips as my laptop speakers are fairly poor. I bet the band wish the bass player had left the fretless at home though....jeez. Despite my love for Buddy Rich (as I am a drummer first and foremost) I think the version of Birdland is pretty awful. It doesn't translate that well to a big band to my ears.

As far as the tune 'Got a match' goes this version demonstrates the type of swing the Chic Corea version doesn't, or maybe isn't intended to. The bass player is Tom Kennedy by the way and strangely you may notice his upright bass is in the picture but not being played. Maybe it just didn't 'fit' the tune.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fDV6-m7V1M"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fDV6-m7V1M[/url]

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All of the examples sounded fine to me, except that Birdland thing, which was pretty terrible bass wise.
one O'clock Jump was played relatively slower by Basie, that's where the difference kicks in.


Still, to me, this whole 'bass doesnt swing it, and db does' just doesnt make any sense, as think, that it's the human-element that makes things different, not the instruments and their timbres.

Who's that guy on the bass on Got a Match - is that Tom Kennedy (sorry,I'm not too keen on him, but his bass reminds me of him)

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It's interesting that "timbre" has been mentioned as I was once discussing possibly buying an EUB with a well known double bassist who gave me a long lecture on how EUBs didn't have the right sound, etc, etc. He then went on with a beautiful looking double bass....with a huge magnetic pick up and preceded to sound like a fretless Precision all night!

I play electric bass in a local house band and, in about 9 years, have only had one or two "name" players be sniffy about it not being a double bass. Some have even conceded that they "don't usually play with electric players but that swung like hell". Sadly the jazz scene can be very conservative and often listens with its eyes rather than to the music.

For electric players who, in my opinion, swing convincingly - Bob Cranshaw, Charnett Moffett, Christian McBride, Gary Willis, Laurence Cottle, Steve Swallow, Jimmy Johnson, Skulli Sverinsson ( probably spelled wrong), Geoff Gascoine, Simon Little, Jaco, Mike Pope, Tom Kennedy, John Patittucci, Victor Wooten, Todd Johnson, Kevin Glasgow.

Yes, it's a different sound but doesn't mean it can't work. I am tempted to refuse to book guitarists who don't have a banjo, replace all saxes with clarinets and trumpets with cornets just to complete the sound!

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There are two arguments going on here, the one about eb vs db and swing and the other about what is tradition and what is not. The latter debate is insulting as this is not about what is 'correct' for jazz. The former discussion is academic. I am of the opinion that db swings 'better' or 'more' or 'more convincingly' that electric most of the time, not all of it (although I certainly have never heard an electric swing better than a db!!). No mention was made of 'tradition'. When I buy a cd with tunes on db and tunes on electric (say a Mike Stern cd), the db tunes swing better, to my ears. I find, increasingly, that my ipod/downloads no longer feature electric players; not because I hate electric players but because the music that I like tends to feature db (I rarely download 'classic' jazz cds older than a few years because I have so much of that stuff and am looking for interesting new stuff). The eb in jazz (in the broadest terms), for me, has become a precursor for superficial histrionics and rarely (not never!!) produces a satisfactory effect.

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Well, there was a discussion on getting jazz gigs when you play db and when you're not - I see as much justice in this, as I see in sax player not doing clarinet, and that's what I'm gonna tell him, next time I'm asked why I don't do double bass. (I get this question from sax/trumpet players all the time)

Edited by Faithless
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My point is that those trumpet players and sax players may be full of s*** but they may also have a legitimate aesthetic preference. The eb is a different instrument. Take away the value based idea of better and worse and you are still left with different. If an MD wants a db, then he has a legitimate preference and should make sure he follows his vision (for the record, sometimes a piece is written with an individual PLAYER in mind and the argument is not about whether a DB is the right instrument but which DB player is the right individual for the piece). Whether the db player he books can or cannot also play eb is irrelevant, just as a clarinet player booked for a gig may or may not also play sax. Some are booked because they double whilst, in some cases, the fact that they double is of no concern to the MD. I know some great drummers I will only book as a last resort because they are 'fusion' drummers not 'jazz' drummers. Punters may or may not recognise the difference but to me its chalk and cheese. Same with bass. And if I was asked to recommend a player for a jazz ensemble, I would always recommend a DB.

Another great example I can't post here is Al DiMeola's work. If you listen to a cd like Casino (Anthony Jackson on eb) and then listen to his album Soaring Through a Dream (Chip Jackson (no relation) on db), you will hear the difference in overall ensemble sound and the role of the bass within that. The difference is massive. AJ is by far the more technically advanced player but CJ plays the gig to perfection. The decision to feature DB is entirely musical. Pat Metheny is another interesting arranger; it is interesting to see where Steve Rodby uses eb over db throughout the Metheny canon.

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Well the OP was asking about good swing, playing the standards on EB.
Monk M did just that, played with many top Jazzers on Electric in the late 50's and through the 60's.
His 70's stuff was more Funk/fusion, which i was not that keen on.
He was a solid Swing Bassist, no raking triplets and sixteen kicks every other bar - just straight down the middle.

Some folk just swing regardless of it being Electric or Upright, Monk was one of them.
Other's can stand in front of a fake book all day & everyday until the cows come home.
Buckets of sh*te, a sea of Mars bars come to mind :(

Garry

Edited by lowdown
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I will happily concede that there is definitely some music which favours either the DB or EB. However in my personal opinion it has nothing to do with swing. From Bilbo's perspective I feel it is more about what he prefers and how the bass sound and feel 'sits' in a particular piece of music. (Bilbo please feel free to correct me if I'm off the mark)

Having seen the Neil Cowley Trio this week I realised that the gig had to be done on DB, even though some of the tunes are quite loud as far as jazz goes. The instrument fits with the group. The bassist Rex Horan is also a great electric player as well by the way; however the sound would not suit the band even though at times it may well be more audible.

On the point of Steve Rodby he played more DB latterly with the PMG, both on recordings and live. When he first joined the group around the time of the release of the album First Circle he would have been required to play more electric bass,as nearly all the previous PMG albums had featured either Jaco or Mark Egan on EB. As the band's material changed he gravitated towards DB. It could have been as a direct result of what was required by the composer of the music or what the state of mind of the composer or the player was at the time of the recording. Maybe a mellowing of Mr. Rodby's playing style led him towards the double bass on the later projects. Awesome player and some amazing music, I hope they do another PMG album at some point.

Edited by M-N-Y
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[quote name='Doddy' timestamp='1331649302' post='1576529']
The key word in the last few posts for me,has been timbre. Like I said earlier,it's not that you
can't swing on the electric bass...it's more that because of the physical properties of the Double
Bass,the notes have a completely different envelope to them than the electric bass and people
often mistake this for 'swing'.
[/quote]

im with doddy on this one - my take on swing is that while its nice to have the timbre/envelope of an upright/fretless (or even an ahbory or U) the main essence of swing is surely timing?

you can have a great tone like any of the best swing players but if your timing isnt there then ... 'it dont mean a thing!' :rolleyes:

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I was gigging last night with a function band that mainly does rat pack type stuff with 5 horns and rhythm section, the last set however is pop/disco/motown stuff so I'll switch to eb. Last night during the last set someone requested mack the knife so I played it on eb and obviously the timbre doesn't sit so well but for me it didn't sit so well time wise. There seems to be something about the right hand that lends itself to walking bass. the ub players that I think really swing tend to be guys that really whack the strings
It's very hard to define swing , when you hear Ray Brown playing crotchets on his own they are presumably metronomic in the sense the notes are placed in the same place in relation to each beat but not metronomic in that they are ahead of the perceived beat. Can a bass player playing on his own play ahead of the beat when there is no time stated by anyone else, I'm inclined to think they can but I'm becoming increasingly confused the more I think about this

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