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Al Krow

100 great bass players

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Posted (edited)

They wouldn't be in my top 10 (only Carol Kaye would feature at that very top end), but I'd certainly be cool with bumping a couple of the others further down the list to make way for this pair 😉

Edited by Al Krow
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7 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

They wouldn't be in my top 10 (only Carol Kaye would feature at that very top end), but I'd certainly be cool with bumping a couple of the others further down the list to make way for this pair 😉

I know that it's all subjective, but you genuinely can make a good case for everyone on that list (in terms of influence). If you include Tina Weymouth or someone relatively obscure like Kinga Glyk, then you are going to be accused of tokenism and you really don't want to go down that route. 

I suppose you could include Tal Wilkenfeld at a push. But good as she is, should she really be included in the top 100?

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Posted (edited)

Agreed - not a fan of tokenism.

But it's a little shocking what a disparity there is in the number of top male and female pop and rock (and jazz?) instrumentalists generally, not just on bass. It's not like the ladies aren't into pop and rock music! 

Obviously the same doesn't apply to vocalists where it's gotta be much closer to 50:50.

And completely different again in the classical music realm where there are a ton of great musicians from both sexes.

Edited by Al Krow

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, peteb said:

Top 100 ever??

Tina would make my personal top 10. 🤷‍♂️

Edited by 40hz

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25 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Agreed - not a fan of tokenism.

But it's a little shocking what a disparity there is in the number of top male and female pop and rock (and jazz?) instrumentalists generally, not just on bass. It's not like the ladies aren't into pop and rock music! 

Obviously the same doesn't apply to vocalists where it's gotta be much closer to 50:50.

And completely different again in the classical music realm where there are ton of great musicians from both sexes.

The thing is that there has always been a bit of a prevailing macho culture in musicians’ circles, which you could argue goes way back to medieval times. This is evident throughout 20th century popular music, from jazz to blues to the various forms of rock and roll. Even in classical music, there may be more females playing in orchestras but it’s certainly nowhere near 50:50

Of course, the occasional girl does come through. I can think of a few females playing successfully on the local circuit (generally bass players for some reason), but they are all happy to be ‘one of the boys’. Of course, not all girls are comfortable in that sort of culture.

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Very subjective but I would have had Nate Watts, Stuart Zender, John Myung and Janek Gwizdala on the list

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Posted (edited)

Ron Carter No 1, end of...

and Bobby Vega at 92? This list is a subjective joke!

Edited by skidder652003
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The list had lots of technically superb players of selective appeal but omitted lots of bassists whose playing has communicated to the masses. Is greatness playing lots of notes gracefully and with sublime skill or is it playing something which resonates in the hearts of millions all over the world?

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Posted (edited)
On 29/04/2020 at 07:29, Doctor J said:

The list had lots of technically superb players of selective appeal but omitted lots of bassists whose playing has communicated to the masses. Is greatness playing lots of notes gracefully and with sublime skill or is it playing something which resonates in the hearts of millions all over the world?

The latter most definitely. As I've said before and I'll say it again, non-musicians generally don't give a monkeys left t1t about how technically proficient the musicians are on the songs they like. As for female bassists being under-represented in that list , the bottom line is other than Carol Kaye, very few have played on widely acclaimed or million selling singles or albums that would expose their skills to a bigger audience. 

 

Edited by Barking Spiders
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4 hours ago, Doctor J said:

The list had lots of technically superb players of selective appeal but omitted lots of bassists whose playing has communicated to the masses. Is greatness playing lots of notes gracefully and with sublime skill or is it playing something which resonates in the hearts of millions all over the world?

I’m afraid that I don’t agree. I would say that the list has pretty much included all of the musicians from the past last 60 years or so who have had the greatest influence on modern bass playing. Just look at the top three:

No.1 James Jamerson – a highly skilled session player who isn’t a household name but played on a significant number of the most listened pop records of all time.

No.2 Jaco – a virtuoso, who like Jamerson, isn’t exactly a household name but who is probably the biggest influence (along with Jamerson) on modern bass playing.

No.3 Paul McCartney – certainly not a virtuoso like Jaco or JJ, but a great musician who has touched more people’s lives with his music than anybody and who is as famous as it is possible to be.

These three archetypes are replicated throughout the rest of the list, but among multiple genres. Remember that it is looking at the ‘greatest’ bass players, not who is your favourite musician who happens to have a bass strapped around their neck… 

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1 hour ago, peteb said:

Remember that it is looking at the ‘greatest’ bass players, not who is your favourite musician who happens to have a bass strapped around their neck… 


Yep, and that was my point. Is greatness technical accomplishment to a specialised audience or someone whose music and playing resonated worldwide? I feel they couldn’t decide and their list is deeply uneven as a result. There are players in the list who even a lot of bassists will never have heard, never mind the public. Is greatness having the milkman whistle your bassline or some jazz dudes snapping their fingers in appreciation? At what point does technical virtuosity overcome the gift to communicate with non-musicians? The list doesn’t come close to clarifying this and just comes across as a mess as a result 🙂

Don’t worry, I didn’t for one second, expect to find Tony Choy or Sean Malone or Doug Keyser or Dan Berglund or Colin Hodgkinson in there. I do understand the difference between my personal favourites and bass greatness, thanks for checking 😉

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Speaking of male/female musicians and "greatest" anything reminds me of this quote from "This Is Your Brain On Music" -Daniel J. Levitan (highly recommended, was a musician, engineer, and record producer before becoming a NUEROSCIENTIST) "If there are 12 named notes within an octave, why are there only 7 letters? After centuries of being forced to use the back entrance to the castle and eat with the servants, this may just be an invention by musicians to make nonmusicians feel inadequate."

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Ranking the 100 Best bass players is as credible as ranking the 100 Best colours. 

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1 hour ago, Drax said:

Ranking the 100 Best bass players is as credible as ranking the 100 Best colours. 

#1 teal

#2 vermilion

#3 forest green...

...#98 black

#99 turquoise

#100 ecru

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21 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

#1 teal

#2 vermilion

#3 forest green...

...#98 black

#99 turquoise

#100 ecru

I mean, Teal is great but it's no Laguna Seca. And Black at 98 - seriously? 

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2 hours ago, Drax said:

Ranking the 100 Best bass players is as credible as ranking the 100 Best colours. 

Putting their actual ranking within the list aside, which of course is going to be quite subjective, is it not the case that these are collectively 100 of the best bass players of all time either in terms of musicianship, creativity or the influence they have had on other bass players? That, for me, then becomes a much more credible and useful list.

The challenge is to think of any others who should have been included in a list of 'the Top 100' and who to take off to make way for them. I'm sensing from our collective comments that there are perhaps only another 20 or so who should have found their way onto the list in place of some of the others on there? If that's correct, then it's actually a really handy list of a bunch of great bass players a number of whom I've not previously come across and are definitely worth me checking out further.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Putting their actual ranking within the list aside, which of course is going to be quite subjective, is it not the case that these are collectively 100 of the best bass players of all time either in terms of musicianship, creativity or the influence they have had on other bass players? 

It's just the author's pick of 100 at that time. 

BC is a great resource for discovering new bassists and I guess if lists like this help unearth some new players you wouldn’t otherwise have discovered, they’re not all bad. 

Would be impossible to say X bassist should be on the list, with Y excluded though. 

Edited by Drax

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Clickbait. Like the endless “8 cool ways to thread a fishing rod” crap that seems to clog up every form of digital media. There are no 100 greatest or 1,000 greatest as it is subjective and art isn’t a competition. If you said 100 top bassists by number of records sold that they played on then it would be technically possible but equally meaningless.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah but if you follow that logic to its conclusion then everything is equally valid and equally crap and no point in asking anyone about anything: it'll be just their opinion at the end of the day and therefore "meaningless." 

Whereas I suspect a few of us do find the views and opinions shared by folk at bassplayer magazine (and similar outfits) worth checking out. 

If folk don't find it interesting, useful or helpful they should defo avoid. I've never clicked on any of the endless “8 cool ways to thread a fishing rod” posts in my life and I don't suppose I ever will. Just sayin' 😉

Edited by Al Krow
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Drax said:

I mean, Teal is great but it's no Laguna Seca. And Black at 98 - seriously? 

Controversial I know but hey I'm a rock n'roll kinda guy who kicks against the establishment.

btw as a non-angler I never knew there were even two ways to thread a fishing rod let alone 8!

Edited by Barking Spiders

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3 hours ago, FDC484950 said:

Clickbait. Like the endless “8 cool ways to thread a fishing rod” crap that seems to clog up every form of digital media. There are no 100 greatest or 1,000 greatest as it is subjective and art isn’t a competition. If you said 100 top bassists by number of records sold that they played on then it would be technically possible but equally meaningless.

8 cool ways to thread a fishing rod, WHERE?!

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4 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Yeah but if you follow that logic to its conclusion then everything is equally valid and equally crap and no point in asking anyone about anything: it'll be just their opinion at the end of the day and therefore "meaningless." 

Whereas I suspect a few of us do find the views and opinions shared by folk at bassplayer magazine (and similar outfits) worth checking out. 

If folk don't find it interesting, useful or helpful they should defo avoid. I've never clicked on any of the endless “8 cool ways to thread a fishing rod” posts in my life and I don't suppose I ever will. Just sayin' 😉

No problem sharing a list of “great” players (which is different for different people) but greatest really is pointless without some kind of context - best technically, or most famous to random strangers, or most admired by other bass players etc? Even then, it’s all subjective - and this isn’t the first thread on this kind of topic.
 

I’m not showing disinterest in this thread - but to put the viewpoint that 100 greatest is lazy journalism (Channel 5 filler anyone), how about 100 great bass players you may never have heard of before (ie non mainstream in terms of popularity, record sales or published influence)? There are loads of fabulous players out there that never make it into publications. This would spark a healthy debate, people might discover new players or music without endless squabbling about who should be in the top ten :)

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2 minutes ago, FDC484950 said:

how about 100 great bass players you may never have heard of before (i.e. non mainstream in terms of popularity, record sales or published influence)? 

That would be a really cool thread...over to you on that one! 

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