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The Funk

Ray Brown

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I watched Jazz 625 on BBC Four earlier tonight and was absolutely blown away by The Oscar Peterson Trio, featuring the legendary Ray Brown on bass. I couldn't believe just how fluid and swinging they were and Ray Brown's playing was simply superb. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out on iplayer - you don't have to be into jazz to like it.

I feel a bit stupid now for having revered James Jamerson, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke and Jaco as revolutionaries. It's not that they weren't great or important players - Ray Brown was using the bass as a melodic instrument while holding down his rhythm section duties in so much more of a sophisticated way than any of them. I'm worried now about what I'm going to find if I start checking out other upright players like Scott LaFaro. Am I going to switch to upright and defect to jazz?

Can any of the jazzers explain to me why none of the big name jazz bassists today sound like they're influenced by Ray Brown? They all sound to me like widdly, gimmicky, watered down, common denominator musicians who aren't really funk, jazz, rock or R&B and who wish they were Jaco. And they all play behind the beat, like driving with the handbrake on. And so many of them double the horn lines on the heads unnecessarily, as if trying to prove that bassists aren't crap musicians by virtue of being able to play the same line as a horn player. I think jazz bassists (along with other jazz instrumentalists) today spend too much time thinking about harmony and not enough time thinking about contrapuntal melody lines.

Anyway, not sure how that ended up as a rant. So, who else here digs Ray Brown and what other stuff should I check out, either by him or by other jazz bassists?

EDIT: the iplayer link
[url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b008wdpn/Jazz_625_Oscar_Peterson"]http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b008w..._Oscar_Peterson[/url]

Edited by The Funk

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[quote name='The Funk' post='453821' date='Apr 4 2009, 02:25 AM']I watched Jazz 625 on BBC Four earlier tonight and was absolutely blown away by The Oscar Peterson Trio, featuring the legendary Ray Brown on bass. I couldn't believe just how fluid and swinging they were and Ray Brown's playing was simply superb. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out on iplayer - you don't have to be into jazz to like it.

I feel a bit stupid now for having revered James Jamerson, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke and Jaco as revolutionaries. It's not that they weren't great or important players - Ray Brown was using the bass as a melodic instrument while holding down his rhythm section duties in so much more of a sophisticated way than any of them. I'm worried now about what I'm going to find if I start checking out other upright players like Scott LaFaro. Am I going to switch to upright and defect to jazz?

Can any of the jazzers explain to me why none of the big name jazz bassists today sound like they're influenced by Ray Brown? They all sound to me like widdly, gimmicky, watered down, common denominator musicians who aren't really funk, jazz, rock or R&B and who wish they were Jaco. And they all play behind the beat, like driving with the handbrake on. And so many of them double the horn lines on the heads unnecessarily, as if trying to prove that bassists aren't crap musicians by virtue of being able to play the same line as a horn player. I think jazz bassists (along with other jazz instrumentalists) today spend too much time thinking about harmony and not enough time thinking about contrapuntal melody lines.

Anyway, not sure how that ended up as a rant. So, who else here digs Ray Brown and what other stuff should I check out, either by him or by other jazz bassists?[/quote]
I've also been watching the re-runs of Jazz 625 -- great stuff (have to say I remember the original showings - eek!!).
Ray Brown has always been a top notch player in my book, whoever he was/is playing with.
You might want to also check out Nils (Henning-Orsted) Pedersen, another of Oscar P.'s regulars and a brilliant string bassist (imho).
I wouldn't 'feel stupid' about revering the likes of Jamerson, Bruce, Clarke and Jaco; they have all contributed so much to bass in their own way too, even if it did spawn a wealth of clones as a result! Of course, Stan Clarke is no slouch on the upright too. :rolleyes:
I also watched another old fave of mine, the Modern Jazz Quartet. Bassist Percy Heath may not have been quite as 'flash' as the above-mentioned, but he does show just how to keep the bass solid and tight in a supporting role.

Incidentally, no prizes or anything, but I'll leave it to other BC-er's to say where the title for the programme 'Jazz 625' comes from.... :)

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Oops. There's already [url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=44750"]a thread on Ray Brown in the Double Bass forum[/url].

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[quote name='Stingray5' post='453834' date='Apr 4 2009, 03:12 AM']Incidentally, no prizes or anything, but I'll leave it to other BC-er's to say where the title for the programme 'Jazz 625' comes from.... :)[/quote]

Oh I know!! but I was watching back then too :rolleyes:

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It was thanks to The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and later Joe Pass & NHOP that I was drawn towards the darkside that is jazz :)

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Although I hate Jazz, I was watching this last night. I found the music truly terrible, but I couldn't help but marvel at the musicianship of those fellas. I even tuned back in at the end to see who the bass player was. Although its not my cup of tea, I thought he was infinitely better and more "musical" than every other Jazz bass palyer I've heard.

Respect due.

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[quote name='BigBeefChief' post='454090' date='Apr 4 2009, 02:07 PM']Although I hate Jazz, I was watching this last night. I found the music truly terrible, but I couldn't help but marvel at the musicianship of those fellas. I even tuned back in at the end to see who the bass player was. Although its not my cup of tea, I thought he was infinitely better and more "musical" than every other Jazz bass palyer I've heard.

Respect due.[/quote]
Turning to the darkside ? :)

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[url="http://wiki.basschat.co.uk/players:jimmy_blanton"]Jimmy Blanton[/url] started it all IMO. Before he came along bassists struggled to play four notes a bar.

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[quote name='Hamster' post='454088' date='Apr 4 2009, 02:03 PM']It was thanks to The Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown and later Joe Pass & NHOP that I was drawn towards the darkside that is jazz :)[/quote]
Reckon you'll remember Oscar Petersons TV chat show then...? :rolleyes:

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