Jimmy Garrison

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Alan Vorse, Mar 7, 2007.


  1. Alan Vorse

    Alan Vorse

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    I have been working with a saxophonist who loves Coltrane and wants to do a number of his tunes. I've been listening to Coltrane for years, but this the first time I have focused on the bass playing in his music since I started playing DB 6 months ago.

    I really like Jimmy Garrison's playing. I think he has a distinct voice on the instrument. I'm wondering why the rest of the Classic Quartet are viewed as giants (and rightfully so) and Garrison is almost an after-thought. When the great jazz double bassists are mentioned, he either isn't discussed or not mentioned until after a long list of notables.

    So why is this? Is he not as great as I think? Am I too green of a DB player to be hear something that is or isn't in his playing?

    Interested in your thoughts on this.
  2. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    I really dig him too. I think in recent years he has started to receive more recognition.

    The reason his is not on the tip of peoples tongues when great bassist are mentioned is due in part to his role in that group in my opinion. Everybody else had such dense styles that his role was almost always in support. He doesn't have many solos on the studio recordings either. I just picked up the Trane:Live the Europe box set. He has some really great solos on there. A must own for a Coltrane fan.

    This all really boils down to why he is one of my favorites. He was in the 'eye of the storm'. He was the glue. For me he is the quintessential bass player. Huge tone, great time, groove, great supportive ideas.

    I need coffee.
  3. musicman5string

    musicman5string

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    To me the key to the classic Coltrane Quartet was Garrison. There's a reason why Trane replace Reggie Workman (who obviously was a great bassist). I think it has alot to do with Jimmy Garrison's feel; he played so earthy... unselfishly supporting the band, playing simple lines with a huge woody sound.
    In fact, while Jimmy Garrison may not be my all time favorite bassist, whenever the question of "Which bassist has the biggest sound?" comes up, I usually say Jimmy Garrison. He was like mother earth to Trane's stellar regions.
  4. TomSauter

    TomSauter

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    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    I think he's one of those players that's more popular with other instrumentalists than he is with bass players. I know tons of piano players/drummers/etc. that love him, but when the bass nerds get together his name doesn't come up too much. Like Fingers and Musicman said, he just had a huge sound, a great groove, and this sort of animalistic intensity. He was perfect for that band.

    On a side note, I've heard that he was Bill Evans' first choice for his trio but he ended up with Scaott Lafaro instead!
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  6. musicman5string

    musicman5string

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    Jan 17, 2006
    Yeah, Bill was working with Jimmy prior to Scott's joining.

    Also, apparently Jimmy studied with Mingus.
  7. damonsmith

    damonsmith

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    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    -I don't know what bass players you are talking to. Jimmy was amazing. Those Long solos he took were incredible. His technique was amazing.
    The best example of his playing has to be Archie Shepp's live at Donaueschingen on MPS.
    I have a pretty good Jimmy Garrison story that can't be posted here due to explicit content.
  8. neal davis

    neal davis

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    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    toronto canada
    +1 damon man I love jimmy, I think my favorite recording of him is Sonny Rollins East Brodway Rundown but that Archie one is great as well.
  9. ablumley

    ablumley

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    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    Montreal
    I recently picked up the "One Up One Down" record on Impulse--the live Coltrane Quartet recorded at the Half Note--and I would recommend that as far as Garrison's playing. For some reason, he's more audible in the mix than on a lot of the studio albums. I have found this record to be really helpful for illustrating certain techniques that sometimes get covered up on other records. And although he apparently quit Ornette's band, Garrison really lays it down on "Ornette On Tenor"
  10. TomSauter

    TomSauter

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    Kennesaw, GA
    I didn't say most bass players don't think he's great, just that he's not the most talked about guy. For example:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=129160
  11. damonsmith

    damonsmith

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    East Broadway Rundown is pretty amazing as well. He is so solid on that record.
  12. Alan Vorse

    Alan Vorse

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    Aug 20, 2005
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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Would you be willing to PM me on that?
  13. neal davis

    neal davis

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    Dec 29, 2006
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    toronto canada
    well this is the jimmy day, I just found an lp I've been looking at getting for a long time. Rolf and Joachim Kuhns album impressions of new york with Jimmy and Aldo Romano and man does Jimmy sound great, I think tonight I'm going to pull out all my lps with jimmy and have a good listen
  14. Alan Vorse

    Alan Vorse

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    Sounds like a plan to me!
  15. oliebrice

    oliebrice

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    Apr 7, 2003
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    London, UK
    I really love Jimmy Garrison's playing as well, with and without Coltrane, but I'm not sure I'd agree that Reggie Workman was any less suited to the Coltrane quartet. His playing on some of the village vanguard box set stuff is incredible, unbeleavable power and drive.
  16. onefourfive

    onefourfive

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    Also check out JG on Curtis Fuller's "Blues-ette"...solid bop date with some great walkin' -- and the bass is pretty high in the mix.
  17. damonsmith

    damonsmith

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    Houston, Tx
    I am huge Workman fan. IMO his more recent work like the new trio 3 is best. He was good in the Coltrane quartet, but Jimmy's amazing intonation (on gut with high action) and huge, simple playing really let Coltrane develop his ideas better.
  18. oliebrice

    oliebrice

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    London, UK
    I recently got his 1994 album 'Summit Conference', and was really excited to find it as several of my favourite musicians are on the album (RW, Andrew Hill, Sam Rivers, Julian Priester, Pheeroan akLaff), but on first few listens have been disapointed. The sound is a bit muddy and the playing not as inspired as I expected.

    But RW's playing on the Coltrane vanguard stuff is some of my favourite bass playing ever, as is Garrison's on the same recordings.

    Who is in Trio 3?
  19. oliebrice

    oliebrice

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    London, UK
    also, I think JG is pretty influential on bassists today. I've certainly seen him mentioned as an huge influence by Reid Anderson, Ben Street, Ben Allison and others.
  20. damonsmith

    damonsmith

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    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    -Oliver Lake and Andrew Cyrille. I always like Reggie's playing, his playing in Marilyn Crispell's 90s trios was was huge inspiration for me to
    Start playing double bass. I just agree with Coltrane that Jimmy was the better fit for the band's overall concept.
  21. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

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    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    Maui
    At the moment, JG is doing a perfectly admirable job of shaking my old plantation house... live at the Vanguard, "Impressions", on my satellite radio (volume; 30). Sounds pretty good to me! Just huge fat time, without fail.

    Listening to vintage music on Sirius radio every day is inevitably going to cost me some money, when I finally break down and buy some gut strings... but that's another thread....:rolleyes:

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