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Seminal Bass Repertoire

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by DaveAceofBass, Feb 15, 2014.


  1. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Dear Bass community,

    I need your input.

    *This thread applies to both electric and upright bass. Please note I have also posted the same thread on the double bass side here:*
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f25/seminal-bass-repertoire-1055319/

    I'm currently working on a graduate school project for a class in 20th Century Music Literature. I am making a timeline of seminal repertoire for the bass from the late 1800s to present. These can be jazz or legit, upright or electric. The list should only reflect seminal works, as the subject is too vast to include every solo or bass recording.

    Obviously the list will include things like "Donna Lee" from Jaco Pastorius's solo album, and compositions played by Francois Rabbath, but it won't stop there.

    I'm looking for input from the bass community. What pieces do you consider to be the quintessential pieces for the bass repertoire that have been composed or performed in the last 150 years?
     
  2. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    I'm assuming you are referring to either bass-only or pieces of music that feature bass. I say this because, as an example, Dave Holland recorded a killer version of Mr. P.C., but is that now a seminal bass piece? For the purposes of this thread, I'll conclude that no, it is not.

    Then again, I'd argue that including Jaco's version of Donna Lee opens the flood gates for any piece ever played solo/lead on bass. So, there's some subjectivity going on here. Similarly, Jorma Katrama recorded a dizzyingly fantastic version of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, as well as a really smooth version of Saint-Saens The Swan, but I wouldn't consider those to be specific to the bass repertoire. You'll get Eccles, etc. elsewhere; so, with that in mind, my list is short:

    If Gary Karr played it and it is a composition for DB, then it's probably seminal. Some examples I have:

    Sergej Koussevitsky - Concerto for DB and Orchestra, op. 3
    Sergej Koussevitsky - Valse Miniature
    Domenico Dragonetti - Concerto in A Major for DB and Orchestra

    OK; we have to work Mingus in here somewhere, but he didn't really do much, if any, real solo material. How about we just call Let My Children Hear Music essential not only for bassists, but for every musician? No? How about The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady? No? Then II BS/Haitian Fight Song it is.

    How about Oscar Pettiford and My Little Cello and Blue Brothers? Maybe seminal.

    Rock and Roll is more difficult:

    Chris Squire - The Fish

    That is all...
     
  3. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

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    Right...I'm not looking for bass solos. What I'm looking for is pieces that have been written or recorded that feature the bass. Examples might be "Teen Town", or the compositions Chick Corea wrote for John Pattitucci recorded on the album "Heart of the Bass".
     
  4. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

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    For the purposes of this timeline I think I'm going to leave out Rock, only focus on jazz and classical.
     
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  6. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

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    Man...I'm really surprised this forum must not have anyone knowledgeable in the area of bass repertoire.
     
  7. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

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    Nov 17, 2010
    This forum is ~95% Rock/Blues, etc. I do believe I added something of value, no? Also, consider One Bass Hit (Dizzy and Ray Brown).
     
  8. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

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    Yes you did...I wish others did too. Thanks so much!
     
  9. uelliv

    uelliv Supporting Member

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    Aguilar Amps, DR strings
    There's also a great live recording of Don Byas and Slam Stewart doing I Got Rhythm and Indiana. It's just a duo and Slam is killin' it!
     
  10. uelliv

    uelliv Supporting Member

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    Tricotism by Oscar Pettiford is great too!
     
  11. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

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    Damn; forgot about that one!
     
  12. DaveAceofBass

    DaveAceofBass Supporting Member

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    That may be great, but it's not what I'm looking for. "I Got Rhythm" and "Indiana" are standards that weren't necessarily intended to feature bass, although there are many great versions with smoking bass solos. "Tricotism" is more along the correct lines. It's written by a bass player and features the bass in the melody, and was intended to be played on the bass.
     
  13. jazzcat_13

    jazzcat_13

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    Jimmy Blanton's recordings with Duke Ellington need to be there. If you want Mingus, try his bass work on Haitian Fight Song. Put this on the Double Bass side. You'll get a tone of resources.
     
  14. Camaro

    Camaro

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    How about Solo Bass guys like Manring?
     
  15. christoph h.

    christoph h.

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    I think that with "Donna Lee" from Jaco you're stretching your own rule regarding "jazz standards that weren't written for bass". I think it would be much more logical to include other stuff from Jaco, like the above-mentioned "Teen Town", "Portrait of Tracy", "Continuum", "A Remark You Made", etc...

    I'm not sure whether it fits your definition of "jazz", but Victor Wooten's solo stuff really became one of the modern "etudes" for modern slap & double-thumbing technique, for example "Classical Thump" or "You can't hold no groove".

    Marcus Miller of course also added a lot of classics to the bass-centered modern jazz/fusion repertoire.

    What about John Patitucci's version of the Bach Cello Suite - yes, it's a cello piece, but John certainly put it on the map as a bass piece and has inspired a LOT of bass players to play Bach.

    As someone said above - what about Michael Manring who opened up the world of solo bass with alternate tunings? What about the chordal solo arrangements by Jeff Berlin ("Tears in Heaven")

    As I'm writing this I begin to think that you should really come up with a more rigid set of rules as to what material qualifies...
     

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