1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

1st Jazz Bassist to play pizzicato instead of arco?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by ellexz, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. ellexz


    Feb 23, 2003
    Hi everyone! I am working on a research paper.. and can't seem to find this information. Who was the first jazz musician to play the bass plucking the strings (pizzicato) as opposed to using a bow? Thanks for the information... :help:
  2. quatre03


    Aug 20, 2004
    i think ppl were playing pizzicato before jazz came arround.... :meh:
  3. pentexlovesme


    Mar 28, 2004
    Maybe you should ask the guys over in the Double Bass section of the forums? They would probably know better than us slab-slobs...*Jelously eyes those pristine wooden beauties* :ninja:
  4. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm going to move this to the Double Bass side of the house. You'll probably get more hits there.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    It very well may have been this guy.

    But, like so many other things, this may be an event that has no "first", it's more than likely that many different players reached the same conclusion about how to best propel the harmony on this instrument.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Hehe...(that's my curmudgeonly old fart laugh)
  8. AZNBassist


    Jan 14, 2004
    umm...dude. you do kno that pizzacato isn't exactly an english word. You do know that its probably an italian word, just like forte and piano and all that other stuff. Now if its italian, do you think it came from america where jazz first started? Dude, bassists were plucking the strings probable a hundred years before jazz even started!

    BUt if your talking about slapping, then itd prob be Pops Foster
  9. ellexz


    Feb 23, 2003
    Yes, I know that pizzicato is not an English word, it's Italian. I'm a Music Education Graduate student, so...my assignment was to write a paper on "The Use of the Upright and Electric Bass in Jazz". I know that jazz bassists weren't the first to use pizzicato (plucking strings), the Europeans were, since string instruments were invented well back into the Classical Period. My Jazz professor wanted me to first find out who was the one who first popularized plucking the strings on an upright. So, if that is "Slapping", then I guess Pops Foster would be the one. Thanks everyone, for the info.
  10. Pops Foster was certainly one of the earliest basssists to play pizzicato in jazz, but Ed Fuqua is probably right that there was no `first'. There is a published autobiography about Pops Foster . I onced owned a copy but loaned it to a friend and no longer have it. You can find used copies at www.addall.com for abvout $30. Go to the used books page and put 'Pops Foster' in the keyword section. There's also a video about Chester Zardis, who is mentioned in one of the links Ed Fuqua gave.
  11. ellexz


    Feb 23, 2003
    Thank you! That was going to be my next question... readings about jazz bassists. I'm certainly glad that I asked here first, because when I went to the library to do a search, all I got were recordings and Bass method books. :) I have a 15 page term paper to do by the end of January... and I didn't know where to start. I appreciate the help so much! ;)
  12. I just got the details for the Chester Zardis video. It's called Chester Zardis: The Spirit of New Orleans. Includes Milt Hinton explaining slap bass. It was put out by Rhapsody films in 1993. Check out Chester and his buddies playing and eating gumbo. Great!
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Dude, You do know that ELLEXZ is not a dude, dude. Yeah, I know that dudes now call girls dudes sometimes, but, geez, that's just rude, dude. :meh: ;)
  14. Ditto! :spit:

  15. You need to secure a copy of John Goldsby's The Jazz Bass Book Technique and Tradition. It offers relatively short and very informative biographies of several of jazz' most significant bassists. It also covers the bassics of technique.

    Could be a valuable resource to someone in your position.
  16. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I've read Pops' book - which I highly recommend if you're doing a paper such as this - and he was very early in the developement of the jazz style, but there were a few other notables a little earlier on, as I recently read from this article I found through (all hail) Gollihur's site:


    It talks mostly about slap bass in recording, etc. but down toward the end it brings up pizz vs. bowing and some very early names in the evolution of this style. I doubt it was just one person who started playing pizz. It seems that it's like a lot of things in history, the "answer" just depends on who you ask.

  17. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    I've seen in this book in French (sorry) that it's actually the Cubans who, in the second part of the XIXth century, established pizz doublebass as a common way of musical accompaniment (in dazons and habaneras ?). I'll try to dig out the book to see if there are any useful references, but you could check on your own if you find any information that sustain this hypothesis.

    Also I've seen coblas, small band that play Sardanas, in which pizz style is used quite heavily. Again, most sardanas date from the second half of XIXth century...

    I don't think jazz invented pizz double bass, but it certainly popularized its use.
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    hmmm. There's a lot of bleed from the Hispanic diaspora Caribbean cultures into New Orleans, even Jelly Roll talks about using Afro Cuban rhythms (the "spanish tinge") in some of his pieces. That could be an interesting thread to pursue.

    But again, the contention is NOT that jazz bassists invented pizzicato technique. It does sound like ELLENDEXYZENERIS' prof wants her to start looking at when the switch from arco to pizz became the predominant technique for jazz bassists.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Tchaikovsky's Overture to the Nutcracker, has a nice, pizz, walking bass line!! ;)

    But then, 3 -stringed bass balalaikas, which were plucked, were around in Russia centuries earlier! :)
  20. M Paroo

    M Paroo

    Jan 2, 2004
    River City
    One place to start online at the CSULB library is with the list of resources pulled together by the librarians at: http://www.csulb.edu/library/subj/music/musicart.html

    I tried a search in RILM (a great index to the music journal literature) and there are some articles by Jeff Campbell that appear to be on your topic.