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Aaron Saunders lays down a track

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Damon Rondeau, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Just like the thread title says, here we have Aaron Saunders contributing to the sampler page a chorus of Autumn Leaves for us all to check out.

    Attaway, Aaron!
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Thanks Damon.

    I feel silly as it's only one chorus, but I could really use the advice on my walking lines.
  3. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I like your triplet figures a lot, and the time feels solid too. In terms of how to structure your walking line, I think you have to confront the same issue that bassists are always battling against: how to outline the chords, but make them flow into each other at the same time. I feel like walking over an individual chord is fine for you, but there are still ways you could make your lines seem less like a bunch of separate units.

    I don't know how basic you want to get, but one thing to try is to play the root on the downbeat of each chord, and then use however many beats you have to make your way to the root of the next chord, and so on. Obviously this is simplistic, but it makes you think: how can I use these 4 beats to go from a C7 to an F7 seamlessly? Ideally, you end up always thinking a few chords ahead, instead of concentrating only on the one you are on.

    One other thing to consider is the way you approach the next chord. A lot of the time, it will sound the most natural and melodic if you move into a chord by playing a small interval. What I mean by that is approaching the root or whatever of the next chord by a half step or a whole step.

    Anyway, I think there's a lot of good stuff going on already. I'm not sure how long you've been playing, so I hope my comments didn't seem too simplistic. If so, disregard them!

    One last thing: Autumn Leaves has been recorded 152 trillion times. You could always transcribe a bunch of different bassists' lines and get ideas from the great players of the past.
  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    This is something I was working on specifically with my DB teacher tonight -- oddly enough, the first time we've worked on anything jazz, as I've been going to him for classical.

    Nah, your comments are all good. To be entirely honest, while I had hacked away at walking lines before, I never got anywhere near the concept of decency until I pushed into a jazz quartet three days before a gig, so I'm still kind of trying to keep my head above water here.
    I know what you're talking about on approaching chords by half-steps. Before we stopped lessons for the summer, my BG teacher showed me a lick he ripped from Ron Carter to go from a I chord to a IV chord -- R-3-5-b5 -- that to me always really makes *sense*. Also worked on doing this in blues changes/ii-V's tonight at my lesson, doing better with it.

    That's exactly why I used it, actually ;). I learned it with a combination of a spotty leadsheet and the Diana Krall version because it's the version that's closest to how I see the song (plus, it was for the quintet, and we have a singer) and I'm using a lot of (I assume) John Clayton's ideas. I'm not actually sure if he plays on that track, but he seems to be her default bassist.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, I forgot -- thanks! :)
  5. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York

    I think it would be easier to give you constructive criticism if you had a recording where you were actually playing with a group. This way, we could hear how you interact with other players and so forth. Maybe at your next jam with your friends, just set up a mini disc or something. It will also give everyone a better idea of your sound, i.e., your tone.

    As far as this recording goes, to me it sounds like your on the right track, as far as walking. But you go in and out of a half time feel kind of randomly. If you start in one or the other, you should commit to that and stick with it, at least through the larger sections. There's nothing wrong with playing the A sections in half time and swinging the bridge, too. On this tune, because of the form (AABC), sometimes I swing the bridge out, or just play the head all in half time.

    Remember, the listener should feel the form in your bass line. In a good bass line, IMO, there should be form present on a micro level (meaning the form is clear in each individual chorus, and each chorus can stand alone as a complete statement of that tune), and also on a macro level (meaning the entire bass line on the tune feels complete from beginning to end, even if it's a whole lotta choruses). I found this out by transcribing a lot of Milt Hinton lines. When he plays "Blue Skies," you can take one chorus of his walking and listen to it ALONE and be totally satisfied by the musical structure - it sounds complete. Then, if you play his entire bass line from "Blue Skies," from beginning to end, also ALONE, it too sounds like a full statement, with a beginning, middle, and end.

    Again, it's hard to judge from this recording, but I think you should think about your sound more. Your tone is the most important thing you have. A good sound separates the men from the boys. Maybe you should dig in a little more, but it's hard for me to tell. It does sound a little "polite" to me. ;)
    (Disregard this if it's the recording's fault...)

    But, you have a good concept, and a good time feel. You are definately on the right track, and from this and from reading your posts, it seems like your doing all the right things. Just keep transcribin' the greats and your lines can't help but get better.

    Hope this helps!
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I fully agree on the finding your sound thing -- believe me, that's not how my bass usually sounds. It was recorded direct from an Underwood pickup, full of "the nasty," which was then EQ'd all over the place. Shan't be too long before I also replace the Spiros with Dominants (October,) and soon after that a Revolution Solo pickup. Golden Bullet mic will hopefully follow in November for my birthday, and after I've saved up enough (hopefully around January,) an AI Contra, but by the time I get that mic, my *recorded tone* will be far more accurate of a representation.

    Tone-wise, what I'd love to have would be something like Paul Warburton's tone on his solo during "My One and Only Love," but I'm not exactly plucking a Bohmann ;). What I'm shooting for is something darker than what I'm getting now, acoustically. I'm using a 50's small 7/8 or large 3/4 Hofner strung up with Spiro Reds and it's definitely got that "Spiro" sound. I loved it at first, but I find myself progressively wanting something darker and more focused, which a stronger fundamental and less overtones -- hence the choice to put on Dominants :). I want to try the mic+pickup mixed setup for a while, and if I really like it, I'll probably sell the Golden Bullet and pick up an AMT before next summer.
    As far as digging in/polite (too soft?) goes, I was actually going pretty easy on it during that particular recording because I was trying to get a softer, less nasty sound and as such, was plucking WELL away from my usual position (near the end of the fingerboard -- that way, it's not too far if I need more volume so that I'll pluck right up in front of the end of the board) so as to get it less...nasty. I actually spent a few nights specifically on right hand plucking location -- doing this trick I heard of on TB...tape lines on the area where you get the best sound, and DO NOT go outside of those lines. Worked pretty well, solved my "rising right hand" issue pretty quick.*

    Any particular Milt albums I should look at (especially for "Blue Skies")? I just by happenstance picked up a Chet Baker compilation full of Red Mitchell, who I've been wanting to check out for a while but never knew of any albums he played on. For some reason, I've always put he and Milt into the same bag -- players I've heard of on TB a thousand times, and have heard recordings of people influenced by them (Paul for Red, you and Milt,) but never the players themselves.

    *Note: Don't shoot! Those were the only tape lines I've ever used!

    I'll see what I can do about recording our next practice. Might be a bit challenging, as none of us have an MD or access to one, but I'll figure something out.

    Thanks a bunch, Pete. You guys have no idea how much I appreciate this stuff.
  7. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    "Blue Skies" is from the album "Here Swings the Judge: Milt Hinton and Friends." The whole album is great and Milt's walking is top notch. Also check him out on the Branford Marsalis album "Trio Jeepy."

    Red Mitchell sounds great on "Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes." Also great bass lines and killing solos.
  8. Aaron, it sounds good. I am going to refrain from any real critique on this sample because it's just too short to really get an idea of what would help.
    I really appreciate the cool things you've said about my playing and my sound in particular. As you said yourself, you're not playing the Bohmann, and it certainly helps to have a good axe. But...I think you've nailed down a big part of the problem. My bass is a very dark bass, therefore, it can handle those long sustaining Thomastiks I use. (orchestra's)I also use the Underwood, mainly because of it's ability to cover all five strings. Again, you've answered another big part of your sound problem. The sound I get on 'My One and Only Love" was the result of many years of trying to get that sound and the biggest thing that helped was 'Don't use a direct on a DB' because you're not recording your bass, you're recording the PU. If you've heard the sound on the Dick Hindman Secret Garden cuts,( one of my other sampler cuts) you'll hear a totally different sound coming from the bass....they used a direct line from the PU. Ron Carter made that technique popular in the 80's To me, it makes the bass sound puffy.
    Aaron please do another sample as soon as possible using the stuff you've mentioned in your response to Pete.
    As everyone says, you're on your way. Pete's mention of the use of a two feel, at least on the first chorus of a tune is right on. This does have to be a total commitment to that two feel. You sound a bit hesitant about whether you want to do it or not.
    You are sounding good!
  9. Hello - wow I so rarely post on this side of the fence - but you guys are so civilised into...well, jazz - fantastic!

    Right, I know I'm digging myself a little hole here not being of the UB playing dispositon, but I just had the pleasure of getting taught on the Jamey Abersold summer school in London with great John Goldsby and the excellent Bob Sinicrope as tutors and the things they really pushed home was both tone and pulse - and I'm always working on these myself - but in all honesty I have yet to start working through ideas they demonstrated.

    What I would say in relation to this recording Aaron, as you've been so helpfully analytical of what I have done with Very Early etc - is to say that I think you've obviously got off the starting blocks with your note selection and your feel and time are pretty good - but just as one of the above tutors told me - he'd like to hear more 'depth' to my playing - and I think the same could be said of yours from the clip - only in that a strong, beating, pulse is what defines the likes of Ron Carter and Ray Brown - and hundreds of other pro-UB players - it's that driving heart to the band. Not that what you played is bad at all - it's good - but there's a certain gentleness that lacks a degree of spring and bounce. I thnk I've said enough but time is such a major issue for us bassists that nailing it is a huge part of creating exciting basslines - that's all I can say really - get your groove on bro! ;)

    I hope that is somehow helpful - I might be completely off target here but it's just friendly advice - that I should heed as well!
  10. +1 - excellent recommendations.

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Ha! We outnumbered you 4 to 1!! ;)

    So there were 4 TB members on the Jazz Summerschool at University of Glamorgan - I met up with Howard K and OlieBrice in the 1st week and there was another TB UK DB player who PM'd me about going the second week only.
  12. Cool man - as long as you had fun Brucie. There was a guy called Christian Miller who was playing bass on your course as well, he's actually a very accomplisjed quitarist and we have a quartet here in Londinum - but he's trying to get into playing bass as well - lovely guy - said he had fun too. The Abersold thing was great for me this year - I learnt so much and played loads as well - really got my fretless playing happening - I ended up playing for almost 7 hours one day...

  13. Aaron, where are you? What happened to you?
    I'm one of our worst 'off topic' offenders. But when I do it, I try my best to get things back to the original thread as possible....this thread is suffering from us not giving alot of attention to the original idea of giving some feedback to Aaron's sample.
    Aaron, where are you?
  14. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Sorry guys! I installed Baldur's Gate 2 on my computer and kind of disappeared into it for the last few days. I've barely been coming up for air/peeing purposes. I'll have you know my party is now loaded up with more artifacts than I can shake a stick at!

    Paul and Mike -- I really appreciate the comments. Paul, I'll have a sample up with the new equipment as soon as I can get it. The pickup replacement might actually come significantly sooner than I had hoped or expected, I found someone who wanted an Underwood here on TB. Unfortunately, the Dominants will have to wait to be put on until around October :(.
    By then, of course, I'll hopefully be a bit better and there might be something more to listen to as well ;).
  15. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    What is that, a video game...!?

    So the consensus is: New recording please... ;)
  16. Was this recorded before or after his switch to 5th tuning?
  17. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    Mike, I'm not sure. Maybe someone else here knows?
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  19. Ed's right. This was recorded when Red was tuning in 4ths with 2 guts (G & D) steel on the bottom.
  20. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Computer game, actually. :D And a darn good one. Gonna go play it now, actually! I'm sure I'll surface sometime around next Monday...