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All Blues - closed or 1st position?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Scot, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Just wondering if you guys play the bassline on All Blues in closed or first position. Or both. Or neither. I saw a Miles video a long time ago and Dave Holland was playing All Blues. I kind of remember him playing it in 1st but I wasn't playing double bass then so my memory could be foggy. It's easier for me to play it in closed but I'm forcing myself to play it in 1st as well to work on that stretch between the 1st and 2nd left hand fingers.

    And while we're on the subject of All Blues - do you guys play the sig bassline on all of the solos as well as the head like PC does on Kind Of Blue or do you walk in "3" for the solos?

    One last thing about All Blues and then I'll shut up. The Real Book says that the chord on bars 9-12 is C7 but PC plays the same "G" bassline that he plays on bars 1-8. Is the chord really G minor? A G dorian kind of thing? Do you guys play the same G line over those bars like PC or do you move the line up a 4th?

  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The concept of the tune was to play a 'modal' blues. No one seems to play it that way, including me. I usually move the bass line up a 4th for bars 5 and 6 (if you're counting in 6/8). I tend to play it in 1/2 position if in G. After that it depends on what is happening as to whether I stay with the bass line (or some variation) or walk.
  3. I've been playing it up an octave from where you guys are talking about, using the open G as the lowest note of the riff.

    I'll occasionally stay on the G for the 5th bar, but I usually get shot a look by the horn players. After the head I usually walk quarter notes, but if there's something more interesting that comes up, I'll go with it.
  4. lcook


    Mar 20, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I tend to play it in first because it puts my second finger on the F, and for me, the line sounds a lot stronger when my strongest fingers are playing it. You're right, the tune is a modal blues, and bars 5 and 6 are Gmi (Dorian specifically), which is from the same scale as C7 (Mixolydian).

    I usually start solos with the traditional bass line, mostly cause it helps (forces?) the soloists to start simply, then when they want to build intensity, I can go to a walking line.

    Check out Brian Bromberg's solo bass version on Wood for some more cool things to do with this tune

    And if the horn players give you dirty looks for playing the tune the way it was intended to be played.......keep on chuggin, and tell them later that they should really check out that one Miles CD.......

  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I guess I'm the exception. I stay on the 1 during bars 5&6 most of the time. Solos, I usually switch to blues changes.

    I used to jump into the walking in 6 during solos pretty quickly...kinda kneejerk reaction. Now I hold off longer and play fewer notes. As I get older, I enjoy the foreplay more.

    But not every time.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Is this a stylistic decision, or does it just take you longer to get your walk on than it used to? Not that there's anything wrong with that...

    But to answer the question, 1st position feels more comfortable to my hand.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    It's a stylistic decision. I'm just trying to edit out the nonessential stuff most of the time.

    I sort of got caught up in that early Pattitucci approach awhile back, the kind of hyperactive electric sensibility on DB (to the point where one studio engineer started calling me "Marcus Pattitucci" :rolleyes: ). Then I started realizing how much I love Ray Brown, and Mingus, and Charlie Haden, etc, and realized that I didn't have to burn the barn down every single time I played the bass. I still enjoy trading uptempo fours with the pianist, but I'm more focused now, I hope, on listening and carrying out the job at hand.
  8. The figure is playable in both half and first. As originally recorded, the figure was maintained rgerdless of the chord change, and was played throughout the solos. If the group is doing it that way, switching between half and first will keep the muscles from locking up.
    Nobody ever went to jail for changing the figure. Do what you want.
    Tradition should not come at the expense of musicality. Honor the music with substance, not form alone.
  9. Play it how you want.
    Isn't that what jazz is all about?

    I used to get "looks" for messing with the tune on So What. (probably because I had only ever heard it once or twice and never heard the Miles version (original?)) The only person who thought it really mattered was the horn player at the time! The guy on piano thought is was hilarious

    I have heard so much rubbish going round about how things should be played. "Don't mess with this" "This one should be played at 110bpm" etc
    Come on?!

    And another thing. Many people I have played with at "jazz" gigs seriously believe pop & rock music to be inferior!!!!!!

  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    And vice versa. So who cares what people think about the relative merits of any genre of music?
  11. I would play the figure up an octave once in a while until one time when I was working with Milt Jackson and he turned around and said "DOWNSTAIRS" while gesturing "down" with his mallets.
    I've always played it "downstairs" after that!
  12. Off topic, but I heard an anecdote about a local bass player who was backing a famous leader, might've been Stitt.

    As they were playing, the saxophonist kept on signalling to the bass player by pointing his index finger straight up. The bassist tried playing louder, higher, more on top of the beat, busier, nothing seemed to please the leader. At the end of the set, the bass player asked him what he wanted. Higher? Louder?

    "No," he replied. "Better."
  13. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Maybe he was trying to tell him the tunes in "G".
  14. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    That's a great story. I bet that was swinging heaven playing with Milt.

  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002

    Look at you...always throwing names around ;-)

    I play it in first, sometimes I walk sometimes I lock in on that figure -just depends on what's happening in the band at the time.
  16. Yessiree Scot. And Z, you're right about me dropping names. I'm more than proud to have been associated with players of the calibre of Bags.
    I counted 'em up one time...more than 80! You betcher ass i'll drop thier names any chance I get! They're mostly gone now.....
  17. BassGuyNL


    Jul 20, 2000
    The Netherlands
    About the changes versus sig bassline: I usually stick to the sig bassline in G over the C7 during the head (the piano player's chords are enough to give the impression that the chord has changed), then walk in 3 during solos, while moving to C over the C7 to make it more clear to the listener that we're playing a blues...
  18. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    I also play it in 1st position, but we play it in 4/4 like the Crusaders and it is more of a "Swunk" feel and I change to a groove pattern after the head. I too stay on the G7 chord instead ot the C7 most of the time I think.
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    "Swunk"! Is that the opposite of "Fing"?
  20. That's as good a way as any to honor the original and then allow for self expression. It's like doing the intro to "A Train."

    I've had fun playing it in 11, i.e., alternating bars of 6/4 and 5/4