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Am I going crazy, or what?

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by uprightrob, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. Hey, Folks!
    I played a Jazz gig on Upright Bass a few weeks ago with a bunch of people who were less than professional (it was a paying gig for me).

    Then drummer showed up over an hour after start time (we played the first set without him). When he started playing, I realized we were better off without him - This guy soloed ALL THE TIME. I spent three sets trying to ignore the fact that he was sputtering like a microwave full of Orville Redenbacher's.

    I recently heard from the leader (I think she's been playing flute for 3 yrs), saying that the drummer (who wasn't keeping time at all) complained that my time was slipping. Believe me guys - I've been playing over 40 yrs with all kind of groups and even taught at The Drummers Collective - my time
    is very solid!!

    This is what she said:

    "The bass player, not the drummer, ought to be the principal time keeper in a jazz ensemble (although of course every player is responsible for keeping time, just as in classical chamber music). However, the drummer is there to add color, not to keep the beat."

    Just thought I'd share this with you. I always thought the drummer was the time keeper - you know, like high hat on the 2 and 4. Am I going crazy?!!!



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  2. Well, he obviously thought he was Sunny Murray.
  3. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Gig Rule Number One: The bandleader is always right.

    Gig Rule Number Two: Ya don't have to go back there.
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Mellifluous Ben-Kingsley-as-Ghandi voice: And people change. So the drummer you have trouble with today may turn out to be your first-call later if the situation is handled in an adult fashion as Ed shows.
  5. hey, if its her gig, she's entitled to call it any way she wants it. but I'd have been more impressed had she phrased it this way: "I'd prefer that the bass player, not the drummer, be the principal time keeper in tonight's gig"

    In my ideal ensemble, jazz or otherwise, everyone should be a timekeeper. I'd make the distinction between keeping the time and actually signalling it clearly, like 2,4 on the high hat or boom, boom, boom, boom 4/4 on the bass.

    In some styles, some of the greatest emsemble playing I've heard has nobody really playing the beat too obviously, but everybody playing around an underlying pulse in perfect synchronicity and sympathy. If everyone is locked into to the same pulse and implying it clearly in the way they play the time, a group can sound very tight despite that no one is really hitting many quarter or eighth notes square on the beat.

    But at other times, yes, the bass can bear the main burden of setting the pulse while the drummer works around it. Other times, obviously, this can be exactly opposite.

    Still, the basic point behind the original post in this thread is well taken. Regardless of whether either of the bassist or the drummer are playing the beat, per se, or just playing around the beat, if these two aren't in synch time-wise, the musical impact of the whole ensemble suffers greatly, and, as the bass player, it can be a long night.
  6. dblbassmike


    Apr 14, 2002
    Detroit, MI
    Great, the drummer blaming the bassist excuse! jeez. Well, I just think that it was probably a bad gig. I have had a few of these, where the group wasn't performing well together. Better giggin' next time!
  7. In my time playing I have found this to be true:

    A Band "any Band" is only as good as their Bass Player...BUT...a Bass Player is only as good as his/her Drummer.


    If the world didnt suck we would all fall off...

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