An overlooked Jaco legacy?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by dougjwray, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    You always hear about the harmonics, the knowledge of harmony, the stamina, the intonation, the sheer dexterity...
    But I was thinking about the variety of his attack and plucking hand placement. On his first album alone, he goes from staccato and thumpy ("Come On, Come Over") all the way to making the notes beautifully "ooze" out of the bass ("Continuum").
    Before him, the great players -- even Jamerson, Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke -- more or less put their plucking hand in one place and didn't vary the attack.
    It was just another eye-opening discovery for all of us who heard that first album when it was released. The electric bass could be played like a real instrument!
    Billyzoom, JRA, Lee Moses and 2 others like this.
  2. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    How was the electric bass not played like a ‘real instrument’ before? What does that even mean anyway?
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  3. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I guess what I meant was that there's a big range of expression required of classical string players-- composers can notate exactly what bowing technique they want, and even which *string* they want a passage played on (different timbres). Fender bass back in the day was more of a "folk" instrument, and a lot of people considered it sort of a toy. Jaco did for it what Segovia did for the guitar. My phrase was a little snarky, I admit. And all of this is just my opinion, of course.
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  4. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Folk instrument? Wha...? It might have taken about 10 years or so, but by the early 60’s, certainly by the time The Beatles arrived, it was established and taken seriously. I don’t need to do a rundown of the who’s who of innovative players previous to 1976, but they all made a variety of individual contributions toward leading the instrument away from I/V and boogie woogie upright lines, with a variety of techniques. Jaco’s style was singular, but was a combination of things already in play, although, yes, he put his personal spin on it. Just in my experience, that fast rhythmic staccato thing I had heard from Rocco; fretless had been established, maybe not in a pronounced manner, but I was already checking out what Alphonso was doing in Weather Report. Months before I heard Jaco, my mind was blown by Percy Jones, first on an Eno album, then Brand X came along. My introduction to Jaco was on Pat Metheny’s first album. I’m no Jaco hater, but he doesn’t walk on water for me either. He certainly was amazing, but he was a game changer only for some people, and created a style/sound that is reviled by others.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
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  5. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    OK, I don't want to see this discussion derailed because I seemingly insulted the Fender bass.
    My point was that when I first encountered him (and, apparently like you, I'd been playing for years before), I'd never heard such a RANGE of sounds and tones and types of attack from one SINGLE INDIVIDUAL. It made me, personally, want to approach it more the way a classical musician approaches an instrument, to satisfy the demands of composers-- really exploring and mastering every DIFFERENT sound the thing can make.
    Does that make more sense?
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  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    nothing to quibble about re: your post(s): i get what you mean and i agree with you! the cat was amazing! i'm appreciative of his influence and i have learned a lot about the instrument via his playing/recordings. (not to say others haven't informed my own playing even more.) i'd vote "i'm a fan" just because he was so damn good! :)

    re: "i seemingly insulted the fender bass" = it's easy to do! :laugh:
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