Anybody use Jamey Aebersold CDs for learning Bass?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by edt844, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    Does anyone use any of the Jamey Aebersold CDs to practice and learn Bass lines, progressions, etc? If so what's a good CD to start with. I'm not thinking of using the material initially for soloing and improvisation, but learning the bass lines and playing along.

    Ed T.
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not an easy answer. There's a lot of great stuff about the Aebersold series, but I wouldn't call them necessarily "instructional", I mean it's just a rhythm section playing tunes or exercise accompaniment. So, if you have some familiarity with walking bass concepts and have enough of an ear to cop root movement, then putting the CD on and not looking at the booklet that has the chart, then you can work on using your ear to hear your way through harmony. Because ultimately, THAT'S what you want to be able to do; not LEARN progressions, but be able to HEAR what's going on harmonically. Playing jazz isn't really about playing a part, the melody and harmony are a framework, a suggestion in a way, that you can hang your own internal conception on.
    I mean, imagine trying to learn another language. You have a recording that has people speaking the language, you have a book that has words and phrases in the language, but you don't have anything that tells you what any of those words MEAN. Do you think you'll be able to communicate in any meaningful way in that language?
    So the question is, how much background in this music do you have?
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    +1 for Ed. A good jazz bass teacher will have recordings of licks, lines, or solos, for you to transcribe. That's what I got from John Clayton and his emphasis on developing my ear matched what Ed wrote to the penny. Excellent advice at a great price, I should add!
  4. i think aebersold CDs are a good way to start transcribing bass lines. i know when i started out, i had a lot of difficulty hearing the lines guys were playing on records because of 1) the substandard recording quality on some of that stuff and 2) my general inexperience with hearing the bass in that particular context. with the aebersold CDs, you have some pretty heavy guys playing bass lines to accompany a soloist. sure, the soloist isn't present so it lacks that interactive dynamic. but it's still there within the rhythm section itself. i mean, if i'm not mistaken rufus reid has played on some of those records along with other great players and instructors. if you find it easier to pick the bass lines out of those CDs, go ahead. i think we all trust that those lines are just as informed by the tradition as any line leroy vinnegar or sam jones or paul chambers played.

    my experience has been that when you hear something you really dig, you should transcribe it. because that's your voice saying "this is what i like. this is something i want to incorporate into my playing because this is what i deem good, moving, powerful music."
  5. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    Ed. I was thinking about the possibility of using some of the Aebersold CDs to help build a background or foundation for bass playing. I am probably at the point where my mind is rejecting a self-study course is saying I really need a teacher.

    Thanks, your question, was an excellent answer.
    Ed T.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    So start listening to as much mainstream jazz with as many different bassists, to hear how the language sounds. There's a lot of discussion here about a myriad of ways to approach walking bass concept, scale practice, arpeggio practice, ear training, etc. that you can explore with a teacher.
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I kind of disagree, I don't like having conversations with people who only quote what other people say, and I don't like playing with musicians who play what somebody else played in another time and another place with different musicians.
    Transcribing is great, because it works on the core of what improvisation is -you hear something with enough clarity that you can play it on your instrument.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The funny thing about play along discs is that they are a sort of crutch. This isn't a bad thing for beginners (or for anyone, for that matter) as long as it is acknowledged to be the case. If you've ever had a child, you'll remember in the pre-toddler/early toddler stage they can only walk a few steps before falling down, so they move/stagger from one supporting stationary object to another. Play along recordings are kind of like this - like a handrail to help a beginner navigate a particular tune/set of changes, and can be an incredibly useful step in the process of learning to walk. At some point, though, for each tune or style or set of changes, there comes a point where the player has to let go of the rail if they ever want to walk or run in a real life playing situation.

    I don't generally use play along recordings these days except in teaching; that said, when learning a new set of changes, if I'm struggling with a passage I sometimes create a small loop-able recording of the passage I'm struggling with and practice with that until I feel I no longer need it. Good luck on your journey!
  9. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I think they work for certain things like really getting forms down. When I got into playing Jazz I lived in Oakland, Ca. and there were plenty of people to play with. If you live in a more remote place they can probably be a great thing.
    I learned the basics of the music with real people, which may or may not be preferable or possible.
  10. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    I think you are on to something. I remember when I learned the 12-bar blues progression and it opened up so much as far as hearing that the Bass was doing. So that is how people can jam. Probably on an unconscious level I'm looking to internalize Jazz forms. It's not that I plan to imitate all the Bass lines. I'm attempting to learn the foundation of what is expected of a Bass player in a group environment.

    Ed T.
  11. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    I failed to mention I'm back to being a beginner on Bass. So I'm at the phase of learning 4-note arpeggios in all keys. I need to learn the classic forms, like ii V I, Jazz blues 12-bar progressions. I am thinking months ahead, I hope, when I have a much better command of the fingerboard as far as 4-note chord arpeggios, playing thru progressions.

    I think I may be getting ahead of myself. I should seek out a teacher. The best I ever got playing an instrument is when I studied Classical guitar with a teacher and weekly lessons.

    Ed T.
  12. edt844


    Sep 9, 2010
    One reason I like the suggestion is that it is much easier to figure out a bass line I like, or any musical/melody line.

    I'm thinking as a person getting back to bass after a number of years so looking for what foundations or playing groups expect of a bassist - could be jazz, blues, backing a folk singer...

    Ed T.
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    FWIW, even after many, many hours of lessons with fine teachers, I grabbed a copy of Ed's book and found it quite useful for sparking some new ideas. Thanks, Ed. That said, I often throw on a play-along CD against which I try to develop new walking lines and/or solos. Maybe it is a crutch. :)
  14. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    One point not mentioned is the tracks are split so you can separate the bass from the piano/drums. I use Band In A Box a lot which is MIDI, Aebersolds are real musicians. I enjoy just listening to Aebersolds - great rhythm sections!
  15. It's a great starting point. I used to have a lot of fun transcribing lines from the Aebersold cds. Since it's a trio without a soloist the bass sound is very clear, and the bass channel can be separated through software or simply unplugging one of the connectors of a RCA cable.
  16. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Thoughts on Aebersold:

    Some of the tunes are real fast, like the first Bossa disc. Fast Jazz Bossas. They ended up doing a Jobim Bossa set years later for a more authentic feel.

    There are transcriptions for sale of different bassists lines on the play alongs, these are worth checking out

    I used the the rhythm section one ooh soo many decades ago. However, now I dont have any stereo or anything that allows for turning off of a channel, easily.

    I found these of great benefit not in learning BASS, but increasing ones musicality in soloing, playing heads, etc...iRealB and BIAB box were almost better, because you could turn off the bass track, do different feels, tempos, etc...
  17. dfp

    dfp Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Yes. you can buy books of Ron Carter's transcribed bass lines on the "All Bird" vol. 6, "Payin' Dues" vol. 15, and vol. 12 "Duke Ellington". Doing your own transcription is better, but it helps to have a foundation of material to jump start you.