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Arco Solos in Jazz

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Who da Ville, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. No offense intended to any of the wonderful bassists on this board, but I really don't like bass solos very much. I'd guess that at least 85% of the recorded bass solos I've heard (IMHO) have little to say from a rhythmic or melodic standpoint, and leave me wishing it hadn't happened. (Yes, I know, there has been whole lot of worthless noodling recorded on all the other instruments too, but I'll leave that for another thread).

    My arco skills are quite rudimentary, but every now and then I hit a tone that really strikes me and makes me want to play melody lines. There is a long history in classical music of bowed double bass playing melodic lines, but I rarely hear it in Jazz music. The rare arco bass solos that I have heard seem (again) like noodling, played too fast with poor tone (usually buzzy, rather than powerful) and seem to have little to say with regards to the melody or feel of the song…in my mind, not really utilizing the tonal potential of this technique.

    I'm trying to (slowly) work toward a model of using pizz mostly for rhythm, and arco when I think I might have something to say about the melody. Since I started late in life, I may never get to this goal, but I plan to keep trying.

    I posted this thread in an attempt to get some of you to prove me wrong. Who knows of some good recorded arco jazz solos that can inspire and educate me?

    Any stories or insight to relate on how you may have used the bow to create a musical statement?

  2. mtto

    mtto Gold Supporting Member

    May 25, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    You need to listen to Michael Moore, Christian McBride, George Mraz, and Terry Plumeri.
  3. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    While he isn't a jazz player, as such, I think Renaud Garcia-Fons is pretty mind blowing.
  4. You also need to understand the sound gut makes as well as steel to judge the solos. The early Chambers and Slam Stewart are "buzzy" because they sound like bowed gut.
  5. Here is an example for you. Michael Moore's solo from about 4:10 to 6:04 is melodic and with very fine tone, methinks.

    Who da Ville likes this.
  6. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Someone mentioned Terry Plumeri and I`d like to underline that. His sound is beyond everything, it`s more like human voice or a wind instrument.
    Who da Ville likes this.
  7. Here is Christian really laying down some great jazz arco (he is playing like he has someone to impress!!). The solo is a great example but the obligato is really beautiful.
    They play after a short talk:
    Who da Ville likes this.
  8. Ross Kratter

    Ross Kratter Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    New York, NY
    Artist, RS Berkeley, La Bella Strings, Phil Jones Bass Amplification, Remic, 64 Audio
    John Clayton is an excellent arco player as well.
  9. Maestro Plumeri:
  10. cpaterso

    cpaterso Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    And Miroslav Vitous has done some marvellous arco solos. Off the top, I can't recall the specific tunes, but there are a few with the Chick Corea Trio. And Dave Young of Toronto has some good arco chops. And yes, Mr. McBride and George Mraz.
    dhm and Who da Ville like this.
  11. I was just going to mention Miroslav with Chick and Roy Haynes. The ECM 2 LP trio music has lots of great arco:
    dhm, Who da Ville and Ross Kratter like this.
  12. WOW!

    Thanks Guys! I knew they had to be out there; I just hadn't heard them.

    This gives me a lot of inspiration. The collective knowledge on this board really is amazing.
    Steve Boisen likes this.
  13. Silevesq


    Oct 2, 2010
    Anyone remember a video or song that Rufus Reid, plays with the bow?
    I remember seeing a video but can't find it.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I can't offer any advice, but maybe some encouragement. I've been working on arco soloing for a few years now. I don't know if it will solve your issues with bass soloing in general -- that's kind of a philosophical issue.

    What happened for me is that my kids started taking string lessons, and the modern approach is to encourage the parents to play along, so I figured that I needed to get my bowing back in business. Oddly enough, that led to first a new bow, then a new bass, and of course, I couldn't help wanting to try arco soloing, so I started doing it. Sp far nobody's told me to stop. ;)

    One thing I like about the bow is that it seems like I can get away with playing a lot fewer notes, which is particularly helpful at tempos where I really can't play 1/8 notes anyway, and it kind of forces me to think melodically, which could improve my soloing in the long run.
    hdiddy and Who da Ville like this.
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