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bass chords on jazz standards (or: making a bass/sax duo more interesting)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by sleeplessknight, May 1, 2009.


  1. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    I know someone posted some YouTube links many moons ago to a guy who did them well, almost like a low, thuddy Joe Pass, but my Google-fu has failed me. Could anyone refresh my memory as to who this guy was? Also, if anyone could pass along their tips for making a jazz-standard sax/bass duo more harmonically interesting, that'd be awesome. I'm very comfortable with walking lines, etc, over jazz stuff, but there's always been some other instrument (guitar, keys, etc) helping out with the harmony and chords to support the soloist. I can't help but think that straight-up walking bass + sax might sound a little... hollow. Anyone else been in a similar situation?

    --Lee
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Maybe you're talking about Mike Dimin?

    Anyway, I very much disagree. If you're playing interesting involving lines and the saxophonist is playing interesting and engaging lines I GUARANTEE nobody is gonna be looking for somebody playing chords.

    Check this CD out or if you can find the CD on FRESH SOUNDS NEW TALENT called THE DUO, which was recorded live at Sweet Basil...
     
  3. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    For the record, I didn't see a problem with your original post.

    LeonD
     
  4. LeonD

    LeonD Supporting Member

    I'd put myself in that place. I find myself in duo situations a lot. I like to add chords to add interest and change the sound from playing single note lines all the time.

    I'm also beginning to work on solo chord melody type arrangements.

    I'd agree that Mike Dimin's book is a good place to start. And if you really get into it, he's close enough (eastern NY) that you could sign up for a couple of private lessons.

    I'd also look into chord construction, i.e. what specific notes are in a particular chord and out of those notes, which are the most important to play. And then different grips to play those chords.

    We're close enough where we could get together (if you want to check out Mike's book, compare notes on chordal playing or just plain jam).

    LeonD
     
  5. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Seconded. I'm familiar with Ed through a lot of his posts over on the DB side, and I personally am not impressed or cowed by his publishing credentials. His credentials as "Keith Jarrett attitude consultant" far overshadow his (admittedly significant) musical prowess. I am grateful for his distilled opinion on this matter, but the animus laced throughout greatly lessens the impact.

    Leon, I'd love to jam with you sometime brother, I'll definitely check out Todd's work (I saw some of his YouTube videos... damn!) and see what's up. As the cool kids say, 'holla' to a fellow Masshole bassist! ;)
     
  6. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    MA
    Check out Sonny Rollins, Night at the Village Vanguard: sax, drums, bass trio. Classic...
     
  7. funkifiedsoul

    funkifiedsoul Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    +1
     
  8. JonathanD

    JonathanD

    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I personally find that 2 note chords work out very well in these situations. I often use the 3rd to give the chords a definite voice. I have not been able to make 3 note chords sound good for me. I am a saxophonist and bassist. I have recently resorted to using a VB99 with Midi pickup which ads another layer to my sound. I find it to be incredibly helpful. Best of luck.

    Jonathan
     
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Check out the record "Atmos" with Jan Garbarek on Sax and Miroslav Vitous on bass for but one example of what's possible and I don't think Miroslav played chords on any of the selections but he doesn't have to cuz he's a badass.

    Playing chords behind the sax isn't going to necessarily make things more interesting, you and the sax player knowing the melody and the harmony will.
     
  10. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned SUSPENDED

    Dec 11, 1999
    Leon, Thanks for the kind words. Just to let you know I have a new book out, "The Art of Solo Bass" published by Mel Bay. More info here:

    http://www.melbay.com/product.asp?ProductID=20845BCD&mode=hotprev&next=RDR0263

    Mike
     
  11. HaVIC5

    HaVIC5

    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    If you play chords too much you just sound like a mediocre guitar player, not a bassist. It's a nice texture to add for novelty interest, but it can get old fast unless you have a massive chord vocabulary.
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    A more personal favorite is MOTION - Lee Konitz, Sonny Dallas and Elvin Jones...
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Spin (who has since deleted his posts), Leon et al - hold me in what little regard you care to, it's certainly no skin off my nose. And I'm absolutely fine with being disagreed with, just be able to back up your assertions with some experience. What I object to (as do most folks) is being spoken to like I'm an idiot. The reason I disagree with you is not because I need "education (in) a well rounded understanding of chordal structures (whether you are playing them on a bass as chords or breaking them down to individual components to the bass line)" and you might or might not know that. Hence the invitation to delve a little deeper. Not so you might be impressed (because whether or not you are or are not impressed doesn't actually change the way I sound) but so that if you indeed have a point you want to make to me you don't have to dumb it down.

    Or not, it's up to you. But if you have a position, why not hew to it? I don't think that's any harder than changing it and typing out a bunch of passive/aggressive chatter.
     
  14. HaVIC5

    HaVIC5

    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Um...yeah...what is up with all of this hate towards Ed? He knows what he's talking about, and has the experience and ability to back it up.
     
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
     
  16. What a damn cool clip. Thanks for sharing that!
     
  17. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Seconded, that rocked. Thank you!
     
  18. I don't mean to hijack this thread, but if somebody could PM me some great album names that the "Red Mitchell" guy in the clip played on, I'd be mega-thankful! :hyper:
     
  19. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Seattle
    Joe Pass & Red Mitchell - Finally: Live In Stockholm is one of my favorites. As for other recordings, just ask Google. He was EXTREMELY prolific, recording with Billie Holiday, Barney Kessel, all sorts of cats.
     
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You mean other than the two I mentioned in my first post? If you go to the DB side, there's about a 40 page thread called (something like) WASN'T RED A GREAT PLAYER that has just about every record he's on referenced; it's a nice resource. There are a number of folks posting on that side that knew Red personally...
     

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