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Bass not a Jazz instrument????

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hateater, Sep 9, 2003.


  1. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    So I am sitting in my internet class (I still am), and the girl next to me is talking about the school's jazz band. I told her that I would like to try out and she asked me what instrument I played. I told her I am a bassist and she says, "Well, I don't know- I think you would have a better chance of getting into the band if you played an actual jazz instrument".


    Of course, I totally disagree with her and I politley informed her that I think I would fit in just fine- but she is still standing her ground. Input?




    (LOL a college student who cant spell "Input")
     
  2. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It's spelt with an 'n' (input, that is ;) )...

    I think early jazz groups might sometimes have used a tuba to fulfill the bass role, but the acoustic bass became a mainstay pretty early on.

    There is a certain measure of prejudice against the use of electric bass in jazz but, certainly in the sense that jazz is a living, breathing and developing musical genre, that shouldn't be a problem. I guess it could be an issue if the teacher in charge of the group is trying to create a historical snapshot of a particular kind of jazz, but before you jump to conclusions, talk to them.

    If you really need to be able to play upright bass, they may be able to help with finding an instrument you can use (one of my few regrets from my school days is that I didn't spend more time using the acoustic bass that was hidden away in one of the cupboards). However, you've only got a problem if the teacher is prejudiced - I wouldn't worry too much about the apparently ill-researched opinions of 'some girl you sat next to' :)

    Wulf
     
  3. ONYX

    ONYX

    Apr 14, 2000
    Michigan
    I think she may have been refering to a trumpet or a sax or a trombone, etc. People seem to associate those instruments with jazz more so than the bass.

    Maybe you should take this opportunity to educate her on the finer points of the bass as a jazz instrument.....;)
     
  4. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I went to the school's website- and they have a bass player already! he is 35 and plays an upright- it looks as though I have some competition!
     
  5. Here is what I would do:

    DON'T get into a big argument and DON'T push the fact that you are right on this issue with her. Just tell her that you have some music that you want her to hear and then lend her Jaco's first album.

    Don't say ANYTHING else....let her find out the truth.

    And then DON'T say I told you so. Who knows how good of a friend she may be in the future?
     
  6. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I already was planning on burning her a copy of Heavy Weather... and as far as the friend thing- that is not going to happen. I have known her since grade school, and we just never got along.
     
  7. Ok then, you might just have to file her response under the heading of: "People who I don't get along with who like to yank my chain" and forget about it.
     
  8. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    probably...

    Do you think that the band could allow two bassists? I mean- they have around 10 people on sax...
     
  9. Ten saxes? Do they have people going in and out, or are there two jazz bands? The reason I ask is that five saxes (two altos, two tenors, one bari) is what's most often used.
     
  10. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It depends how they run it. Unless the current bassist is brilliant, available for every gig and likely to always be around for as long as you're there, there's a chance you might get some opportunity to play.

    However, to increase that chance, be as mature, skillful, knowledgeble and helpful as you can. Also, if you get asked to play a different instrument, don't turn your nose down at it. The guy who plays the triangle with a smile is going to be in the best position when there's a vacancy in the bass chair...

    ;)

    Wulf
     
  11. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I have never heard them or seen them in person- I have only seen pictures. I am sure that they are not all playing at once... but they have about 10 sax players.
     
  12. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    She's an idiot. Case closed.

    They might be willing to have two bassists - but you'd be sitting out some songs. It depends on the teacher - Latin and such might work better on electric, and straight-ahead jazz on upright. Again, it all depends on how they want to do it.

    If the guy is 35 he might well be a jazz vet who could play the tunes while asleep. If that's the case, don't be intimidated - learn what you can from him instead and use it.
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Two bassists at once, is a bit of a no-no - as two people playing slightly different chromatic walking lines sounds horrible!!

    But you could take turns - take a few choruses each - this even happens on records - like the one that Jon (Pacman) recommended to me- Oscar Peterson with Ray Brown and NHOP.
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Fender electric bass actually started out - or at least got its earliest and biggest publicity from Jazz.

    So -in 1952, Lionel Hampton who was a famous Jazz band leader at the time, decided that he wanted electric bass and got his bass player to use one of the first Fender Precisions.

    This was mentioned in all the music papers and was a big boost for the new instrument, which was the first mass-produced bass guitar.
     
  15. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Two basses at once worked pretty well on Ornette's _Free Jazz_ album with Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro. Some serious brain candy on that one. Granted, it was Free Jazz, and not "My Favorite Things." :D
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    And even less like a school Jazz big band!! ;)
     
  17. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    Bass IS Jazz!

    Even before I played bass when I was little, that's the main thing I noticed. Bass is what keeps Jazz flowing. Maybe not the electric as much, but the double bass for sure. I can't imagine jazz without those classic grooves going under all the horns and such.
     
  18. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Heh, yeah. But, I know I'd pay money to see that train wreck. :D
     
  19. An "actual jazz instrument"???? That says a lot about your friend. Try entering traditional jazz instrument bass in any search engine and I can almost guarantee you pages on end that will set her straight.
     
  20. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Thanks everyone for you input and your advice! I better get practicing...