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Billy Sheehan (EB) Playing a Jazz Standard

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by tfer, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Rock bassist Billy Sheehan playing bass in a jazz trio with Clint Strong and Mike Gage on the standard “My Favourite Things”.

    We on the EB side are curious about your impressions.

  2. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Sheehan's tone doesn't work for me on this track; playing is okay although it's too tense for this arrangement (IMHO).
    tfer and jallenbass like this.
  3. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I’m more accustomed to hearing this song played with a much more relaxed, mid tempo feel.

    Although I like this version, I’d like to have seen him play a relaxed two feel underneath the guitar solo. Open up the dynamics.
    GrapeBass likes this.
  4. jdthebassman

    jdthebassman play to live live to play Supporting Member

    he does not have a feel for jazz real stiff.
    okcrum, GrapeBass and tfer like this.
  5. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I think that almost 50 years of 4 on the floor rock has betrayed him here.

    I did enjoy hearing his take on playing a standard without a walking line, and he played some tensions underneath the solos that were refreshing and surprising. However, his feel is not jazz. If the guitar and drummer had played it in a more fusion style, I don’t think he would have stuck out so much, by they played it pretty straight, leaving Billy to his own devices.
  6. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    Well put. Grind and dirt tone a strange thing here.
    Levin S and tfer like this.
  7. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    I think I understand what he’s going for here, but it’s very unconventional. As others have noticed to dynamics sound very “rock” to me.
    tfer likes this.
  8. Levin S

    Levin S Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I couldn’t get past the tone of Billy’s bass. I’m not usually ‘that’ guy, but man it’s hard to listen to.

    To clarify - it’s a cool tone to a degree and Billy is a monster player, but I believe a more subdued tone would better compliment the tune as a while.
    GrapeBass and electracoyote like this.
  9. Wow. Some astute DB players on TB, for sure.

    Putting my jazz hat on, I'm not even going to try to be diplomatic or gentle. Billy should have asked his buddies not to publish this one. That is so awkward and distasteful as to be seriously disorienting. Never thought I'd see Billy hit the wall like that. He's completely out of his element. Grindy rock wankery over a jazz standard. His busy buddies aren't exactly sweetening the pot either. Unlistenable from the halfway point on.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  10. flojob

    flojob Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2011
    Can't be too shocked. All those guys can play, but Billy is a known quantity. They had to have known what they were getting into.
    It's still fun to listen to. I wonder if he's using thing helix effects or his usual stuff
  11. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    This was before his association with Helix. I first saw it a couple of years ago. I’m assuming he’s using his EBS pedal for his tone.
    flojob likes this.
  12. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    I’m not sure I’d be that harsh.

    It’s a completely different take on a standard, but when they asked Billy to participate, they had to know that he’d be bringing an edge that isn’t normally seen in a jazz trio.

    I don’t even have a problem with the lines that he chose to play - as a fan of the genre, it seems that he’s almost comping, with a nod towards Bop clarinet.

    Like I stated earlier, as a personal preference, I’d have loved to have heard him let it breathe a bit more under the solo, by playing a lighter 2 feel, but he got paid to play, not me!
  13. To each his own, brother. I think you are being kind and accommodating, but not objective. I'm a Sheehan fan too, I've lost count how many times I've defended him, but here is maybe the first time I take a stand and keep it real with Sir William.

    "Man's got to know his limitations." --Dirty Harry Callahan
    salcott, JRA and tfer like this.
  14. tsheldon


    Jun 20, 2005
    Western New York
    It was better than I thought it would be.

    I think Billy has a good feel when playing bass on this and has a bigger harmonic vocabulary than I would have expected. I’m giving him a mulligan on time as it’s not his fault the guitar player randomly changes tempos. Dynamics? Well there’s always next time. :)

    His tone and the solos were...him? Billy’s fans will love it, he’s very committed to a certain aesthetic. After a life spent pursuing and developing that sound and play-style we’d be foolish to expect something else. I prefer this result to Billy trying to be Steve Swallow because it’s honest.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  15. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    It seems to me that he came at it from a fusion style, reminiscent of his work with Niacin.

    There’s a definite contrast of styles...!
    electracoyote likes this.
  16. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Most peoples arms would fall off if they tried to play like Billy. Sure it's not for everyone but an amazing effort just the same.
  17. It isn't bad as a version of a pop song. As far as jazz goes, I think either Billy or the drummer would need to swing more. Two rock players doing their best isn't enough. One rock player with a good jazz player could make it work. Maybe.
    IamGroot likes this.
  18. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    That means he should know better and play more appropriately. We all know he's got chops but now his lack 'sensibility' is showing. I respect him for all he's done but he's far from perfect.
    IamGroot and electracoyote like this.
  19. GrapeBass


    Jun 10, 2004
    Graphic designer: Yorkville Sound
    Drummer had much more sensibility (IMHO) and it's not that he played bad at all.
  20. It works better for me than jazz players trying to do jazz versions of rock tunes - of course that doesn't work for me at level, so there is that!
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