Bowed (arco) bass recordings

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by charmicarmicat, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. I've been listening to Charlie Haden bowed sound on Alice's Coltrane "Journey In Satchidananda" and I am hooked. I was wondering if anyone can recommend some cd's that "focus" or have a majority of the bass played with a bow. I'm sure there's plenty out there and since I work at a record store it should be a breeze for me to find but alas. Basically I need some guidance. Either Classical or Jazz. Once I get my finances straight i'm getting an upright! And yes I have been reading all the newbie links :)
  2. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    one album i listen to all the time that has cool arco playing (jazz) all over it is cymbals by sunra.

    there is a group on delmark called active ingredients (septet: chad taylor-drums, jemeel moondoc-alto sax, tom abbs-bass, steve swell-trombone, rob mazurek-cornet, david boykin-tenor sax, avreeayl ra-percussion), album is called titrations, some good arco on there but not a whole lot, just a few parts, great playing though(IMHO).

    i'll leave it at that i guess, the rest of the stuff i would recommend is pretty free/abstract sounding and i could see most people not being too into it :D
    chicago underground trio, josh abrams groups, jeff parker albums are the general area of this stuff, if you see it maybe you could check it out before you buy it....that'd be best.
  3. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    while we are sorta on the subject, what do you guys think of the arco sound if this guys bass?

    go here.

    then click on the album "electric tonic" and play the track that you can stream (track 2), there is some arco playing of what i think is a good sounding it? :ninja:

    is that a good "orchestra" sound or "jazz" sound or something inbetween?
  4. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    To begin with, on jazz you could check out guys like Slam Stewart, Major Holley and Paul Chambers. They took a lot of bowed solos. I'm sure there are many others too. As for classical, you could check out Edgar Meyer or Gary Karr (easily the most popular classical soloists). Edgar has a couple of classical recordings as well as those blue grassish recordings with Mark O'Connor and YoYo Ma. Glad to see that you're coming on over to the superior and more sophisticated side of bass playing. ;)
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, too bad it's the side that there's no money to be made unless you're really really super-duper good. I've only had my bass 3 months and I'm already gigging out with it playing slap and jazz casuals!

    Having said that, I really do want to learn how to play arco. I was listening to some arco jazz stuff tonight and wishing I could do that.
  6. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Interesting recommendations, waka piwonka. Usually Slam, Major and Paul are the first arco-ers to surface from this type of query, understandably. Please do not hesitate to recommend more free/abstract sounding stuff.

    I've been diging out some LPs lately and rediscovered one named "La Boîte à Musique", a guitar/cb duet, Marc Fosset & Patrice Caratini. The latter bows a lot and beautifully. I don't think this was ever re-issued on CD, which is a shame, was prized as best French jazz reccord in '79...
  7. Marc Fosset & Patrice Cararini are on a DVD of a show recorded back in 1989 - "Stephane Grappelli in New Orleans" - wow! what an amazing show! Every number is superb and there are special showpieces for each member of the band - Marc Fosset is brilliant, and his acoustic guitar (LH, by the way) blends well with Martin Taylor's semi-accoustic. Patrice Caratini plays "Armando's Rhumba" as his "set-piece" - he plays arco in part of his solo in "Sweet Georgia Brown" - all in all a very entertaining show, and of course Stephane Grappelli swings as no one else can - what a musician!

    - Wil
  8. Thank you all for posting and please keep it coming.
    Abstract stuff is more than welcome as i think that most of the time what is abstract now is not the next minute. and if it still is, well, that's even better!
    I checked the mmw site and i have to say that although the hammond b3 sound bugs the you know what out of me, i do dig the bass so much on the track you suggested (thanks jmpiwonka). much more of a fender rhodes kind of guy i am. bring on jan hammer during his Mahavishnu period:)
    again, the fact that i work in a record store will be of great help as far as checking stuff out before buying it and I hope to find "La Boîte à Musique" as suggested by Olivier through our used buyers.
    Again, thank you all for taking the time to post and be sure that every artist you mention will be checked out by yours truly.
  9. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I'm surprized none of youse guys mentioned Jimmy Blanton's work with Duke. That this arco playing is the single most pure example in Jazz wuld not be just my opinion.
  10. My vote is for Michael Moore. IMO, he's the most expressive arco player out there, in terms of jazz. He's so well armed technically, that to speak of his playing and using the jazz genre label is almost a diservice to him.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    As you begin venturing outside the jazz realm and flirt with the classical, try a slice of Bottesini: Music for Double Bass & Piano Vol.1 by Joel Quarrington.

    His sound is amazing.
  12. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    For jazz, also check out George Mraz. There's at least one arco showcase piece on each of his CDs.
  13. Good call...and the added attraction of exposing yourself to listening to the double bass in the 5th tuning mode, Joel being one of the pioneers of this tuning.
  14. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002

    It is unfortunate however that Bottesini is a second-rate composer. Maybe even third.
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Martial Solal Trio, "Sans Tambour Ni Trompette". Two bassists, Gilbert Rovere and Jean-Francois Jenny Clarke. An utterly ridiculous album, in the good sense. Unbridled virtuosity.

    And seconds on Michael Moore and George Mraz.
  16. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Well, I'm not touching that one with a 5/4 violin bow, but I will add that those interested in a bit more compositional variety might consider Virtuoso Reality, a later recording featuring Quarrington and others. It offers selections from a number of different composers.

    I have it as well, and enjoy each for different reasons.
  17. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    oh yeah there is some arco on john coltrane's "ole", not to mention some sweet pizz. with reggie workman and art davis (yes duet type stuff), and dolphy is a plus too :D
    ole is my favorite track on that album.

    take a look-see
    i've actually heard some of the ole bass line sampled on a hiphop album and didn't realize it until i started listening to jazz, kinda cool.
  18. …another vote here for Virtuoso Reality. You might look out for Bassonia Amorosa Live - 4 extremely talented DB players - Roman Patkoló (Slovakia), I-Shan Kao (Taiwan), Ruslan Lutsyk (Ukraine) and Gisèle Blondeau (Canada).


    Virtuose Kontrabaßkonzerte - (music of Koussevitzky, Dragonetti, Paganini) - played by Gary Karr plus the RSO Berlin

    The London Double Bass Sound - with Gary Karr as guest soloist (misc. music played on up to 9 double-basses)

    Bottesini - Music for Double Bass and Piano - (ah, well, see previous replies) - but all beautifully played by Joel Quarrington.

    …oh, and one more which is certainly worth the effort -

    Concerti for Double Bass - played by Edwin Barker and the Pro Arte Chamber Orcherstra - music of Antoniou, Vanhal, Schuller, and includes a really great encore - Tom Johnson's Failing : A Very Difficult Piece for String Bass

    anyway, a smattering of ideas from my CD collection - I hope this helps…

    - Wil
  19. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    I have to agree on the Jimmy Blanton comment. I feel bad for leaving him out. Only problem is, there aren't too many recordings of him as far as I've found. I know there was some discussion on a thread a little while ago but I don't think there were any new discoveries to speak of. Another bassist to consider is Richard Davis. I have heard some not-so-good recordings of him but there are a few arco recordings that are really hip too.
  20. Comrade Lewis

    Comrade Lewis Guest

    Jun 20, 2004
    Athens, Ga
    I totally disagree with you there. Bottesini is a prime example of Belcanto Italiano music. This romantic composer wrote some of the best and most played classical bass music there is. Bottesini creates flowing dynamics and causes one to expand ones musical prowess technically, in phrasing and almost every other aspect of music there is. His second concerto is one of the most famous concerto's for double bass rivaling Koussevitzky's and Capuzzi's. You may choose to believe that he is a "second rate composer" but he's one of the best composer's for double bass, and to many an idol. Bottesini's compositions are played around the world. From his Elegy, to his Grande Allegro and Tarantella. If Bottesini's virtousic composition's are so mediocre then why do we continue to manifest our growing skills in his beautiful music?