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experience in personal evolution

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Jun 8, 2005.


  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I am currently thinking about my concept. I have gone through a number of phases regarding the role of bass. Specifically in a straight ahead setting.

    My first phase was when I was in college. I think it was 'a little knowledge is dangerous' phase. I was playing all kinds of ghost notes, eighth notes triplet figures, etc. Then, as parting wisdom at graduation my jazz director and mentor of sorts said 'learn to love the quarter note'.

    Phase 2. I started really getting into Paul Chambers. Talk about a guy that loved the heck out of the quarter note. I was playing in a group that did mostly 50's and 60's bebop stuff. Then I was on a session with a singer and she wanted me to do all that bum, bum, bum, digaty, bumpy, bum stuff. Then I started to think, maybe this the modern style of bass players.

    Phase 3. I started playing with a piano trio. The piano player was really into Bill Evans. I started listening, transcribing, and learning the approaches of bass players in that style (Scott LaFaro, Eddie Gomez, Gary Peacock, Miroslav Vitous).

    Current phase. I am now 30 years old. I read an Blindfold Test with Branford a while back and something has always stuck with me. He didn't like a bass player on a certain recording because 'he has no hump in his style, bass players gotta have hump'. I wasn't quite sure what this meant. Then I got the Love Supreme live in Amterdam dvd. Eric Revis has huge hump. That guy swings so hard. I am now back to loving the s*** out the quarter note.

    Just a rant but I know that there are many great players on this forum that have been doing this for a while. I mean this as a way to start discussion about role, sharing of wisdom, other stories of growth. Whatever.
     
  2. Its great to have all three of those bags in your "arsenal" and be able to pull them out as needed or desired.

    I think, as a bass player, you (collective "you") should, first and foremost, be able to walk the hell out of a quarter note line. Adding the diggity-booms etc. is a matter of personal taste and style, the direction the music is going in and being able to to it without messing up what Branford calls the "hump." (Funny, that's the second place I've seen that word cited on this board. Must be the catchphrase du jour.)

    Watch that lyrical, conversational LaFaro, Peacock stuff though; you may be accused of not swinging hard enough!
     
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I remember something a drummer friend told me. 'Its cool to be able to do all that out sh**, but people hire you 'cause you can swing the quarter note.'

    A big part of thinking of concept seems to also make you think of the role that the bass plays in different groups. Its good to be versatile but certain guys (Dave Holland, Charlie Haden) have a way of making thier thing work regardless of the group. I guess that is why they are at the top.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Agreed, 100%. Each musical playing situation is different, and you have to have confidence in your ability to assess what's going on and react to it, hopefully adding what the music is calling for in the process. There is no "default" mode that will do this for you, IMO.

    Walking the hell out of a quarter-note line is of course very important, but walking through a section of music that doesn't call for walking is a bad idea no matter how hard you're swinging. :)

    ...by pompous and insecure people with extremely questionable social skills. Yes, that's been known to happen. :)
     
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    What happened to me after about ten years of playing was that I ran into guys who were swinging and quartering and humping their way through the same tunes, in the same keys, at the same tempos, they were s & q & h ten years before. My goal then became to be able to s & q & h but to do what it took not to get stuck in that rut.

    That was about 20 years ago -- I've been playing jazz bass for 31 years now. For the last 10-15 years I've been hanging with guys who write. They're all better writers than me too (which doesn't take much) all across the spectrum from straight-up to graphically-derived.

    I play inside, straight-ahead stuff lots and lots -- heck, man, after three decades I still love to make that noise. When I do it I hope I'm swinging, quartering and humping. I also make an effort to play my tunes, changing meters, feels and tempos and trying to be melodic and musical doing it. It's a different kind of hump, Eye-gore. Yeah, "People hire you to play quarter-notes," but they're people who hear quarter-notes, y'know? There are other people out there and I want to play with them too.

    When I grew up moving forward was the only way to gain real respect in jazz. Things have changed then, but I've chosen not to abandon my youthful aim. No matter what the trend of the moment, I try to do my little-itty-bitty feeble guy-up-in-Maine thing to make music that respects the tradition but is not bound to it.
     
  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    There are really two mes these days. There is the me that does sideman type stuff and there is the me that does original stuff. There is a great original jazz scene (albiet more on the free side) here in Chicago and a vibrant jobbing scene here too. There are few guys that have bridged that gap. But let's face it, original jazz doesn't usually pay the bills.

    I have been working to find a way to make my style my style. Like I said before, there are certain guys that have made their style work in many situations.

    An original jazz group I play in, www.espjazz.com, has really worked to combine original compositions with standards. We arrange everything but this is a case where me is me.

    Part of the reason I, and I suspect others, where drawn to this instrument was because of the role that it played in the music that we like to listen to. I don't find many things more enjoyable than to make someones foot tap or head bob.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Obviously it's different in the UK and I know nothing about the Chicago Jazz scene - but I would be tempted to say - does any kind of Jazz pay all the bills? ;)

    In the UK this has been changing a lot - so, maybe 20-30 years ago, the UK Jazz scene was about copying what happened in the US and the height of anybody's ambition was to play standards as a sideman for a visiting US star.

    But the next generation of British Jazzers (now in their 30s and 40s ) have been far more interested in original compositions, maybe inspired by composers like Kenny Wheeler - but now with their own distinct voice and it seems that these players are doing much better - i.e. selling more CDs, appearing on national TV, crossing over to mainstram audiences, than their more conservative predecessors...?

    Although of course it's still very difficult to make a living from playing Jazz...:meh:
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's difficult to make a living playing music of any kind. It's only been in the last 3-4 years that I'm making a decent living with it and I'm 43! BTW, the only jazz gigs I get in Orlando are playing standards at conventions during dinner. There is no money in jazz otherwise. However, the jazz musicians do get the best paying gigs in Orlando, but they're almost never jazz gigs. Fine by me...I like jazz but it's not my favorite type of music.
     
  9. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Chicago has a pretty good jazz jobbing scene. There is a large convention business in Chicago. I've managed to hook up with a few catering companies and they keep my band working.
     
  10. uh, quarter notes, that is. I look at it this way - music can swing explicitly, implicitly, to varying degrees and anywhere in between. Just because someone is not clobbering you on the head with THE BEAT doesn't mean the music is not swinging. I love good hard-swinging stuff as much as the next guy, but there are so many more subcategories of jazz to enjoy. Sometimes, it's nice when the music is IN YOUR FACE. Other times, I can have very profound listening experience being drawn into the music by it's subletly. But it is no less intense!