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FSCOTCHTAPE, Java Men, and DURRL's new bass

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    As promised, I've got a couple of clips up from the soon-to-be-released Java Men CD. These cuts were recorded in June, and are among the last things recorded on my old Czech carved bass. I love that bass, but it's my backup now because if I played it longer than two hours, it hurt me because it's rather "tight". Both of the tunes are my own, and both are excerpted, although the first one is still pretty long. The first of the two links is the "high quality" link. Hint. Hint. :)

    A word about Java Men (www.javamen.com ): We're an original "eclectic" group where all of the players come through jazz but also incorporate other styles. Anything any of us writes is fair game, and no bitching about "aw, man, that ain't jazz" is allowed. We write whatever we hear, and we play it, trying to get as close to the spirit of the music as possible. I love all of these guys like brothers, largely because of this attitude. Purist types may hate this group, and that's cool. :)

    1) "Fifth Business" -

    This one's kind of minor blues with a twist, written during the period when I was listening to Chick's "Three Quartets" album a lot. 'Nuff said.

    2) "Walking Papers" -

    This one is unabashedly "poppy", but I heard it and I wrote it, so I must have an affinity for that kind of thing. Think "Paul McCartney meets Santana", and you get the idea.

    All comments, whether they be about the tunes, the playing, the recording, or the aesthetic, are welcome. :)

    3) Harry Pickens Trio - "I've Never Been in Love Before"


    Yes, I know I've posted a clip of this song before! I'm posting this one for two reasons: First, I'm playing my new LaScala on it...unfortunately the recorded bass sound is a direct from the AMT/Full Circle signal, but except for some excess bottom end (it's a rough mix), it sounds pretty much like the new bass. Second, some comments and suggestions were made about the first version of the tune posted here on the old Sampler page that I tried to take to heart, and I was even thinking about some of the things you guys said about the last version right before the downbeat of this one. Anyway, if you feel like it, have at!
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Fifth Business: Yeah! Great sounding mix (on my 2.1 computer setup) and very slick playing. Compositionally very nice, too – I could picture mebbe a lil' interval riff between solos, but it doesn't drop down and beg for it because the shift from poly-time to swing gives the listener a nice handle . . . .

    The intro reminds me of these recent words from Ed:

    I can’t believe how in-tune you’re playing all those fifths.

    Your solo is killing. Melodic, fiery . . . the good drummers know how to keep intensity at different volumes and yours is one here.

    Oh yeah – there’s this pianist your keyboard guy should check out, name of McCoy Tyner . . . it’s a gas to hear somebody dig hard into that bag.

    Walking Papers: Hey, whatever moves you, James. I like your solo, too. Ya cain’t play jazz shtuff over a tune like this – it just doesn’t work.

    Never Bin: Yeah, yeah! Your sound is fat, you’re swinging, beaucoup de sustain . . . go Chris! You're stretching . . . he's in, he's out, he's loose . . .

    Post more so we can enjoy more, please!
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Thanks for the enthusiastic review! I was gonna PM this reply, but I thought it would be kinda cool to post it, since it pertains to the forum:

    Right before the downbeat of "I've Never...", I was thinking of some comments you made about the last version both here on the Sampler page and also in email about how I sounded too "restrained" and...dare you say it?..."Bassy". :eek: So I thought, what the ****, maybe this time I should just let rip, and intonation be damned! Which is kind of what happened on the new cut. Sure enough, the intonation suffered, but I think the added energy was worth it in the end. Besides, if I never really "go for it", how am I ever gonna "get it"? Anyway, thanks for the advice, bro. It came in really handy this time, and proves once again (to me, anyway) what an amazing resource this whole online critique thing can be.
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I'm just listening to "Never Been" for the first time -- piano solo still underway -- and I gotta agree: that's some swinging sh*t Chris. Bass sounds FAT. Attaboy to you too, Arnold.

    Post note: where you drop back into your walk coming out of your solo, Chris? That ruuuuullles, dude! Like, totally rocking! Bass sounds freaking great.

    (Enjoying it, maybe you can tell...)
  5. Yeah Durrl! I just listened to Fifth Business. This is an interesting sounding band! I love the head....how'd ya write that **** out or did ya? The basic sound of this band is made completely different because of your playing and the fact that you're playing DB instead of electric bass guitar. When I first heard the sound, I just natually expected that electric sound on the bass. Your timbre on the bass really, to me, makes the band. I think most people on this board would consider me the 'purist type' you mention in your post, but I find this band really great! I'm assuming these are the STARKS? What a man! Your solo is great...a little bit of everything. You seem to be using a bit more of the whole scope of the bass now. It seemed to me that you were a little partial to solos that hung around alot in the upper register thumb positions, but it's nice to hear ALL of the bass in terms of register.
    I think the basic 'vibe' of the band is very different and supplies a definate mood for really interesting listening!!!
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks, Paul! The head is written as cross-phrased 8th note triplets in 4/4. I wrote out the voicings for the piano player on the head, and just told him to "play fourthy" after that.

    This band was the reason I bought one of Ken Smith's gorgeous 6-string slabs a few years back, and also the reason I sold it earlier this year. When I first joined these guys, I thought, "no way can I keep up with these guys on DB all the time", so I bought what I consider to be the finest electric bass I'd ever played (one of Ken's BSR6P's), thinking that it would help me contribute. As great as that bass was, it helped me to discover that I just don't hear the electric sound anymore - and having played the best that I'd seen, I knew that I could no longer blame the phenomenon of "not hearing the electric sound" on "you just don't have a good enough bass". So I sold it to help pay for my New Standard. :)

    As Ed would say at this point, "aw, shucks..." - but thanks. :) I think the engineer did a great job of capturing the sound of the bass. Yeah, those are the Starks, and I love the sound they get. I realize it's not for everyone, but they really get the sound I hear in my head. Aside from the sustain (which I LOVE), I also really like the way the pitch is so centered and easy to hear. With almost any other string, I find it harder to intonate because the pitch doesn't seem to speak as "quickly", if that makes any sense. On this cut, there are a couple of places where the imperfections on the fingerboard bring out a slightly unpleasant "nasal" quality, but to me that's a flaw in a setup rather than the strings. The Starks WILL bring out any flaws in your setup, BTW - but that's just a function of a string which speaks quickly as far as I can tell.

    You are dead on about the range thing. On the earlier recordings I posted, I was practicing TP almost exclusively during the time they were recorded, and it really came out. You is what you eat, I guess. Thanks for taking to time to listen!
  7. What a great sound! I wish I could make my bass sound like that (yes, I know practice… practice… practice…). I'm impressed by the quality of the recording on "I've Never…" - for a live recording it's pretty damned good, and the audience is very receptive - so, what's the secret?

    - Wil
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks Wil. The secret? Harry hired the same engineer who recorded the JM stuff to record the trio that night. ;) The guy has a good ear for trio/quartet, if you can afford him. I wish I could tell you that that recording was some kind of newfangled minidisc recorder that only costs $200, but...he used two LD condensers on the piano, four drum mics, and the AMT signal from the bass (he would have mic'd the bass, but in our "Oscar Peterson" setup, I'm so close to Harry that there's no room).
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    It all sounds great to me. I don't hear anything 'outside the tradition' at all. Does it sound 1958? Thank god, no.

    The tone the bass on the first one is particularly great!

    The second tune sounds more 'Steps Ahead' than 'Three Quartets' to me. My 'internal' is riddled with this kind of stuff as well. I'd like to get a copy of this, if you have it written down.

    The only thing that sticks out to me are a few bass-player habits, soloistically. I'd like to hear more variance in articulation, although cut 2 had more than the others. Also would like to hear more defined phrases, especially at the beginning of a solo -- lay down a few ideas to build on. The last comment, which is part of the second, is we bassists tend to fill all of the space as a soloist. Putting more defined spaces between phrases, especially early in a solo, helps lay the groundwork for the rest of the endeavor. It sounds like, especially with the 'F. Scott and the Beans' band, that you have the kind of players with you that would know how to support you.

    Overall -- sound great!
  10. I've downloaded the HP3 cut twice now and I can't get RealPlayer to play it. It says I need a software update, then tells me that no update is available that will support this format. Computers suk.
  11. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Just listened to Walking Papers. Beautiful singing solo you took. The sound of the bass sounds really even in every register; Wonderful. :D
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Got the recording this weekend, thanks. I'll have some stuff out to you soon.

    FIFTH BUSINESS - a really fun tune and you (I concur) are getting a great sound. I have to agree with Ray, vis a vis his comments on articulation and phrasing. I'm starting to hear your accompaniment lines sing, you should continue to let that piano player you have inside come out. As I continue to work on that myself.

    IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO ME - fun fun fun. The only thing I would say is - whatever you guys can do to keep the solo sections open (as opposed to "now we're playing funk, now we're playing swing") would be VERY happening. Let the funk inform the swing and the swing inform the funk.

    WALKING PAPERS - nice melodic content to the solo but, just as a matter of personal taste, I gotta say the tune doesn't do too much for me. But your solo/melody is VERY COMPELLING. You really make me hear that YOU are hearing and meaning EVERY SINGLE NOTE YOU PLAY on that. Good job.

    I'VE NEVER BEEN IN LOVE BEFORE - I don't know if it's just cause I'm hearing more of Harry than I have before, but I'm really hearing this whole Gene Harris bag. Could you talk a little bit about the tempo change thang? For me, I could hear it "being done" rather than hearing it "happening", if that makes any sense. I would have liked to have heard more of that melodicism that was in WALKING PAPERS in this solo. There was nothing that was bad or would make anyone think you couldn't play. But, again to me in my limited understanding of the world, it was kind of a "bass players" solo. Very swinging quarter note line.

    IT'S NOT YOUR PALE MOON - I really like this tune, a personal fave. A nice solo, I would still suggest waiting for the line. There's some nice material there, but there's also some stuff I think you are playing just to be playing. I gotta say, I'm not too happy with Harry's comping for you in this. It doesn't sound likes he's talking with you, it sounds like he is herding you. I have to talk with Jon from time to time, because his internal picture of how he hears the tune can tend to "drown out" what is actually happening.

    Now you know I ain't coming down on high with all this. Anything I say is, of course, filtered through the "what I woulda done" and also the "what I am working on in my own playing" lenses. You are sounding better and better, you're writing some great tunes and are working in two ensembles that are stretching you as a musician. Keep on keeping on.
  13. On one of the cuts of 'I've Never Been In Love Before' on your solo, you quote an old Louis tune. Maybe you didn't do it on purpose or it could have been an accident that only I heard...also, this tune
    (the Quote) is so old, I may be the only one to recognize it.
    Does anyone, particularly Durrl, know what the hell i'm talkin' about?
    If anybody else heard this, tell me the name of the tune Chris quotes?
    Probably only old guys will know this...Dono?
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It may have been "Royal Garden Blues" if you were listening to the earlier version of the tune. Harry quoted that on another tune on the same gig, and I noticed that it ended up in my solo as well. I try never to quote on purpose, since I feel that quotes only "work" when they are part of a spontaneous flow of ideas, usually representing music you have on your mind for one reason or other at that time. One ridiculous example of this is the number of Sesame Street quotes that came out in my solos when my son was deep into watching the same two SS videos over and over...I even quoted "C is for Cookie" over "Body and Soul" on a radio broadcast once, and didn't even realize it until I heard the recording later. :D
  15. Yeah, that was it...Royal Garden!
    I knew an alto player once that played nothing (practically) but quotes! I swear! The Cat played from quote to quote!
    I'm so damn good at de-railing a thread! Maybe i'll start a thread on quotes. I used to be able to quote some of the music off of Nintendo/Mario Games. The underwater music off of the Mario Game Boy series was one of my best. Sorry.... :hyper:
  16. mister_k


    Jul 27, 2004
    Los Angeles

    That's going to have to be a mission of mine.
    I wish I had managed to pull that off last Halloween when I performed in Mario costume. But if I played a solo at all in that band I probably would have been tackled.

  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Looking forward to it, but no hurry - I still have discs from Sam'l and Mike Childree in line to peruse. I can't catch up to all this great ****!

    No argument there, especially the last part. I played some piano today for a grad improv class, and some stuff came out that I'd like to get out on bass. Maybe the best way to get it out (aside from the stuff from the "Fingering what I hear" thread) would be to transcribe some piano solos in the living room and shed them on bass? It's worth thinking about.

    THE TEMPO CHANGE THING: Sometimes it just happens. We went through a period where Jason and I were fighting to keep the time where it started behind Harry, and discovered that it made us all miserable and cranky. So, that night J and I just decided to go with whatever was happening and try to make it feel good. In this case, Harry apparently felt how much the tempo picked up, and decided to half time the thing - listening back, it sounds like he tried to cue it one chorus earlier, but we didn't catch it. The second time, he was clear as day, and we fell in line. Philosophically, you and I feel the same way about the concept - when you LET IT HAPPEN, it's better than when you MAKE IT HAPPEN. We'd never done it on this tune before, but I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised that the tune was about to slow into halftime, especially since I had a solo coming up. :D

    Seriously, some nights it happens a lot, and some nights not at all. Sometimes it feels as natural as breathing, sometimes it feels like a hiccup. We just try to roll with it and learn from how it felt.
  18. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Chris, I really love Fifth Business.

    Not only the bass, but the tune just drew me in. The opening with bass and percusion just grabbed me. I was a little dissapointed when the sample actually faded out early.

    Great stuff and I really like your fat sound.

  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    BUMP for the folks who keep PMing wanting to hear the LaScala. It's the HP3 cut from the first post. Arnold, I can't say it enough, but you've sure made me on happy man every time I play - keep making those gorgeous basses!