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Gospel on standup

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by FredH, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. I having been working with a church gospel service, lot of fun, the music really grooves. The charts I have been given are piano charts with cord notation for the rhythm players, same old thing. Because I have never performed this kind of music before I have been somewhat shy on adding fills have backed off doing solos even though the leader has suggested I do one now and then.

    Does anyone have experience with playing gospel on a upright? I've played gospel’y stuff in the past (Mercy, Mercy... and the like) but it was in a club environment, I am not sure what would work best in the church.

    Should I just play the root for a four count, 1 and 5?
    When is walking acceptable?
    I realize I can find books on gospel on a music bookstore or somewhere on the net. But
    I’m not sure I can find a “How to play double bass on gospel using fakesheets and head arrangements”.

    I would also like to not have to experiment on the job. Playing for several hundred bright, sober, smiling faces is a bit interesting.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Check out some records and see what gospel bass players do. What you're asking is, in a sense, like the question, "What does a banana taste like?" The only way to experience a banana is to get one and bite.

    When you've done the homework -- getting the sound, feel and style in your ears -- you're question will be answered properly.
  3. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    There is an article on gospel playing by Andrew Gouche in the new issue of Bass Player (red cover with Marcus Miller). It is not upright specific, but most of the material will translate.

    I'm not familiar enough with gospel music to recommend any upright bassists, but I would love to hear some suggestions.
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    When I was in High School I played with an R&B/Jazz Trio. Mercy Mercy, Ain't no Mountian High enough, etc.. That was in the late 60s.. They call that stuff Gospel now.

    I learned a little from Listening to records by Ramsey Lewis. The Bass players were Cleveland Eaton and Eldee Young on the older stuff. They had the Funk.. Even Ray Brown and Oscar played some of those tunes.. Gosh.. All the Jazz guys could Funk on the Upright then.. The BG was a guitar to most of them back then.. If you couldn't play a Boogaloo Bass line on the Upright, You weren't ready to gig... That was the stuff back then...

    I even recorded a version of 'Ease on down the road' on My Italian Bass with that group around 1975. If your Bass was set up properly and you had the Chops.. Upright was used for just about everything.. On one Jingle, I had Both my Italian Bass and one of my Custom Electrics (don't remember which).. It was a Blues/Funk kinda think for "Panasonic".. B.B. King was doin the Commercial as his name was on the top of the music. I asked the producer if I could play it on Upright and he said 'ok, we'll give it a listen' .. Well.. It stuck.. Upright it was.. 18th century Italian going thru my customized inlaid Barcus PU and maybe a Mic but I don't remember about the Mic for sure..

    If you have the will to try, it will open your ears to hear what I call 'the real Bass' sounds like playin the Funk.. Shhhh Some of my customers come up here from timie to time.. dont' wanna blow any business. I think they understand my meaning..
    I hope....lol
  5. It also depends on what type of gospel music you are playing. Like just about every other type of music, there are many styles. Experiment with different things and see what best compliments the particular music style. I have played everything from bluegrass-type to modern praise and worship and each style has its own feel. Sometimes times I play a strict 1-5, sometimes almost straight roots, sometimes lots of runs and fills, and occasionally, walking fits pretty well.

    It is what Ray just said and has said many times--feel, feel, feel.
  6. Yes funky…
    Trial by fire; did an Easter gospel service, 5 songs, easy gig, super nice people, early.

    I played a lot of 1 and 5 peddles heavy on the 1 and the 3 beats, very cool, like grooving rockabilly. I haven’t had that much fun since playing high school house parties. The piano player had a heavy left hand so there wasn’t much room for fills but I got a few ideas for next time.
    Thanks for the heads up on the Bass Player article and I’ll review Ramsey Lewis’s records, my main band is a piano trio and Ramsey is a big hero for us. Some of these gospel songs are so cool I might add them to my trio list, bring in some horns for a set. Possibilities abound!!