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Great fretless recordings?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Kaleidescapist, May 19, 2011.

  1. Kaleidescapist


    Mar 4, 2011
    I'd love to hear some really fantastic fretless playing! Been listening to a great deal of Mick Karn and what I can hunt down of Percy Jones, but I'd like to broaden my horizons a bit. Suggestions for great artists/records/songs, please?
  2. ground zero would be Jaco Pastorius. His eponymous first album, anything he did w/Weather Report (Heavy Weather especially plus the live album 8:30), and Joni Mitchell (Hejira, Mingus). He does play some fretted in those, too, but much of it is fretless. To get another viewpoint of electric fretless bass, but the upright version, seek no further than Eberhard Weber. A great starting point would be his album "Pendulum". Again, it's EUB, not bass guitar, but there's a lot to learn and apply to fretless bass guitar.
  3. Kaleidescapist


    Mar 4, 2011
    I had no idea Jaco played on Hejira! Everyone I know keeps telling me to listen to that album - now I guess I really will. I've got the Jaco Pastorius, and the Weather Report ones - fantastic playing, really superb, though I have to admit that I'm a little heathen and don't always appreciate his more aggressive stylings. Maybe when I grow up...

    I've heard the stuff Mr. Weber did with Kate Bush, but not any of his own recordings - will definitely look Pendulum up. Thanks for the suggestions!
  4. Weber is a superb writer IMHO, you'll like his ensemble stuff, too, check out his :rarum album, a sampler of his material over the years he selected. He's recorded a lot with Jan Garbarek, another ECM label-mate and I can recommend that as well.

    Jaco was also on Joni's live album "Shadows and Light", an all star cast w/Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, and Michael Brecker. No prisoners were taken :bassist:

    Lots of people like Michael Manring, a local (NorCal) guy, not my cup of tea but he's a superb player, definitely worth a listen. Then there's Les Claypool of Primus......
  5. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Percy Jones rips some fantastic fretless on the first two tunes on Brian Eno's Another Green World- Sky Saw & Over Fire Island.
    The whole album is pretty epic though... ripping solos by Robert Fripp, Phil Collins hitting the skins, John Cale.

    Another Green world was also released in '75- not too much fretless in rock prior to that. At that point, I believe the only album Jaco had played on was Metheny's Bright Size Life... another AMAZING fretless album!
  6. if you're looking for something a little less aggressive than some of Jaco's work, check out Laurie Anderson's "Life on a String" album, the tune "The Island Where I Come From" has a very cool bass line and fun solo. Eno/Byrne's "My Life In the Bush of Ghosts" has some great fretless playing in there too.
  7. Pino Palladino deserves a mention. Listen to "New York Minute" by Don Henley, "Stop on By" by Paul Young, and "Give Blood" by Pete Townshend; all feature Pino on fretless.

    Another guy to check out is Mark Egan. Listen to "Saint Theresa" by Joan Osborne.
  8. Mayers

    Mayers Guest

    Sep 28, 2007
    You can listen to : Bunny Brunel ( solo artist or with CAB ) if you like jazz fusion, Alain Caron in solo or with Uzeb( any album has a great deal of fretless song ), Some Victor Wooten with Bela Fleck and the Flectone, of course there is Les Claypool with Primus.

    Oh and I forgot ... Anything by Micheal Manring
  9. bassgiant15

    bassgiant15 Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    Dec 19, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    Michael Manring for sure! Thonk is awesome as is soliloquy.

    Percy Jones is ace on fretless! Anything he has done!
  10. Add in most of Jack Bruce's output for the last 20-odd years too.
  11. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    In addition to the excellent suggestions above (esp. Michael Manring!), I'm a fan of tasty fretless in a pop context: two of my favorites are Bakithi Kumalo with Paul Simon and Tony Levin with Peter Gabriel.
  12. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    Highly recommend Brand X's "Masques" for some absolutely SICK Percy Jones fretless work, especially on the track "Ghost of The Mayfield Lodge"


    Dec 29, 2009
    Not a mention of Jeff Ament yet? Pearl Jam has some fretless songs, the one sticking out is "Alive", but there are others, all great.
  14. rockosocko


    Sep 14, 2008
    Pino Palladino on "New York Minute" gets my top vote. I'm also fond of "Renee" by Paul Webb with Talk Talk and Neil Jason on "Same Old Scene" by Roxy Music.
  15. For something a bit different from the above suggestions I strongly recommend Colin Moulding's work on XTC's "English Settlement". Great stuff, most of it is fretless (not typical for XTC).
  16. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    Thomas Dolby The Flat Earth- title track, Screen Kiss, Mulu, I Scare Myself. The bassist is Matthew Seligmen and he is monstrous. Big nod to XTC as well.
  17. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Doug Rauch's work on Caravanserai gets a mention now and then. There is nothing quite like his fretless on this album.
  18. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    Pino Paladino on Paul Young's "Everytime You Go Away"... Monumental! :D
  19. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Jack Bruce on John McLaughlin's "Electric Guitarist" album!

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