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had my first lesson with Richard Davis today

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by AJ Love, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I had posted previously about planning to begin studying with the bassist Richard Davis, and a few people asked me to post my thoughts about the lesson:

    today was the first lesson. Richard is clearly a very brilliant person and a gifted teacher. He explained some things to me in a way that made much more sense than anyone else has explained them to me, in particular about the modes and how they apply to various basslines. He showed me some excercises to work on using ascending and descending 3rds, and showed me how to construct walking basslines for minor 13th chords using a major scale and going up in 3rds. He also got me started working out of the Simandl method book, and shared with me a few thoughts on walking basslines in general in a Jazz context

    he doesn't have any problem with me playing electric bass exclusively. (as I had explained before, recurrent problems with tendinitis keeps me playing only electric bass)

    it was most definitely an inspiring (and humbling) lesson and I have plenty to work on for next week. I'll be studying with him on a weekly basis now, one hour per week.
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Thanks, bro. I was wondering how it came out for you. You are a very lucky person.

    If I had one "fan" question for Mr. Davis, it would be about performing under the direction of famous conductors. I bet he's gotten the "working with Miles/Trane/etc." rap until he's blue in face, but don't forget, he's also spent time with some of the great baton-wielders of the 20th century.

    Enjoy, and please post more!
  3. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Indeed, you are a very lucky man!
    I saw Mr. Davis play here with Mal Waldron a few years back, and that was an epiphany for me!
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    You've been blessed, my fellow Cheesehead. Keep us posted.
  5. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    thought I'd follow up with another post about my lessons with Richard:

    he's been correcting my various bad habits that I've had over the years in terms of my technique (especially left hand technique) and working with me alot on improving my reading using the Simandl book.... alot of fairly elementary stuff but thats what I need as my foundation, and Richard is a very gifted teacher in that he has a way of making it interesting and explaining things in a very clear manner

    I hadn't asked him any real "fan" questions until this afternoon's lesson: he asked more than a few times if I had any questions, so I asked him about his concept of time, what he feels like his role as a bassist is in regards to time, especially when he was playing with the greats like Tony Williams or Elvin Jones or Max Roach, did he lock in with what the drummer was playing, or did he feel it was his role to establish the time? He said that it was a marriage of both establishing the time AND locking in with a drummer, a dance that the drummer and bassist do together, and added that he plays a little ahead of the beat, that his style is that way and he doesn't know completely why, but thats just how he plays....he then went on to tell some interesting stories about the great drummers he's played with, including saying that the one exception to the "marriage theory" of bassist/drummer interaction was Elvin Jones. he said Elvin Jones' style was so powerful that a bassist had no choice but to just lock in with whatever Elvin is playing
  6. buddyro57

    buddyro57 me and PJ (living with the angels now)

    Apr 14, 2006
    Cedar Falls Iowa
    I studied with Richard Davis over the course of a couple of years. He is a great teacher; he is one of those musicians who has forgotten more than most of us will ever know. I wrote an article for Bass Player magazine that was based on a series of interviews I did with him. I asked him EVERY question I ever wanted to know, recorded his replies on tape, transcribed them, let him read the drafts, and submitted it to BP. A really rewarding experience for me.
    He is truly one of the grand old masters.