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 Guest

    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
    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 Guest

    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
    Tom Lane likes this.
  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.
  7. bassgirls


    May 24, 2014
    Sorry for bumping a 15 year old thread, but OP, do you still post here? I made a thread about Davis and was wondering about some of his techniques. He's so great!
  8. Michael Karn

    Michael Karn

    Apr 16, 2014
    I was just listening to that Earl Hines record with Richard and Elvin, it’s not the greatest record ever but Richard absolutely kills on it
  9. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    My favs are the Booker Ervin book series on Prestige. Song, Space, Freedom. Elvins Dear John C on Impulse. His own recordings are generally not as good as those. I studied with him in the 70s and heard him in the same week with Elvin, the NY Phil under Bernstein, and cutting a track with Janis Ian that became a hit.
    oliebrice and Michael Karn like this.
  10. Michael Karn

    Michael Karn

    Apr 16, 2014
    I can’t listen to Booker Ervin so I’m not a fan of those records, though RD does sound great on them. He sounds so great on so many great/classic records it’s hard to make a list, though the Thad/Mel stuff always comes immediately to my mind. And I love that itinerary, thanks for that. I saw him with Elvin at the Vanguard, with John Hicks and Sonny Fortune, he was really loud and pretty out of tune as I recall, but he still sounded great. He and Elvin together were as loose and you can be and still be playing together, it was pretty instructive and amazing
    dhm likes this.
  11. That seemed to be a theme with so many of the bassists besides Ray Brown who overlapped in the split between no amp playing and amp playing.

    I saw Sonny Fortune twice, once with Elvin's band once with Rashid Ali. He was on fire both times.
  12. Michael Karn

    Michael Karn

    Apr 16, 2014
    Yeah, and in that situation in particular Elvin was really playing strongly and at times very loudly, so no matter how loud Richard got he was probably having some trouble hearing himself, or at least getting a clear sense of pitch. It didn’t matter, the vibe of that rhythm section in particular was ridiculous. Sonny Fortune sounded pretty good at the beginning of the gig but got very repetitive as it went along, he ended up being a bit of a one trick pony
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  13. lurk

    lurk Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    It did always surprise me that a bassist with such an awesome resume of studio work could sometimes be so out of tune.
  14. notabene


    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
    lurk likes this.
  15. robinunit


    Aug 9, 2010
    sounds good to me. Sounded good "enough" to Sarah too.