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Important Bass Lines

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by turf3, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    I've been playing bass about five years, but I've been playing jazz for 40 years on saxophone.

    I recently had the experience of a jam session on bass where someone wanted to play "So What" and I had to demur because I couldn't play the standard bass line for the introduction. (I know how the bass line goes, I could sing it to you all day long, but I need some shedding time to be able to physically play it.)

    My question is, aside from that one, what would be the short list of exposed characteristic bass lines that are really essential to know, when playing tunes from the standard jazz canon? Night in Tunisia is one other that occurs to me, but I would like some input from the experienced players here, so I can go to the shed with a plan.
  2. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    So What isn't an easy line, actually. It is in an easy key but has just enough shifts to make it a bit more awkward than it sounds. Of course with practice it is fine.
    Some other common lines:
    Haitian Fight Song
    Friday the 13th
    Song for my Father
    All Blues

    Probably lots more.
  3. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    New Jersey
    I'd say it's more important to be able to walk a convincing blues progression, rhythm changes, and hundreds of standards, but a few iconic jazz bass lines I can list off the top of my head are:

    Miles Davis - All Blues, Seven Steps to Heaven, Joshua
    John Coltrane - Equinox
    Wayne Shorter - Footprints
    Herbie Hancock - Chameleon, Watermelon Man, Cantaloupe Island
    Cedar Walton - Bolivia
    Star Eyes (Standard)
    Joe Henderson - Recordame, Black Narcissus, Blue Bossa
    Duke Ellington - Caravan
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  5. ctrlzjones


    Jul 11, 2013
    One of my debilities is making lists ... (No, I am not telling the others). The following should be a recollection of the titles mentioned in both threads.

    Also I faintly remember a character in one of Jean Paul Satres novels whose mission is to read all the books in the public library following alphabetical order ...

    500 Miles High
    A Night in Tunisia
    All Blues
    Autumn Leaves - Miles
    Black Narcissus
    Blue Bossa
    But Not For Me (Israel Crosby)
    Cantaloupe Island
    Crisis (Freddie Hubbard)
    Dear Old Stockholm
    Four On Six
    Friday the 13th
    Giant Steps
    Girl from Ipanema
    Green dolphin street
    Haitian Fight Song
    I'll Remember April
    Jody Grind
    Killer Joe
    Little sunflower
    Maiden voyage
    Mercy Mercy Mercy
    Moment's Notice
    Naima - coltrane
    Nica's Dream
    Night in tunisia
    Oleo - bass plays melody with horn players
    On Green Dolphin Street
    Pedal for Someday My Prince
    Played Twice
    Poinciana (Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing)
    Red Clay
    Sea Journey
    Seven Steps To Heaven
    So Long Eric
    So What
    So What come
    Song for My Father/Josie Don't Lose That Number
    St Thomas
    Stolen Moments
    Take five
    This I Dig Of You
    Waltz for Debby
    Watermelon Man - both versions

    Goodbye Porkpie Hat
    A Remark You Made
    Pent Up House

    ALL Bird heads (Star Eyes)
    All The Things You Are
    Bird of Paradise" from "ATTYA"
    Giant Steps (that whole step line that PC plays)
    If I Were A Bell
    SHADE OF JADE in there.
    Short Story (Kenny Dorham -> Richard Davis)
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
    Jason Hollar likes this.

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