Important Players

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by SethCarter, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. SethCarter


    Jul 29, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    I was just wondering if there were any bassists/albums/cuts that you feel would be especially helpful, through studying and transcribing, in developing strong walking and overall bass playing.

    I would just like some advice on sorting through the vast amount of recordings that make up jazz.

    Thanks, Seth
  2. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    I have transcribed so many it is difficult to narrow the list down, but I will name a few. I think working with the blues is a place to start. From Oscar Peterson's "Night Train" try Ray Brown on "Night Train" and "C Jam Blues". On Peterson's "We Get Requests", Ray's bass is also very well recorded. Paul Chambers also played great basslines. Try any of the blues he recorded with Miles Davis, Red Garland Trio, or Wynton Kelly.
    These are a few personal favorites to start with. These records are good because one can hear the bass well.

    I invite other readers of this blog to respond with some of their favorite blues.
  3. SethCarter


    Jul 29, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks a lot! So I guess any trio recordings are pretty good since the bass will be pretty much out in the open correct? By the way, when you say transcribe do you suggest I do it first without my instrument on staff paper or just to simply learn it on the bass?
  4. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    I mentioned some of my favorite trio recordings that have clear recorded bass sound. There are many more out there and I look forward to hearing from others about theirs. Transcribing can be both on the instrument and on paper. There are benefits to both approaches. Learning it all by ear is great ear training. Remembering a whole tune is challenging for most of us. Writing it down helps your reading. One can write down what you can without the bass, but most people need to go to the instrument to check things out. If I am going to write out the transcription, I first make barlines neatly on the staff paper (4 bars per line) and make at least a whole chorus of empty bars with the chord symbols above. The first listening through, I lightly make a dot on the down beat over what I think the note is. The odds are high it will be the root. Depending on the tempo, you might be able to get other notes too. On other listenings, I fill in the rest and also sing out loud the lines as I hear them. Then I might go back again and pause after segments and figure out what I hear by singing and/or playing it on the bass. An A_B repeat function on a CD player is very useful for playing hard to hear segments over and over. Though I have never used one, many people find a slow-down program helpful.
    It is also good to analyze the lines in relation to the chords and direction the lines have through a progression.
    I hope this helps.
  5. SethCarter


    Jul 29, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Yeah those are great tips that I for sure will try. This should be good practice for my aural skills class as well (I'm actually a student at U.N.T.). Transcribing jazz seems a lot more fun than transcribing Bach for sure :).
  6. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    One of my favorites and I think the first thing I transcribed was "Whims of Chambers". It is a little more on the bop side but the melody is on bass and he also solos first. The bass is pretty up in the mix.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    I like trying to transcribe the bass part on the Abersold playalongs since I can pan it for bass/drums alone and I'm still pretty new to the process. There are some pretty hip players on those recordings too...Ron Carter, Rufus Reid, John Goldsby, Todd Coolman, et al...

    ...and, of course, Lynn Seaton. :bassist:

    I picked up Red Garland's Piano recently, and there's some good low-to-mid-tempo stuff there with Paul Chambers up in the mix. If Abersold's not your style you might want to check that out and see if it's to your liking.
  8. I've done some George Mraz, specifically his solo on the tune "Three In One" on a Pepper Adams recording I beleive. Also chek out Eddie Gomez. There is a good transcription floating around of his solo with Bill Evans on the tune and album name, "You Must Beleive in Spring." Eddie's sense of time is fantastic but deffinitely not for the begining transcriber.

    You don't have to stick to bass players. Try some Chet Baker to get started. :hyper:
  9. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    My earlier reply when I mentioned bass players to transcribe was geared to basslines only.
    I agree with Win that for soloing one would benefit from transcribing other instruments. Bass solos often suffer from what I call the "bass players disease Rootitis". That means we too often start and end our solos on roots. That is good when walking, but not the best melodic choice as a soloist. Other soloists to transcribe with wonderful clear ideas that frequently contain fewer notes include Johnny Hodges, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Jim Hall, Ahmad Jamal, Miles Davis, Houston Person, Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie. They all can say a lot with a little!
  10. Janss


    Apr 25, 2007
    Tacoma, Washington
    One of my favorite albums to listen to is Duke Ellington's Money Jungle. It's not a group you would expect, a trio include Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. It's a great album with strong bass. Also check out The Poll Winners. Another trio consisting of Barney Kessel, Shelly Manne, and Ray Brown. What are you guys listening to? I'm always looking for new things to listen to.
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    For Ray Brown, in addition to the things mentioned, he made 2 records that I know of with just he and piano, which are easy for me to hear; "This One's For Blanton" with Duke Ellinton and one or more with Jimmy Rowles. May have misspelled that, but you get the idea.

    I think Paul Chambers is well recorded and pretty in tune on Sonny Clark's "Cool Struttin'". He plays a chorus or two with just he and Miles on "Relaxin'" and probably on the other records from that series; cookin', working, etc.

    Ron Carter did a duo album with Jim Hall called Alone Together, which has a lot of sonic space from which to transcribe. If you're into Ron Carter. I've got some Dexter Gordon records from the 70's (on vinyl) where he seemed to have plugged himself straight into the board. The result is a Fenderesque tone that I don't particularly care for, but it's Ron Carter and it's very easy to hear.

    Mingus has a tendency to play sections of his arrangements unaccompanied or semi-unaccompanied too.

    Just my ideas of course.

  12. moonshiner

    moonshiner Guest


    You might want to check out some stuff with Israel Crosby (Ahmad Jamal Trio). Butch Warren plays some simple beautiful stuff with Dexter Gordon (A Swinging Affair, Go) and with many many others. Oscar Pettiford is another bass player. He did some stuff with Lucky Thompson that is truly fantastic. Richard Davis is my favorite bass player. He has recorded some great lines with Andrew Hill, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Elvin Jones, Eric Dolphy, etc. It is really great to transcribe music, but remember that those notes are nothing without a groove. I hope this helps. Cheers...
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Thus far my favorite person to transcribe is Ray Brown. His work is often deceptively simple. In that he's doing really tasty stuff that is pretty easy to figure out what goes on the page, the challenge lies in getting it to feel and sound like he did. With Ray's work, there's such a variety in the notey-ness that you can find something that is suitable for where you are at in the journey. It's why i started with Blues Out where it is mostly diatonic and repetitive.

    This semester is the first one that i haven't transcribed a Ray Brown line/piece. So far i've done: You Are My Sunshine [head + walk] off of Walk On, The Real Blues [groove, walk, solo] off of The Best of the Concord Years, and Blues Out [head + walk] off of Don't Forget the Blues.

    This semester i'm transcribing a Charlie Haden solo off of his "The Art of Song" called "Why Did i Choose You?" w.Bill Hendersen and Quartet West. This has been the most challenging transcription for me yet as i do not feel that my ear is where i'd like it to be. I am learning a lot through this transcription. I also have learned that sometime in my career i would love to have a bass setup with guts. I really like the tone.

    I'd recommend finding people who you like how they sound and transcribe as much of their work as you can.
  14. Craig Akin

    Craig Akin Craig Akin Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2004
    New York City
    Charlie Haden playing 'Turnaround' on Josh Redman's 'Wish'
    Dave Holland playing 'Phrancing' on Joe Henderson's 'So Near So Far'
    also, the duo records on Muse label of Ron Carter and Houston Person, great for really hearing the bass and getting new ideas.

  15. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I've learned PC's Blue Spring, although I don't have a recording of it. It's a goodin. Mingus played some good stuff, although 'out there' on Ellington's Money Jungle. I like his passion; all about the heart with Mingus.
  16. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I just picked up Ron Carter's new CD, Dear Miles and highly recommend it for anyone that digs that great '60's group; who doesn't.:confused:

    Anyway, Mr. C does some good stuff on Bag's Groove, although I hear the Rootitis creeping in. I think I'll cop some lines from this - I already have stuff that sounds a bit similar, but will have to pay attention to maybe inverting some things.
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