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In need of a comprehensive book on jazz bass

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Basschair, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Hi folks,

    I've done the searches and have come up with a few book suggestions, but wanted to lay out what I'm looking for in case someone would be able to stear me in the right direction. I'm looking for a book (or books) that will do the following:

    1. guide through beginning jazz bass lines, and explain what's going on and why.

    2. discuss voicings and again explain the why behind things.

    3. a how to read and interpret charts.

    I know that just reading books won't do it all, that playing is a must. I've got guys to play with, I just need to bring some knowhow to the table. I've got all kinds of classical theory under my belt, but have never studied jazz. I plan on the listening/transcribing approach as well, but I'm one who really wants to know the "why": why does this note/chord/tonality push you towards another and why does this work well with this, etc.

    So, thanks in advance for any help you can give!
  2. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    The Jazz Theory Book
    by Mark Levine

    The Evolving Bassist
    by Rufus Reid

    Oh and a good teacher. Much of this stuff will make a whole lot more sense if there is someone to ask questions of.
  3. What fingers said.

    And you definitely have to get The Jazz Bass Book by John Goldsby. More about it here.
  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Golden advice. Total +1 from me.
  5. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Thanks guys. I do have the Goldsby book, and think it's great. I've got to spend more time with it, and have got to find a jazz teacher in my area. Luckily the Brubeck Institute is just down the way, so there should be someone lurking around.
  6. What do folks think of Chuck Sher's The Improviser's Bass Method?

    Me, I found it very useful. There isn't quite enough on technique, but as far as making up lines and expanding on melodic ideas, it's pretty cool. Plus, you get some fun transcriptions in the appendix: Ray Brown, Richard Davis, Jimmy Garrison, etc.
  7. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    Mark Levine's books...
  8. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004

    I like it. I use it extensively with my students.


    I would never recommend it to a person without a teacher. It is a great book with great concepts but unless you are already pretty knowledgable, I think it can get confusing.
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I have both Goldsby's book and Levine's book (and took a workshop with him a while back). Both are nice, but so far, the teacher has been most useful. I hardly ever touch the books.

    I'd rather dump all my resources into finding the best teacher I can lay my hands on, even if it meant driving 3 hours to take a lesson But then again, I'm weird. I take one 2-hr lesson about every 3 months and go home and shed on the giant homework assignment til I'm ready for the next one.
  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Does anyone have experience with the book "Concepts in Bass Soloing"?
  11. groove100


    Jan 22, 2005

    There is a DVD out there for The Evolving Bassist.

    And just to add

    "Bottom Line" by Todd Coleman.
  12. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004

    Marc Johnson?

    great book!!!

    Some of the stuff is pretty hard but Marc Johnson is one of the most lyrical soloists on bass. Give a very methodical insight into some of his outstanding ideas.

    I also really like 'Melodic Solo in Thumb Position' by Michael Moore. Both of these books do a great job of trying to make bassists less root based soloists.
  13. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    It sounds like I need to check it out. Does he explain conceptually approaching soloing or just give written examples/etudes?

    I decided to work through the Rufus Reid and Ray Brown books again. I slogged through them in spurts a few years ago, but my playing and reading are enough better now that I think with a couple of hours a night, I can burn through them in a few weeks. Like most people I have a decent library that I haven't really made good use of.

    Being a less roots based soloist is a need of mine, though. Seems like it would be easier than it is...just avoid the roots...

    It's just hard for me to shift gears from laying it down.

  14. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    It is good that you are aware that you are playing roots, but remember, a root is just a note.

    If a root is what you HEAR, then a root is what you should play. If you are playing roots because you hand knows where they are, then I respectfully must recommend that you stop, breathe, and play less notes.

    Let 2 or 4 or 6 bars go by before you play the first note of your solo. Literally wait for a line to come to you and then try to play it on the bass. If you can't play exactly what you hear, don't worry about it. You will, in time. Just use the idea in your head as your reson to play whatever it is that you end up playing. Practice playing what you hear by putting yourself in the right mindset or waiting and thinking before you play. It will come.

    But don't dis roots just bedcause they're roots. :)
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    What a great response! Thank you. It's a journey for me.
  16. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    tzadik. I agree with everything you said. I think that the problem that plagues many bass players is that our role changes when we become soloists.

    I'll never forget the first lesson I took with a great bass player in Chicago, Eric Hochberg. First thing we did was play a few standards. I think one was 'All The Things'. When we were finished he looked at me and said... "that was great but you solo like a bass player". His point was that what I played was harmonically correct but lacked melody and lyricisim.

    Those books I mentioned really helped me. Both offer very good explanations about the concepts behind the ideas.
  17. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Phew. Good thing you're not a sax player cuz that could've been taken as an insult. :eyebrow:
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    What tzadik said. But also check out this and that.
  19. paintballjunkie


    Jul 27, 2005
    Is the jazz theory book written in notation? Im thinking about buying it but I need to know if I should learn to read music first.
  20. You'll need to read and preferably be able to find your way around a keyboard as well.