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It all stops when the Jazz Bass player solos(?)

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Bass Camel, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. I'm new to Jazz, and soon to be new to double bass :D

    I've gone along to watch some local gigs and Jam sessions and I've noticed that more often than not the whole band stops when the Bass player starts his solo. Even the drums on a few occasions.

    Is this the norm?

    My first guess was that it's because an unamplified DB can be quite quiet.

    I'm not losing any sleep over it but I am interested.

  2. bass_means_LOW


    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    If the bass was in fact unamplified, then that may very well have been a reason. Also, all bassists have different preferences-others laying out may have been the bass player's call. Most likely the reason may have been that the bassist was stretching out of the given time and/or out of the compositions' harmonic structure, whether wittingly or not. This would have left the other players no option but to lay out.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    All the band stops, but the conversations begin :)
  4. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Oh no...drums stop! ...very bad!! Come, we must go!!! Bass solo next!!!!
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I've been going to Jazz gigs every week for the last 10 years or so and DB solos are usually a quieter interlude - it gives contrast to the peformance - but I think the reason is as you guess, that when DBs were unamplified it was usually the only way to be heard -and this "tradition" has persisted even when DBs are amplified.

    I think that it doesn't have to be like this - but if it's good Jazz, then the other players should be listening and responding appropriately - so if the bass solo is inaudible, then they should lay back or lay out - they should be playing at the volume that allows everybody to be heard.

    I think the other thing is that bass frequencies are harder to hear for audiences, so the rest of the band are giving as much chance as possible.

    It is possible in good venues, for good musicians to grab an audience's attention by playing very quietly - I've seen it happen many times. Of course it is a very difficult thing to do and so as Ray says, more often than not, the audience will treat this as an "interval" to get their drinks from the bar!! :D
  6. Thanks to you all, Jazz is a real journey for me. I haven't been as enthusiastic about playing for ages.

    And Basshole, A lecturer at Uni told me a variation on the jungle drums joke when he heard I played bass. I'd forgotten all about it.


  7. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    Why do they stop even when there's an electric bass solo? Not to mention the fact that the drummer seems to drop the time slightly... :crying:
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think this is necessarily the case - so, I've seen two or three Jazz groups with BG as a featured soloist in the UK and the solos can be loud and exciting with full participation of the rest of the band.

    Two that others might have heard of, are Billy Cobham and the Zawinul Syndicate - so in both these, the bass (BG) features were pretty loud!! ;)

    But as I mentioned - only a few of the Jazz gigs I've seen, out of hundreds and hundreds in the last few years, have had BG - over 95% have had DB. Given that personnel rotates a lot on Jazz and people will be playing in various combinations with deps/substitutes - then most Jazz musicians will be working with DB players most of the time - so probably would do what they normally do on a bass solo - whether BG or DB....? They probably see it as "common courtesy".
  9. Yeah I think a lot of people think it's what ALL bass players want. Personally, I want someone comping under my solos, moreso when I'm doing BG than DB though. I've seen a couple of bass players use the fact that no one comps under them as an excuse to not really follow the harmony.

    I usually mention to the pianist or guitarist that I like to have comping during solos and most guys are cool with it and more often than not they will comp in a way that lets you still be heard but heard in the context of the harmony of the tune.
  10. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002

    and the China starts clinking...

    i have a story. I was at a show in Philly by a well known bassist. During one of his solos many poeple in the place started yakking.. he walked up to the mic and started talking and finally just yelled "Shut the **** Up !!!"

    Needless to say that got everyone's attention. The talking ceased, the clapping began, and the bass solo went on...

    It brought a tear to my eye...