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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by ZonGuy, Apr 21, 2009.
I love Mingus but his technique in the mid 60's wasn't right either. I have no idea how he was able to play so well.
Ray Brown has *the* technique. His left hand clearly shows every note he is playing, and is very much in a Simandl tradition. Rufus Reid also has a very "proper" left hand. Many other guys have their own thing happening, but as far as posture and positioning of everything, Brown and Reid would be great examples to follow.
IMHO, George Mraz has the most perfect technique. No wasted motion. Perfect balance of poise and function. Check out the Youtube video that was circulating here. Joe Lovano trio w/ Mraz and Al Foster. I studied with Rufus in high school and while I love his playing, his physical approach is not what I'm trying to emulate. He always plays sitting and has a very soft right hand attack. He has humongous hands, so he's getting a ton of meat on the string even with a soft attack. Now I've never been a fan of his soling, but if you watch an earlier 60's video of Ron Carter his poise is amazing. The PERFECT rythym feel and amazing balance in terms of physical position. Dave Holland is different, but has very effective technique. He plays the bass more like a piano. His right hand attack is almost always the same, but is letter perfect rythmically.
While Ray Brown is the starting point for modern jazz double bass, I think that his technique is less legato than someone like Ron Carter who I think was the next step after Ray in bass functional evolution. Same perfect ryhthmic thump, but now the notes are more connected with a bit less bounce. Marc Johnson has awesome technique and a huge variety of right hand articulation.
Marco Panascia's clips are pretty great too.
here is the video of mraz with lovano and foster:
man, both mraz and panascia have beautiful technique. anybody know who mraz studied with?
Mraz as well as Miroslav studied with Frantisek Posta, one of Europe's finest bassists and teachers. (no longer with us)
Man, checked out the duets with Mario and Dario. Mario sounded great, but Dario KILLED me. Never heard of him before. WOW.
Technically speaking, Ray Brown was very Simandl rooted but his left hand position got lazy (same with Christian McBride). Doesn't mean he's using bad fingerings or "incorrect fingerings," but the shape and all that aren't pristine. He's still my favorite bassist of all time though
LOL, my broadband connection can't keep up with Patitucci.
Now, for the sake of argument, just because someone's hands look less than text-book doesn't necessarily indicate "bad" technique. Ever seen Edgar Meyer? His left hand in the lower third of the bass is far from standard, but... have you ever heard him play a note out of tune? It's too bad schools don't teach insane bluegrass fingering. It's the new Simandl, haven't you heard?
A lot of what is considered "proper bass technique" has changed and will change. What Francois Rabbath devised that was looked upon as "improper technique" is now the basis for many players technique. 30 years ago I thought I was pretty cool in that I was taking thumb position way back (past the heel) And then I found out that many guys were doing that. It was just logical. ( I saw Dennis Trembly , principal in La take it all the way back and just tear up the classical solo repetoire )
It's interesting to see videos of Wes Montgomery. The most beautiful swinging legato lines. His left hand looked TERRIBLE. Really awkward and spastic looking. But when I closed my eyes, WOW. I was uncomfortable watching it. It just goes to show you----you have a sound in your head and if you want to badly enough you will find a way to make it work. Most of the great advances in technique are from guys that just found a way to get what was in their heads out through their instruments.
As always, technique has to serve the music... not the other way around.
A Simandl student might be taken aback by Michael Moore's left hand, but he is playing Streicher all the way.
An interesting thing one of my teachers said once:
"Oscar Peterson and Thelonius Monk. Who had better technique?"
"They both had exactly the technique they needed to play the music they wanted to play"
Wow! Scott Colley is REALLY great!
Django had pretty decent chops without fingers.