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jazz without roles

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by noam, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. noam


    Nov 29, 2007
    Hello Janek,

    I'm interested in jazz ensemble forms that allow the bassist to play more freely than, for example, walking, even when playing a standard ... I have listened to some "free" playing, such as in the music of Ornette Coleman, but am wondering if you can point me towards any recordings of tunes (especially standards) where the idea is that the melody and its harmony and rhythm are going on by themselves in peoples heads, and don't need to be outlined by the bass (or drums, piano, etc) all the time -- the bass can play for example one staccato note over the space of 2 bars, or 15 notes in 1 bar, and maybe partly because the tune and its structure are so well known, the improvisation can be very free from all players, with no assumption that the bass and drums are there for support.

  2. TripleDouble

    TripleDouble Guest

    Aug 5, 2008
    no bass player on it, but "songs we know" by fred hersch and bill frisell has a lot of this. It's a dreamy, mellow listen with lots of interplay and melodic and harmonic neatness. A And subscribed.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Miles Davis Quintet - The Plugged Nickel Sessions
    Paul Motian - Broadway (1 & 2 )
  4. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    You might like Scott Lafaro. Get some Bill Evans stuff.
  5. noam


    Nov 29, 2007
    Thanks for the replies. I listened to cuts off of the Plugged Nickel (Stella By Starlight) and Motian Broadway (Liza) recordings, but both still feature bass in an accompanying role...will look into other cuts of those records that are online (the Plugged Nickel discs seem to be out of print). I guess I'm thinking of a kind of group improvisation where there is absolutely no preconceived notion that the bass (and drums) are any less a part of the front line than any other instruments at any time during the tune, yet are playing standards. I'm sure this has been done, and will keep searching around.
  6. beggar98


    Jan 23, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    There's an album of standards Jaco recorded with a guy named Brian Melvin. It was later in Jaco's life, and the playing isn't the greatest, but the bass is definitely in a non-traditional role. There are some good ideas there, even if the execution isn't so great.

    For a completely different direction, check out anything by Wayne Shorter's current quartet with John Patitucci on bass. Not exactly standards, though there are a couple of interesting live takes on "Footprints". No one in that band plays a traditional role.
  7. Tampabass

    Tampabass Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    no roles, just right.
  8. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    keith jarrett, younger keith jarrett played with Charlie Haden which is one of the pioneers of avant garde jazz. Generally standards are not played in "avant garde style".

    Guys like Scott Lafaro played more open and did not stick to the traditional walking lines exclusively, however they are following the form of the tunes at all times. Lafaro would play in a non traditional way but never overplayed Bill Evans, and Bill Evans never overplayed Lafaro. They played together as a trio.

    If you are looking for the bass to be completely independent from the band while playing a standard and disregard the form of the tune then thats not going to be easy to find.
  9. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    New York/Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://videobasslessons.tv
    wow, looks like everyone had some killer suggestions for the question in this thread! I'm a big fan of creating tension by moving outside the change, even when playing quite defined harmony. To be in control of the tension and the release can really add many new dimensions to the dynamics of a performance.