Jeff Berlin?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Baryonyx, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Okay, I'm just looking at what CD's to order for Christmas...I'm looking for a bit of the old "virtuoso" bass playing...

    So far, I've already got a lot of Stanley Clarke and Jonas Hellborg in the basket (I love those guys) but now I'm looking at some Jeff Berlin. I have no idea what this guy sounds like, apart from being told that he was doing solo bass before Jaco did and that it never really took off.

    I'm looking at his records "Crossroads" and "Taking notes". Which one should I go for, and why? They are the only ones available to me at the time, but since they're not reviewed, I was just hoping someone here could help guide me.
  2. hvacfreak


    Feb 12, 2004
  3. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Explain to me how he's so anticipation for the cd's to arrive may build...

    Thats a good site, very interesting...
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    IIRC, Crossroads is Berlin's 1st two solo albums (Champion & Pump It) compiled onto a single disc.
    FWIW, I prefer Champion over Pump It.

    Taking Notes is more recent(from the '90s)...I think I actually prefer that over the above mentioned earlier albums.

    Truthfully, I prefer Berlin(& everyone else for that matter) within a band/group-
    Kazumi Watanbe's Spice Of Life or Holdsworth's Road Games or Bill Bruford's band.

    Berlin has chops galore & can solo in a horn-like vibe. He can groove in a busy Rocco-Jaco way & can play chordal solo bass pieces. Berlin's tone on a fretted bass can almost trick you into thinking it's a fretless bass.

    Berlin is one of the original Fusionners(along with Stanley, Jaco, Bunny Brunnel, & maybe even Percy Jones).
  5. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Funny!...I was just playing all the old Bruford albums last night....they still sound awesome, and Berlin's playing is off the chain. To me Crossroads has some great playing, but suffers from some 80's production. His last album Lumpy Jazz has some very scary playing on it.......Jeff is one of the best electric bassist for playing through changes IMHO :ninja:
    On the first two Bruford albums you also get to hear world class Alan Holdsworth, also worth price of admission :bassist:
    When I was listening to the Bruford albums last night, I remembered how much they blew me away back in '78!......can you tell I'm excited :hyper: :D :cool:
  6. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Wow!....I just noticed on his website that he has a album coming out with Dennis Chambers, and one of my favorite guitar players David Fiuczynski!........note to self. ;)
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    That should be an interesting record.
  8. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Get all of them! My personal favorite is Pump It followed by Lumpy Jazz. Taking Notes is very good too. Berlin's writing is always interesting and he can still burn with anybody out there.
  9. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    So I'm going to be wowed with technical ability if I buy a record of his?
  10. hvacfreak


    Feb 12, 2004
    You will at least hear things that you wont be able to play ( or at least execute as well ).
  11. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    "Dixie", from Champion and Crossroads is one of the greatest unheralded bass anthems of all time, IMO.

    While Jeff's technique is impeccable and amazing, it's only there to allow the music to exist. In other words, listen to the music, not the technique.

    Crossroads is a good compilation, imo. Taking Notes is good, but I haven't heard the other new discs.
  12. Monomer


    Jul 22, 2005
    Anyone thats in the detroit area around april 23ish can see him live, for very little$$

    and it includes quite a few other bands.

    /shameless internet plug.
    (shoot me a PM)
  13. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC/JAM USA: Distributor of Ashdown amplification
    also check out Bill Bruford "One of a Kind". Berlin in the early days used to slap like a demon which you'll hear on this album.

    I attended a master class by him in 1980 where he showed his slap technique. Now he looks down his nose at it.
  14. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    He's also a wonderful educator as I understand it. His 'anti-tab' rants are funny - and true imho.
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Berlin was a major influence on me back in the day... has anyone mentioned "Water on the Brain " yet ?
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I mentioned Road Games above.

    One of the best clinics I ever attended was led by Berlin(early/mid '80s)...Yamaha was the sponsor, Berlin was playing some sorta prototype.
    Berlin's stories were almost as good as his playing.
  17. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Jeff Berlin is, as has been said above, a great bassist - one of the best, in my view.

    The Bruford albums are terrific. I saw them live in about 1980 (supporting Brand X) and was knocked out by the whole band. "One of a Kind" is definitely worth a listen - superb music, great bass playing and, as mentioned, Allan Holdsworth on guitar. Gradually Going Tornado also has some very, very good tracks on it. Don't underestimate "The Unknown John Clarke" who took over from Holdsworth at that point, he too is a fantastic guitarist.

    I also really like the Bruford Tapes live album (actually taken from a radio broadcast) - sound quality is obviously rough compared to the studio stuff, but the energy in the playing and the live atmosphere are just tremendous. Again, this one is Clarke on guitar rather than Holdsworth. Most of the material is from the first two Bruford albums (Feels Good To Me / One of a Kind).

    If you're interested in hearing Jeff in this band and want a recommendation for ONE album to try first, go for One of a Kind.
  18. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    + 100
    did anyone happen to catch Jeff filling in for Jimmy Johnson on the Arsenio Hall show about 100 years ago?
    Arsenio noticed the bass player was different, so he asked Jeff " can you slap that thing ?" and Jeff answered with a short flurry - it was classic-
    Jeff was the one guy giving Jaco a run for his money back when Jaco was the word around town.
  19. Lorenzini

    Lorenzini Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Jaco had admitted to Jeff that he was the one guy that could solo better than he, but also said he would never tell the press that.

    Jeff is still against slapping, but is very VERY capable!

    As far as the best JB album?
    In my opinion, Lumpy Jazz! It's his latest but it's his greatest, to me.
  20. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Owner/Builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    THAT's going to be awesome! Gotta love Fuze!

    I love Jeff's playing too. I spent a week in the summer of 2000 at one of his one week intensives in Clearwater. I'd love to go back for a year.