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Natalie Cole - Route 66 bass madness

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tonegasm, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    Having a really hard time figuring out the bass line to this song. Doesn't help that I can't read music. :oops: Can anyone offer any tips that might help me out with figuring this out?

  2. angryclown5

    angryclown5 Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    Nederland, Colorado
    Do you know the chords to the song?

    It's 12 bar blues with a couple of chord substitutions. Chords change quicker at the turnaround.

    I | IV | I | I | IV | IV | I | vi | ii (or II)| V7 | I vi | ii V7|

    Straight walking quarter notes moving from one chord to the next by arpeggio or triad motion, or scale motion, or chromatic motion.

    That's a nice version of Rte 66.
  3. The "bass madness" you are hearing is simply Ray Brown playing "walking" style over a standard blues progression. If you are new to this style, there is no shame in not picking it up immediately; Ray Brown would be on any jazz bassist's top 10 list and learning to play like him is not an overnight project. He has published a bass method you can study, and there are also many fine free walking bass lessons here on these forums. (Be sure to drop by the Double Bass subforum to read all about Ray Brown; he is very influential.)

    The important thing is not to learn the part note for note (unless that is your assignment from your teacher or bandleader) but rather to know the chord progression and how to construct your own walking lines. You might start by playing the "roots" of each chord and jamming along with the recording, then move on to connecting the chords using various walking bass techniques. Be patient, set realistic goals, practice a little each day, and find jazz musicians to jam with.

    Good luck! :)
  4. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    I believe the chords are the same as Nat King's version.

    I'm afraid I don't know what the Roman numerals you wrote mean. :oops:


  5. I think I see the problem. Throw that chord sheet in the trash and trust your ears. If you're in over your head (no shame in that; you have selected a very difficult task for your first introduction to jazz---Ray Brown was kind of like the Babe Ruth of jazz bass) then ask your teacher for help and/or take advantage of the many excellent jazz bass tutorials/lessons online or at the bookstore/library. If you want to learn "what the Roman numerals mean" then you can easily educate yourself; the information is readily available. :)
  6. ^^^Yes, do not use those changes.
  7. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    Thanks, everyone. The band wants to do it in the key of C, not sure how to do this.
  8. angryclown5

    angryclown5 Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    Nederland, Colorado
    Ok, the roman numerals correspond to these chords in the key of E:

    I | IV | I | I | IV | IV | I | vi | ii (or II)| V7 | I vi | ii V7 |
    E | A | E | E | A | A | E |C#m| F#m | B7 | E C#m | F#m B7|

    The C#minors could be C#7 chords.

    Simple walking bass rules:
    In each bar play 4 notes.
    The first note is the root of the chord ( E chord root = the note E).
    The second note is the third of the chord ( E chord third = G#) .
    Third note is the fifth of the chord ( E chord fifth = B)
    The last note in each bar is a 1/2 step below the next chord coming up in the next bar, aka "passing tone". (E chord moving to A chord = play G#)
    The last 2 bars have 2 chords per bar instead of 1. Each chord gets just 2 beats: the root and the passing tone.
    These are dead simple rules to outline the chords on tunes like this. Many different notes can be played. Start with these, listen to the Natalie Cole version (good, prominent bass) and see if you can pick up any variations to add to your bass part.
    See if you can make these rules work all the way through the piece. As someone mentioned, it is not the easiest music to start with, but its not too hard to figure out roots, 3rds, 5ths, and passing tones. And it is extremely satisfying when you begin to hear how it works.

    Hope this helps.
  9. angryclown5

    angryclown5 Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    Nederland, Colorado
    Chords in C:
    I | IV | I | I | IV | IV | I | vi | ii (or II)| V7 | I vi | ii V7 |
    C| F | C | C| F | F | C |Am7| Dm7 | G7| C Am| Dm G7|
  10. I thought "listen to it over and over again until you learn the notes" and/or "read Ray Brown's book where he teaches you step-by-step exactly how to play like him" were two pretty good suggestions of mine. :)

    What is your time-table for learning this? If you are looking for shortcuts then I think you're going to have to be honest with your bandmates that you're in over your head; maybe the guitarist or keyboard player can teach you a simple bassline that works over the chords, for purposes of helping the band to sound good? You could vastly simplify the line from what Ray Brown plays on that recording and it will still sound fine (assuming your singer is Natalie Cole quality ;)).

    Here is a hint to get you started: if you are playing in the key of C, then what Roman numeral do you think you should apply to a C chord? I? II? III? XVII?
  11. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    Thanks, starting to come together.

    To make this worse - the Natalie COle version seems to be recorded in F.
  12. This is why jazz musicians learn the Roman numeral system.
  13. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    This explain why I can't grasp this. I've never played a lick of jazz in my life. Have to learn this song by next week for an audition. :hyper:
  14. Reading this thread makes me thankful that I learnt music theory over the past 8 years. Now who said that stuff was useless? :p
  15. What are you auditioning for? Which other songs are you learning, and are you feeling more confident about them? Is it important that you specifically learn "Route 66" in the Natalie Cole/Ray Brown arrangement, or does the band play primarily in a different style? (Like: it's a rock band and Rt. 66 is their one jazz/blues number they toss in for variety.)

    I would encourage you to immediately book an emergency private lesson with a jazz teacher (doesn't even need to be a bass player) if you hope to pass this audition.

    If that's not an option and you must proceed solely on your own: The performance is exactly 7 "choruses" long (plus intro and outro), so simply learn 1 chorus per day and you'll be ready in 1 week's time (but don't forget to transpose to C unless you want funny looks ;)).
  16. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    The audition is for a party/wedding band. This is the only real jazz number I see in their setlist. I feel confident with the rest of the music as it's not super jazzy/technical.

    I may have to grab a lesson. I feel like this song was slipped into the mix to really weed out most weaklings auditioning (like me!).
  17. LOL I think you will do OK on the audition. :)

    There are a bunch of 12-bar blues walking bass line TABs here on this very site; just learn a few of the easier patterns that approximately match the feel & tempo of the song, and you should do fine. The two most important things are 1) to keep good time/feel; and 2) "make the changes" (play roots & chord tones on the strong beats). Oh and don't miss the cue for the bridge ("now you go through st. looey...") cuz that's always embarrassing. ;)
  18. ps I just looked on Youtube and there is an awesome 9-part master class with Ray Brown. It probably won't be directly applicable to your audition next week, but will definitely give you something to aspire to, as well as an appreciation for the man and his musical philosophies. :)
  19. In terms of what patterns you can play over those changes, you are primarily a rock player, correct? Have you ever listened to any blues-influenced rock, like: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cream, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, anything in the "rockabilly" genre, etc.? Blues is in the DNA of rock, so you probably know how to play the blues without knowing that you do. Just trust your ears and experience! :)

    Even if you have zero experience in the style, you can just play the "root" of the chord along with the rhythmic pulse of drummer. That's a good skill to have in any genre. :D
  20. Zoe78


    Mar 22, 2014
    I was looking for the bass line for this one and I bumped into this topic - so, lublin, did you found a tab for this bass line after all? Did it work well on the audition?
    The solution I found was dumped by my drum player as "too much rock" (I was doing a walking on root-third, fifth-sixth to seventh and back). It was actually working (even though i was playing 8 notes in the first chord for example while the piano was switching chrods between I and IV, and it was warking precisly do to the sixth to seven part and than back to six, for it was underling the chord change I-IV), what lacked it was the "mood"
    Also tried a root - third - cromatic to the fifth, or root - cromatic to the fifth line (for both I and IV, than on the V playing just a root chord and a cromatic passage to the 4°). refused as well by the band: "no, it's not the sound".
    I personaly do not like a simple root - third - fifth and than a cromatic passage to the next chord stile of playing, for I find it too simple.
    So I wonder - what was your solution...
    p.s. thx for ray brown master class lesson hint...