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Need help with a jazz group I'm trying to get into.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jiant., Mar 30, 2005.

  1. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    The college I'm going to (OVC www.ovc.edu) has a Jazz Band and offers scholarships if you get accepted into it. I met the instructor today and he said that his bassist is graduating and wants me to try out. I have a few weeks until tryouts and he said that I can play pretty much anything I want to. He also said that it would be good if I could do a walking bassline or somthing like that. I've never played jazz bass, and I've only been playing for 2 1/2 years. I know notes on the fretboard and stuff, but I can't read music all that well, but he told me that wouldn't be an issue. So if you have any ideas on what I should do to prepare for this, or where I could find tabs for a good "walking bassline" that would be much appreciated. Thanks and God bless. -Brad
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    People spend a lifetime trying to hone their "walking the bass" skills.
    It's more than just playing the correct/proper notes, too. There's a certain feel that's involved & expected.
    ...and improvising the walking so it doesn't sound too rehearsed.
    And then's there's dynamics.

    Since you have a 'few weeks'...I would listen to nothing but the recordings of the greats: Jimmy Blanton, Oscar Pettiford, Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, etc.
    There's some "Walking Bass" books out there(Ed Friedland, Jamey Aebersold, etc)...there's some "Walking Bass" websites, too.
    IIRC, Adam Nitti's website had a "Walking Bass" primer.

    Hint: Learn to read.
    Even if you're just reading the quarter notes in one of the "Walking Bass" resourses mentioned above. You gotta start somewwhere.
  3. How could you forget to tell him to listen to Mr. PC :) Listen to Paul Chambers!

    If you're auditioning on electric bass you should listen to some good electric bassists as well... steve swallow, john patitucci, tom kennedy (dave weckyl band), etc.

    I would focus on getting a good swing feel in your walking lines, that is what they will be listening for. Solo chops are good to have but there will be plenty of time for that later, you just want to show them you can swing. If you have time you may also want to review appropriate bass lines for bossa and samba tunes as a lot of university bands usually put one or two latin tunes on a recital.
  4. I would learn a basic "walk" for a "blues" in Bb. Remember you're gonna be playin' with horns.

    Next I would work on walking over "Rhythm Changes" ... in case you don't know, this is the common reference to the chord progression from "I've got Rhythm".

    Last I would learn the "hook" and a simple modal walk from Miles Davis "So What" (two chords for the whole tune, Dm7 & Ebm7, usually).

    These tunes will give you a liitle "street cred" in the jazz world, they're not too hard, and you should be able to find resources for these online.

    What has been said so far about listening, and artists to listen to, is absolutely great advice, you need the sound in your head, as well as the moves under your fingers.

  5. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I've got the Ed Friedland book mentioned above. I would get this book and read it. It'll talk you through many ways of walking bass and most importantly-will give you ideas that you can turn to in a crutch [e.g. just doin a basic 1 3 5 3 ] while going deep enough to where you can continue to study from this book for awhile.

    The more i think about walking bass more i begin to wonder where it all started and "why?" certain notes work-beyond the chord tones. This will sound bad and i know the more hip guys can totally burn me on this-but at times, i think it started off as guys sayin "hey-dig this" and just started playing notes that sound good and made up the reasons why they sound good later e.g. follows the quote "if it sounds good, it is good". However, i have no desire to open up that can of worms. Have Fun.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I've talked to dozens of Jazz pro bass players and they definitely know why all the notes work...:meh:

    But if you're talking about how it all got started - it was probably a piano player who did know all the notes/resolutions - who "hipped" the bass player to this!! ;)
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Yes, that was very foolish on my part.
    ...and there is a Paul Chambers' book out there; I think Bass Player just reviewed it a couple issues back(along wth a Sam Jones book).
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    They do now; how 'bout the guys that were the 'uneducated' innovators?
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That was covered in the second part of my post!! ;)

    Or maybe I should have said : :meh: .....? :)

    That post was a bit facetious - although true for some, no doubt - obviously, different people learnt in different ways - a friendly pianist, a clued-up bebopper, sax player etc.

    And some just had great ears and played Blues or Rhythm chages so often, they worked out all the possible substitutions, alternative scales, resolutions etc. etc. for themselves!

    I think that's the big difference - more playing and less learning, then - whereas today there are more learning resources available - but probably less playing opportunities....:(
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Yeah, I was wondering where the :meh: went off to.
    AFAIK, no pianist hipped Blanton onto his thing.

    Agree. Sad, but true.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Not even the Duke...?

    I don't really know, but I got the impression that most Jazz bassist learned at the side of pianists - especially about chord subs and resolutions - but really the answer, is a lot of listening!!
  12. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Thanks for all the help guys..it looks like I have my work cut out for me.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Getting a Real Book will come in handy, once you pass the audition.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    IMHO, not even Duke.
    Ellington had a few bassists throughout his long career...who else played liked Blanton?