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Oh. for a Muse of Fire or Ed's Shotgun Approach

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Ed Fuqua, Apr 30, 2004.


  1. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, there's enough crap up that somebody's got to dislike SOMETHING.
    Now's yer chance to use those Slings and Arrows....
     
  2. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Ed,

    I need to listen to your new stuff at home on better speakers, but I did want to comment on Bittern & Pintail. Can I just say how incredibly cool I thought this was. I mean everything, the groove, the loose approach, I just dug it.

    As the son of a wildlife biologist who has been on more bird counts and an avid duck hunter (whose personal favorite happens to the ol' whistling pintail), the concept was just great.

    Well written.

    My only negative comment comes out of jealousy, you royal bastard. While I have to play 99% of the time with guys who don't play anything written after 1950, you get to do all this great communicative stuff. Not that I'm complaining; I'm at a point where any playing opportunity is a chance to imprive.

    BTW, I'll post a review later of Dave Berkman's concert Tuesday. The interplay between Ugonna Okegwo and Gerald Cleaver was something to listen to. Gerald Cleaver left me speechless; what a drummer.

    Cheers,

    Monte
     
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There's a bassist, Chris Lightcap, has a couple of records out on FRESH SOUNDS that has Gerald in the rhythm section (to great effect). Tony Malaby and Bill McKenna on tenors.
     
  4. Ok, here goes. General observations. I really love your sound. Listening to you and some others like Ben Street, Peter Washington, and rediscovering Scott LaFaro, I am falling for the sound and feel which is generated by players using gut strings. I have used spiros for 14 years, but I think soon I'm going to take the plunge...In my recent unhealthy obsession with getting a better amplified sound, I am reminded that you still need to get a good acoustic sound first. As you put it, garbage in , garbage out. Or as Rufus put it, if you have a puny acoustic sound, then amplify it, you will just have a loud but puny amplified sound.

    I like the strength and conviction with which you play, and that you have no reservation about playing simply when the situation warrants. Young players should take note of this - that often a simple, well executed part serves the music better than one that is technically challenging. Especially when it challenges not only one's technique but one's sense of good taste.

    Tunes:
    The Moon, Einstein, Bittern. This really falls under the category of personal taste, but I find these tunes too bland harmonically. I understand that they are supposed to be that way, but I long for some twists and turns, unexpected modultions, progressions, chord structures. I also realize that those things are meaningless to most non-musician listeners, and by themselves don't make for good composition. It's just too triadic for my liking. That said, I do like the groove and melody of Bittern. I liked it on it's own, then when I read the description of the tune it all made sense. I thought that the horns didn't have to play backgrounds the whole tune, though. Too repetitive. I prefer to hear the typical texture change, give the soloist some breathing space, give the listener a break from constant horns. Then it's more effective when the melody returns.

    As you might guess, I enjoyed the Bill Evans piece, and the blues. Haven't got to Some Other Time yet. It's late, I'm falling asleep. Manana.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Thanks, I been putting a LOT of work in on this.

    I have no reservation and I also have very little in the way of chops and facility, which helps with the whole "simple" approach. Seriously, I like the point you make about playing what it takes to serve the music and have considered having "Just Shut Up" tattooed across my forehead as a reminder. Trying to just play what I hear and ONLY what I hear helps.

    Fair enough. The things I really enjoy about playing with this group are the level of interaction between the pianist, drummer and myself, the interaction between the rhythm section and the horns, the way that Jeff has adapted the language of his improvisational approach to composition, and generally being outside the 4 on the floor "box". But it's also some of the things that I enjoyed hearing in your recordings. And I think it's great that there can be such a shared similarity of conception without both groups sounding simply like a version of each other.


    Both of these pianists (Jon Raney on DEDICATED TO BILL and Jon Easton on COOL BLUES) are both guys that I try to play with whenever I can. Raney and I go back to 87 when I first moved here, Jon I met only a couple of years ago, but I think he has a very deep approach and I'm trying to make more situations for us to play in. Get back to me when you get a chance to check out SOME OTHER TIME, I would say that it's the one that is most representative of how I play on most of the gigs I play on.
     
  6. nypiano

    nypiano

    Feb 10, 2003
    NYC
    Fuquaybeast--

    Gerald Cleaver (mentioned below) is on Audrey's last CD effort (sans the rainster)
    Perhaps he is someone we should look up when we are in need?

    j-
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.

    You just cain't stay away, hunh? Jay is playing bass on that one, right? Have you heard the record? All I have Gerald on is some more "outish" stuff, he sounds great, but I haven't heard him play "in". Plus I haven't played with him and we all know how funny you are about THAT.

    We cool for Thursday, right?
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    DURRL - I dunno, what am I sposed to ask here? We seemed to get off to a purty good start with Monte and T-bal and Sam'l.

    Well lessee, maybe a contest

    There's two different basses and 3 different sets of strings on all the recordings, anyone want to pin the bass on the wrongkey?

    German bass/ Corellis
    German bass/ Animas
    Czech bass/ Obligatos

    hmmm, things that bug me

    I gotta say I'm pretty happy with the Silverbush stuff. The solo on EINSTEIN was a first take, I would have been happy to go back for another run, had it been my date. Paul Warmbaton said that he didn't dig all the low frequency activity that Bollinger was doing behind the solo, I don't remember being bothered at the time, though. It just doesn't seem very "melodic" to me and, given my lack of chops, it doesn't really seem to go anywhere. The second chorus of MOON was fun, it's simple, to the point and communicates.

    DEDICATED, well like I said, we had done one take that was pretty 4/4 swinging but Jon wanted to try something that was more open. He even said "play with a lot of space in your solo, fewer notes". So we tried it, and it came off pretty well.

    SOME OTHER TIME- what a beautiful tune. We played it at a session once with this trumpet player Charlie Carnacas and it turned out that it used to be his vocal feature at the Rainbow Room, I tried to memorise the words but no luck. Dan Greenblatt was not only reading the tune, he was transposing from bass clef! I brought the wrong leadsheet, what a trooper. Dan has some really nice stuff going on in his solo, he said he was surprised how diatonically "strict" the tune turned out to be. He said " you really want to play pretty on this one." Dan Furman plays great on this, it was the first time he'd played the tune as well.
    There's a lot I like about my solo, there's some I would do differently. I like the "floatiness" of the tune in general, but for me, I took a little too long to "nail" the time in my opening statement - you can hear Chris and Furman playing as ambiguously as possible, trying to hear what it is I'm trying to say. The last A section of the solo stays a little too closely to the melody, it would have been nice to keep some of ideas going. The last 4 bars were nice - relaxed phrasing, nice idea.

    I am horridly out of tune for the arco on the ending.
     
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Got a few focused listenings of "Dedicated to Bill" today*, and I have to say I like almost everything about this recording except the weird frequency bumps in the piano EQ. Your bass sounds great, and the drummer plays his *** off. You're lucky to play with a guy that can play understated that well - and the space he leaves is open to you and Jon to play with. I've often thought that the whole Bill Evans trio concept was greatly facilitated by the space allowed by P.M. on the kit, and this cut does nothing to change my mind.

    Fantastic use of space and energy throughout. The tune suggests openings for counterpoint from the bass, and you are right on the money in these spaces - not too much, not too little, and always in service of the music rather than the ego. Very tasty. Nice use of contrast on the diminished (7b9) stuff; sometimes you outline the triad of the root, sometimes you play off of the diminished aspect. There's one really nice instance where Jon is playing upper structure triad arpeggiations in tritone related pairs (E/Bb, Db/G) and you pedal an arpeggiated E Ma triad. Another time in the same spot, you took an entirely different approach, which is cool and shows you've got your ears wide open.

    The solo is completely in the spirit of the song, and sounds good. Nice use of repeated motives the the beginning. I only wish there were more solo - I found myself feeling like you were just getting warmed up.

    Overall, if I had one critique, it would be one that we've talked about before behind closed "Johnson" doors, and that is the limited range of the bass register. On this cut, the highest note you played was the "F" on the G string (basically two octaves), and it could be just me, but I heard several places where the ascending figure you were playing felt like it wanted to continue upward, but ended up inverting down. Clearly, you hear the lines differently, but I can't help but wonder what riches that third octave and beyond might reveal if you went there from time to time. Other than that one very minor complaint, I think this track is gorgeous. Jon is playing great, the vibe is completely there...remind me where I can get this disc again?
     
  10. Nick Ara

    Nick Ara

    Jul 22, 2002
    Long Island, NY
    Wow! This, in my view, is where TBDB shines.

    First we have the opportunity to post our creative efforts (kudos, Damon) and describe our thoughts on what we are after, musically. Then we're fortunate to read in-depth, constructive feedback from our peers. The time consuming efforts you've all contributed is fantastic. If this doesn't promote personal growth in my development, I don't know what will.

    Thanks to all!
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yeah, Eric sounds great (www.erichalvorson.com) and it will be great when he gets back to NYC. he's been out with THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE for almost 14 months, the bastid. There's some records he did with Lily White's group (on KNITTING FACTORY records) that are nice.

    First let me say, yes that's what I sounded like on that day. Secondly let me say, that was 4 years ago. I'm getting up there, the more confident I get in thumb position.

    But I'm not gonna try to push ahead of what I'm hearing or where I'm hearing it. What I play up there should be because I'm hearing those notes, those extensions and not be just a transposition of ideas I have lower on the instrument. Plus I LIKE playing bass, the sounds in that register. The thing I dig so much about Ray's and Mike's playing is that they use the entire range of the bass. It's not "this is for accompaniment and this is for soloing", it's all one instrument. I hear too many players that, as soon as it's time for the bass solo, immediately jump up into thumb position and don't come BELOW F on the G string for the whole solo. Which is kinda like restricting your note options for your piano solo into the top octave and a half of the piano, innit?

    But like I said, I'm gettig there. The solo on SOME OTHER TIME gets up to at least the E on the G string in TP...
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yeah, I forgot about the "4 years ago" part, and you forgot about the "where can DURRL puchase this disc" part. Or perhaps DURRL forgot where you originally posted the link? I don't want you to donate me a copy - I bought WARMBUTTOCK's disc because I liked the cuts from it I heard, likewise T-BAG's disc, and I'd like to get this whole thing as well, if for no other reason than bugging you about how _____years ago you never went into thumb position. Besides, Jon deserves some love too, right? You guys got plans to record more stuff anytime soon?

    About the "not pushing what you're not hearing yet" part, I hear you (but I don't want to hear about being heard while I'm hearing, you hear?). Still, with me it's partly a "hearing it" thing, and partly a "going for what I'm hearing" thing. As long as I don't confuse the two, things usually work out okay. Where I get screwed up is when I start "hearing" only what I'm comfortable "going for". You may be more honest than me in this respect... I'm just pointing out the dangers that tend to bite me on the butt in similar situations.
     
  13. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    That's the truth. IMO that is the biggest pitfall facing improvisers once the basic mechanisms are in hand.

    On the one hand, you have to know where you're aiming or you might screw up. On the other hand, we have to allow ourselves to let the moment's music lead us to places we have not been.

    "Risk is what moves us all forward. If you're playing in your comfort zone, that ain't jazz." -- Herbie Hancock
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    CHRIS & SAM'L - I get your point. But one of the things that Charlie said at that master class lo these many years ago that continues to resonate with me I'll illustrate with the following anecdote.

    The class isn't all bassists, there's a coupla horn players, guitar player, pianist, coupla drummers etc. So it's like yer basic ensemble, you play tunes and Charlie will sort of go through what happened and critique and ask questions to get you to analyse what you were doing. And so I'm playing that ballad SILENCE and I'm stepping all over my Johnson and so I just stop and ask him if we can talk about the problems I'm having. So he says OK, what's up? And I say "Well, I'm trying..." and he stops me right there. And says "You shouldn't be trying or thinking or planning or anything other than getting out of the way of your ear and the music."

    I think that that's one of the things that really communicates to us all in the playing of those musicians who really affect us, whose solos we find ourselves singing, whose lines make us dance. That they aren't doing anything other than letting the song that's inside them come out. SUre you shed to deepen your understanding, your ear, your conception and your execution. But when you're on the stand you cannot concern yourself with whether or not you're playing it safe or stretching it. Whether you're playing something hip or not. You have to trust your ear and follow your ear. And if you've been working, you push forward.

    There's a difference between playing the same thing and playing what you hear.

    But, whatever floats yer boat...
     
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I totally hear what Charlie is saying in the above, and I agree. What I was talking about is my own internal "decision making" while soloing, which I always find at least amusing if not downright comical. Most of the time I'm cruising along just fine, not thinking about a damn thing, just trying to get what I'm singing to come out of my bass. But sometimes, while ensconced dead smack in the middle of a bass solo, I start hearing the kind of stuff that I might have played on piano, and inside my head, it sounds pretty good...until I realize that there is no ****ing way in HELL I could pull it off on the bass with the technique I have right now. Then I have to decide whether to just discard the idea entirely and wait for my ear to go back into "possible on the bass mode", or to edit and simplify it so that part of it is still usable. And all of this is supposed to be done - of course - in a fraction of a nano second. What I was trying to say above is that I think that sometimes my internal "default mode" is skewed too much toward not even going for something that is going to be really difficult, and I wonder if this is sometimes (or even often) a bad thing.

    But like I said, I wouldn't presume to know what YOU'RE hearing. I'm just relating what a couple of phrases you played triggered in my own mental house of mirrors.
     
  16. Man, I love this. This is quintessential Alexander Technique. Alexander follows this thought with "The right thing does itself."
    (I've got a little more than a year to go and I'll be certified to teach.)
     
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Hey Ed,

    Just wanted to give a shout out to you and tell ya that I've been hooked on this song (I think I've just about OD'ed on it now... time to lay off). I listened to all the other ones, but this one really touched that 'special spot'. Undoubtably groovy. Your playing is awesome (of course) and I like being able to clearly hear the phrases in your solo. You guys sound really tight. That song sounds latinish... 2/3 clave? Who wrote it? I like the classical'ish countermelody in the head with the horns.

    Ok I hate making this comparison to other players, but I'll just say that for a moment, I thought I was listening to a cd by some big name artists on a Blue Note or ECM label. Don't kill me if you really are! :bag:

    Very fun to listen to. :) Thanks for sharing!
    Huy
     
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Like I was saying in your thread, trust your ears and just go for it. If it's really clear in your head your hands will really try to get that out. And it will really point up areas to work on, technique-wise. But, to me, this is really what Herbie's quote (from Sam'l) gets at. take the risk, follow the idea. don't realize, don't decide. Just go for it.
     
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Aw, shucks now. Thanks for listening. I'm not a "big name" player, I work with some good musicians and have had the opportunity to play with a lot of cats whose records we all have. But it ain't like I been touring the world like Ray Parker and Mike McGuirk or subbing for Peter Washington or anything.

    Hopefully the record with EINSTEIN, MOON and BITTERN on it is gonna come out this year (that's what Jeff says), I'll keep everybody apprised...


    But thanks!
     
  20. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Aw gawd! I feel like I've been slobbered on by a big 'ol mastiff!!! :spit: :D