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Putter Smith info anyone? - Bond villain/bass angel?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Mike Crumpton, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. After admiring Alan Broadbent compositions that turned up in Sher's books, a colleague got me a couple of cds of Alan in a trio, both with Putter Smith on bass: Personal Standards with Joe La Barbera on drums and Pacific Standard Time with Frank Gibson instead.

    The more I listen the more I am impressed. Anyone have anything to tell - stories, recordings? I ran a search, which turned up pictures of what could be the same guy in a bond film and an article for Bass Player - he's over 62, bass is his life, uses or used guts and still takes lessons (it didn't say whether he lurked on TB :D - after all, TB doesn't appear to know about him :confused: ).
  2. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Yep, he was the guy in the Bond film. He used to live in the Pasadena area and is still playing around the greater L.A. area. I haven't seen him in a really long time but I do see him listed at the local jazz clubs.
  3. msw


    Aug 21, 2003
    I know a few things from an article in Bassplayer magazine written in the last year or so. He is the younger brother of the late great bassist Carson Smith. Also, I think I'm remembring this right, a very good music reader on top of being an excellant ensemble player and bass teacher.
  4. I did a series of big Jazz concerts and private parties with Carson Smith but I don't know much about Putter except for hearing him on some CDs (he's a Mother) and the grape vine....always great things about him!
  5. Thanks guys - he is a mother indeed! - a bit of a hidden gem it seems
  6. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    dudes, (and i say that as an honorific.......)

    i am a student of putters

    yes,THAT putter is still the working man he ever was. he teaches (god love you putter!) at MI and else where.

    he hits it like a madman around town. his sked is tight. waaay tight.

    now, i feel its necessary to give you the back story a bit

    scuse the informality, i just got back from a looong dinner w/ friends... ahhh.. the good life.. but i digress...

    putter played with the duke

    putter played with monk

    putter played with alan broadbent (what i am currently listening to)

    putter was the half of the vaguely homosexual assasin pair of antagonists in the james bond classic "diamonds are forever"

    AND that was basically his only decent film role, but hey... if you get one good shot... thats STILL pretty cool.

    seriously, go back and watch that movie, check out the villains and one of the most influential west coast bassists ever.


    well. ummmm

    his brother is

    Carson Smith

    the basssit to (at one point or another on the west coast)

    Charlie Parker


    Chet Baker

    and of course sh** loads more BIG TIME musicians

    guys, putters older brother carson was the sh**

    and so is putter!


    putter is my bass sensei.

    and i mean that.

    bassically and studywise (he hurts me!), nobody means more to me than putter.

    no sh**

    any questions?


    did i forget my manners BASS FANS?

    putter got to hang out with scotty in the late 50's.

    oh yeah putter said the prescott sucked, it was talent. just fu**ing talent. that and a 2 finger arpeggiation series.

    oh, yeah , talent.

    oh well for the rest of us, yes?

  7. klepto

    klepto Guest

    Nov 10, 2004
    at the risk of sounding like a complete fool: huh?
  8. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    lets see...

    putters gear (this is incomplete and done off the top of my head sooo...)

    1865 pfrechtner (solly on the sp?) this was the broadbent bass, and it sings like nothin' else (i , of course , want it)

    early 1900 jacquect his current recording bass, man o man this is one heavy-ass bass! (i do want to start a bass weight discussion on a seperate thread just as soon as my new cleveland gets here) sound? oh yeah... he got it in spades. the bass sounds nice too!

    has a hawkes for sale at stein on vine (i think)

    3 walter woods amp (yeah i want these too)

    nice piano (when i play with putter he is always on piano)

    he uses spirocores, and uses a mix of the across the strings. i will post his mix after i see him next week.

    putter is a devotee of his own version of the russell lydian chromatic tonality concepts (that whole melodic minor thing about the subdominant vs. tonic bit) . currently i am being tortured with this. he has a book on the subject published by ludwin music, buy it! so ... buy the book and get on the stick bro'. no time like the present, stickman. putter smith improvisers handbook by ludwin music. google away.

    if anyone has easy putter questions, perhaps i can get them answered. i will be seeing him soon.

    seriously, the dude plays out all the time. thats the secret right?

    its not being in the right place at the right time, but rather being in all the places all the time. (thanks to steve trovato for this piece of brilliance!)

    jazz is about interaction with others. you gotta be there to interact. putter plays out alot and it shows!

    BUT I DIGRESS... (slightly OT)

    did i mention he has an absolute gem of a wife? a talented jazz vocalist, VR Smith. yeah he has that going for him as well.

    guys, all i can say is get practicing and keep practicing!

    yer bud,

  9. klepto

    klepto Guest

    Nov 10, 2004
    i would like you to digress a bit more and exlplain this

  10. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    recently i asked putter about scotts abilities as both a musician, and as a bassist. putter said that scott didnt practice what others practiced. he wasnt a grade school / high school bassist, so he didnt do the simandl thing. he used a four finger approach, and had a way of using fingers 1 and 2 on C and E (think the Cmaj arp) and 3 and 4 on the G and B, combined with a "up the extended fingering" approach to the fret board.

    let me see if i can get some sample excercises outta putter next time i see him. we were on a track to talk about it anyway.

  11. You're confusing the hell outta me Simon...I have no idea what you're talking about and I don't think Putter would understand it either! I also don't think he'd be nuts about you using the term 'fret board' for the double bass fingerboard.
  12. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    before i go further into my explanation (mea culpa on the fretboard bit Paul), let me talk it over with Putter. no use having to do a third time.

    as far as the extended fingering part goes, (i am going to the slab here, so avert your eyes and dont look directly at it) you can refer to the jaco DVD lesson 6 i believe. this is one of those places where watching what his hand position is, is the most important part of the lesson. jaco descends the Cmaj scale from G on the G string down to C on the E string.

    gee, this would be easier if we had a way to present standard notation... (maybe i will suggest a way for us to attach the freeware version of finale files, or would it be possible to display into the message, hmmm....)

    anyway instead of a standard major scale shape starting from the second finger (ascending), start it from the first finger. so C-D-E on the E string, F-G-A on the A string, B-C-D on the D string, E-F-G on the G string. as soon as you have this for root position, you need to apply it to all positions until you have the entire fingerboard (there i go again!) from open E to the highest note on the instrument.

    i have been using this approach on the slab for years. now i use it on upright, except in first position (on upright) where it is neccessary to use a three finger spread do to it (hand strength and support). yeah its much easier on the slab down there.

    so back to the top.

    Putter was showing me some practical scotty technique the other day and i was interpreting it.

    i'll get myself another demonstration and be a tad more objective about it.


  13. Now, if I could only find my Jaco DVD....... :crying:
  14. I found the book http://www.ludwinmusic.com/id39.html which is the "Improvising Handbook" at $15 and at a guess shows scales to play against chords?

    Thanks for all the info the info Simon - keep it commin'

    I got shown your scale pattern by a pro at a summer school on BG once - I have to shift twice to do it anywhere below the octave on DB (I've tried) but it works nicely for me in thumb position (fingering T, 1, 3 - T, 1, 3 and probably further down the g string in the unlikely event I began on the A [unless of course I'm descending]). YMMV as people say ... Tell me more!

    Do you know any good recordings you can reccomend of PS?
  15. I just heard Alan Broadbent playing 'You Must Believe in Spring'. My question is: was that Putter Smith on bass?
  16. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Bodega Bay
    hey Paul,

    what album is that cut from?

    i went up on the iTunes music store and couldnt find it.