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Questions: Walking Bass Lines over Dominant chords

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Think deep, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Think deep

    Think deep

    Jun 27, 2012

    Okay so if a tune is jazz but it is all dom7 chords (I-IV-V at that), ex. Bbdom7, Ebdom7, and Fdom7, how do you create a moving, fluid jazzy bass line with including some of the bluesy arpeggiations without turning it into the same old blues walk that everyone plays (1,3,5,6,b7 ect...). I watched a jazz ensemble play a month ago and the guy was walking all over the place and it helped keep the song a jazz tune despite the blues progression. I know chromaticism would work, but what would you guys do?


    -Think Deep
  2. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    You don't play 1356b7653.

    I'll let someone else get way into it but I play jazz and also in a blues band and I have to work pretty hard getting that sound out of my head when walking a jazz blues after a weekend or so of playing shuffles and the like. My main thought is NOT to play cliche. I've gotten ok at separating the two by now but every once in a while I slip.

    That being said I'm transcribing some ray brown lately and he played the above line... well the first half anyway.
  3. Think deep

    Think deep

    Jun 27, 2012
    Thanks brad,

    yeah not trying to knock that blues line, it does fit and sound great some times. However, everyone has had that night at the bar where that is all they heard from the bassist! Gosh, it wears me out quick hearing that!

    Take it easy.
  4. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

  6. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    If it is a jazz blues, you could probably get away with some implied harmony at times. I'd try studying some other blues progressions. Of course, only go out as far as the other players can hear, or they will hate you. As has been said, do some transcription.
  7. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    There are Ray Brown, Ron Carter and other players transcriptions on line if you do a search. Best thing to do is LISTEN to what great jazz players play and learn!
  8. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    My friend Steve Gilmore (w/Phil Woods), one of the most underrated bassists in jazz, has a great Jamey Aebersold book called 'Jam Session'. The bass transcriptions of the 18 jazz standards are pretty stretched out over several choruses, so you can see various ways of harmonizing the changes and using passing accidental notes to construct beautiful flowing lines. Think counterpoint!
    I don't know if it's still in print, there are two "records" that accompany it though I've never heard them.
  9. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    One of the cool things about the blues is that it's so flexible because the basic progression is so ingrained in our mind's ears. A couple of things you can try is to use inversions to make a more chromatic harmony like Bird's blues. Sometimes, I also go the other way and simplify it to a modal harmony, flattening the first 6 bars into either tonic or the 5th. It's a cool effect if it's not abused.
  10. Think deep

    Think deep

    Jun 27, 2012

    man I just made an account a few days ago. Ya'll have been very helpful. I got some good old Ray Brown and Ron Carter stuff. I had heard of Ray Brown and just hadn't gotten to him yet -- a fantastic player for sure. Random, I really like Latin Jazz, does anyone have any suggestions? No one I know listens to any so I don't know who to check out. Also, I don't know the differences between Samba or Bossa...so I'm really in the dark but have always liked that music.


    -Think Deep
  11. For latin you need to know if it is brazilian or cuban/puerto rico/caribbean stuff.
    Bossa Nova and Samba are popular brazilean styles. Get some records of Esperanza Spaulding. She plays a modern brazilian style.

    The main thing (beyond the basic rhythm) is playing the 1 earlier (before the beginning of the bar) with the note of the chord of the following bar. (Not always if changes get complicated like in some brazilian stuff.)
    My personal rule of thump is
    for brazilean music anticipate the 1 by an eighth note,
    for cuban/purerto rico/caribbean the 1 by a quarter note (and also the 3 by an eighth note).

    For cuban stuff get Oscar Stagnaros "Latin Bass Book". You might also want to get a book that explains how the whole (salsa) band works together. The quarter anticipation is hard at the beginning and some band members might not like it since they are not used to it. You might better start the quarter anticipation after the theme.

    There is not much bass specific (if at all) on brazilean styles and only for some styles. Do not learn from books only, get records or tape radio and listen to what they play.

  12. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    It depends on what everyone else is doing. Bass accompaniment is interactive. So listen.
  13. It is true that you need to listen even if you play in a style that fits the tune. If the other band members cannot or don't want to adapt, you need to change your playing to something that works with the others. You only can try to challenge the others, but if they don't react, for what reason ever, you are the one who needs to adapt to make the tune sound better.

    To get some more ideas for lines, it can help to construct (also unusual) lines on paper, try them out, keep what you like for your repertoire of bass lines and forget the rest. (Then repeat until you get complete lines you would like to play.)

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