Ray Brown: West Side Story - Oscar Peterson Trio

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by bassmanbrent, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. So I was listening to this disc today and was again thinking that Ray's sound is different on this recording from any other that I own. I notice it mostly on his solo on 'Jet Song'. Maybe it's just the mastering on my version of the cd... Anybody else find it a little thinner or buzzier than usual? Don't get me wrong, he still plays freakin' amazing. Just with a different sound than usual... I don't really notice it on my computer speakers, but here's a link...

  2. sean_on_bass

    sean_on_bass Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2005
    I hear what you are saying, seems to be when he is playing in the higher register. To me, almost seems to be how his bass is setup, maybe lower than usual strings. Just a guess! These OP Trio recordings do tend to have a bit more agression to the bass tone and more high end seems to shine through. Maybe due to how the bass was recorded...another guess! Maybe closer micing?
    bassmanbrent likes this.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    He had more than one recorded sound over the years. As strings and pickups change, you can almost date his recordings, blindfolded.
  4. Agreed. I guess my point is that this is the one and only recording I've heard where he has this sound. I thought at first that maybe it was a gear thing, like a different bass, or different string type, but now I'm almost certain it's just a mic placement and/or mixing/mastering thing. Not nearly as interesting as I thought it might be initially :)
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    That is certainly possible. Engineers and sound guys can hijack a sound, especially of acoustic instruments. The best thing for a sound engineer is to take the bass directly from pickup to board, that way it's isolated, even if it was sitting right between grand piano and drum kit, where jazz bassists tend to prefer to be. But, then it sounds like a fretless electric bass, which is not out most of us prefer to sound. A battled that rages on today.

    I don't know how this particular recording was made and Mr. Brown tended to sound much better than most, but in the hundreds of recordings that he made, I'm sure some were engineered better than others.
  6. Definitely not the guys I like to work with :)
    Pat Harris and chris merrill like this.
  7. And definitely not when Ray recorded this side :)
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Let me clarify - I think it's a horrible idea and dig in opposition whenever it comes up.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    One of my students played a transcription of the bass line of "Tonight" from this record on her jury last week. She killed it, and learning from Ray showed up often in her playing this semester.
    TroyK and bassmanbrent like this.
  10. I usually tell the engineer that my pickup is 'broken', if the subject comes up :)
    gaz jazz and 834federal like this.
  11. 834federal

    834federal David Brodie

    Feb 25, 2012
    Another example of an uncharacteristic bass sound is McBride’s sound on the joe Henderson lush life recording. I wondered about that and asked him about it. It was just a matter of where Rudy Van Gelder placed the mic is what he told me.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  12. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    The Oscar Peterson Trio West Side Story album was recorded Jan. 24-25, 1962. Ray Brown with the All-Star Big Band was recorded Jan 22-23. If you check out that record, you'll hear the same bass sound. Maybe they had the mic set up to get a sound that would work with the big band and then just left it the same for the trio recording on the following days (assuming it was the same studio).
    bassmanbrent, 834federal and Seanto like this.
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