Recommended songs with Jazz walking basslines ?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by The Mock Turtle Regulator, May 7, 2001.

  1. a few years ago I really struggled to learn a walking line for an original song for the band I was in (the guitarist recorded a bassline on his 4track demo and I had to copy it).
    at the time I didn't think of figuring out what the chords were first to understand what was going on:oops:

    this area has always been a weak point of my playing, and I've really only got one jazz walking line idea.

    now I've been learning Willie Weeks' walking line on Dave lee Roth's version of "Just a gigolo/I ain't got nobody":D

    can anyone recommend any songs with basslines in a similar vein?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well there is a huge number of Jazz albums with great walking basslines - probably my favourite for walking lines is Paul Chambers and of course if there is one album that everybody has or likes - even if they aren't a Jazz fan is Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue". And this does have great walking lines - the moment where the head from "So What" finishes and Miles comes in for the trumpet solo is just so cool and it is PC's walking line underneath, that really sets the feel for the album.

    If you're going to study walking lines, it might as well be with a "master"!
    jimmyb likes this.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    lGuys, I wrote this long post, left out some words, edited it and with this new mouse I'm trying to adapt to, I deleted the whole freaking post.! I'm out of time, so I'll come back and post it later today when I have a chance. Sorry about messing up.

  4. Bruce,

    I love how PC does "that thing." He does that at the very end of Coltrane's "Countdown." He kicks in just as Trane plays the most amazing melody. It's so powerful. It gives me goosebumps.
  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    Listening to Jazz recordings is a good idea for getting the vibe down if you're going to play Jazz, but I think what you want to know is how you construct the lines, and there are a couple of ways to do that. One way is to use a scale wise approach, and how smooth that sounds depends on the nature of the chord structure that your walking over, for example take a typical ii, V, I progression in C major:

    / D-7 / G7 / CMaj7 /

    You could play:

    / D E F A / G A B D / C D E G /

    Notice that the connection to the next chord is a note that's a whole step either above or below, also notice that pattern wise this is using R 2 3 5 of the chord using scale notes and is a good basic start.

    IMHO the best Jazz walkers are the ones that transmit the pulse to the music first followed by the notes that are selected.

  6. thanks for the ideas guys.

    the bassline of the song that I originally struggled to learn about 5 yrs ago was mostly based around straightforward scale-type ideas.
    the simple major and minor chords were pretty easy, but it was a couple of diminished chords that got me (the flattened fifth was a new one for me in a walking line).
    the root, flattened 3rd, flattened fifth, sixth phrase was difficult to pick out at the time from the tape.

    I asked for good specific tracks to listen to as I haven't checked out much jazz stuff (the closest I've got to jazz in my CD collection is Jaco's solo album, Weather Report's Heavy Weather and a Stanley Clarke compilation).
    I intend to check out the tracks, work out what chords are involved and check how the player's note choices relate to them.

    but on a few jazz recordings with fast walking lines it seems like the bassist is almost bluffing their way round the chord changes ie. chromatic moves and landing on the root notes of the chord to tie in, and the connecting notes don't seem to be well chosen at all.....
  7. oops, it looks like I've insulted every jazz musician out there by poor wording of my post, but the "bluffing" I referred to was probably in a TV/film soundtrack.

    that's why I asked for recommendations of good jazz recordings, and I'll check out the players you mentioned.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I remember doing this tune more recently at Jazz classes and it fooled a lot of people as the key changes are not at points that you normally expect - i.e. not after 4 bars but in 3 bar sections.

    I do agree with you and Phil that if you do want to actually play walking lines it is best to start working them out for yourself and there is no substitute for this.

    As someone who went from Rock/Pop for many years to Jazz in the last few, I can well remember how deceptively simple walking lines sound to the "layman", but how exceptionally difficult they are to get right and construct totally satisfying lines.

    I think that listening to recordings - most people find it hard to hear the actual pitches of the notes on the double bass. This leads to the impression mentioned of random chromatic notes.

    But as Ed stresses - you have to know what you are doing or it won't sound right and you will probably "lose the form" - this happened to me a lot when I started playing Jazz - where the *$*~$@ are we !!

    The other thing is that you always have to be thinking ahead and this is another difficult concept for rock/pop players like myself, that took a while to get used to. I mean we have these tunes where there are two different chords every bar going past so fast that you only get like a second on each and yet you not only have to improvise a meaningful line and know where you are in the sequence, but you also always have to think ahead to how you're going to resolve this into a smooth transition!!

    Obviously when we are talking about experienced professionals, then everybody knows what's happening, but in a lot of the situations in which I have found myself, with players who aren't that confident, then you find that they are all relying on you as the bassist to say where the basic pulse is and where the sequence is going - we end up with the hardest job, but are often given the least credit!
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Hey Ed,

    I'm in "Do or die Bed-Stuy" close to Broadway. As for gigging, the band is searching for a female vocalist to complete the package...I'll keep you posted.

  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Mock Turtle,

    If you have satellite TV either Direct TV or Dish Network, they have music channels that have specific styles of music. I have Dish Network and they have a "Jazz Traditions" channel that plays "traditional" Jazz all day.

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It's called "Music Choice" in the UK and I get a channel devoted to Jazz 24 hours a day on my digital TV package with Sky.

    I still buy lots of Jazz CDs though!
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Another cable channel that specializes in jazz and some blues is BET on Jazz, a cable station sponsored by BET (Black ENtertainment Television.) They feature tradition, contemporary, Latin, and all the permutations of jazz imaginable, plus Wednesdays are dedicated to blues.

    They often run old films of Duke Ellington and others of his time, plus even old Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. While you may not think of Sinatra as jazz, the orchestra arrangements of Nelson Riddle featured double bassists with wonderful bass lines. Recently one of the Sinatra shows clearly demonstarted a double bassist up front near Sinatra and another one playing back by the drums.

    Another valuable feature is BET's show featuring jazz festivals and jazz master classes. Also, they have a competition in which new jazz groups play and are judged by experts in the industry.

    I surf through BET on Jazz several times a day to see what is going on. If someone interesting to me is playing, I stick around.
  13. unfortunately I haven't got satellite/cable TV.

    BUT I did discover a great find today in HMV- "The Black Box of Jazz" - a 4CD compilation set featuring Charlie Mingus, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea etc. for £4.99.
    it's a veritable walking bassline-athon:D and a few bass solos in there too.
  14. APouncer


    Nov 3, 2000
    Lancashire, UK
    Mock Turtle, good recommendation, the black box of Jazz is an excellent buy! There is also a White box of jazz release more recently that is also good, but I bought BBoJ 3 years ago and still find new tunes on it! With these MASSIVE compilations, the real advantage is not just getting the standards but discovering new musicians, and as a lead to new artists at an incredible price I don't think it can be beaten. It also has a few tunes, probably never properly copyrighted, that I have never found elsewhere, namely "Dirty Dude" by Dizzy Gillespie, unlike anything else I've heard him do! ! ! And some incredible Phil Woods, Brubeck, Grapelli etc
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hmmmm...I'm not sure about the value of these compilations. Quite often they won't include the best work of these artists or the best recordings and could put you off some artists. I would always rather go for a "classic" album, as close to the way that the artist wanted it to sound. You can easily browse though a book like the "Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD" and look at their recommendations - there is usually a copy in most big record stores in London and in every Borders. Sit in Borders, have a coffee and read through this guide and choose the albums - that would be my recommendation!

    The other thing is that Jazz is essentially a live music - all about improvisation - and it is very different on recordings. Especially on compilations you are going to get short snippets; whereas if you go to see most good Jazz groups live in the UK, songs will be stretched out to 15 or 20 minutes each. If you get used to short pieces, which were prevalent in recordings of Jazz before the 50s, becuase of the limitations of 78s, it won't prepare you for the modern Jazz "scene" at all.

    So my real recommendation is to get out and see some Jazz live - so tonight, I will be going to the Brighton Jazz club to see the "Dave Green Trio" . Dave is one of the greatest and best-known British bassists - he has played with loads of UK and US Jaz artists and I expect I will get enough walking lines and ideas to keep me going for a while!
  16. I don't think you can fault the Black box of Jazz for value for money or the White Box of Jazz that A Pouncer mentions- each going for £4.99 at HMV- I almost spent as much on my travelcard to get there!
    that compilation will provide enough to go on until I feel up to braving the exclusive environment of a UK Jazz club.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - you're right, but you know what I mean!! I suppose what I'm saying is that is it good value, if it gives you a completely biased or unrealistic view of what Jazz is all about or if it puts you off a certain artist for good? Jazz is a very broad spectrum of music and there is over 80 years' worth to look at - it's almost an insult to say you can have one album that covers it all. It's like saying you can cover all of Pop music in one compilation and only including stuff like the Osmonds, David Cassidy, Boyzone etc.

    I would say that one classic album like "Kind of Blue" is worth 20 CDs of mediocre stuff - value is not always a case of quantity over quality! ;)

    Also - Jazz clubs aren't that exclusive and usually wil be happy to take any increase in audience size they can get! ;) On Friday the audience seemed to mostly consist of drummers checking out Gene Calderazzo - who seems to be something of a hero - and I talked to a few who I've seen around and have played with. These included all sorts of people - one had only played heavy metal before and 2 or 3 I talked to were in their teens - but I think their drum teachers tell them to check out "some Jazz" to improve their playing - well one told me this and I think it's a situation where you can actually get close and have a chat - whereas rock/pop gigs are more "us and them" - with the band on a pedestal and teh fans somehwere below to be kept at bay. Whereas all the Jazz gigs I've been to, the band mingle quite a lot with the audience - mostly trying to get bought a drink! ;)

    Anyway - what I'm saying is that it's less "exclusive" than most rock/pop venues - where you seem to have to be (or look!) young and dressed in a certain way, to be accepted at all. :rolleyes:
  18. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Interesting to read your comments on jazz clubs Bruce. You are truly lucky to be living in a town/city (is Brighton a city?) with such a strong jazz scene. You're not too far from London either. Whereas in Birmingham, there really is no full-time jazz venue other than Ronnie Scotts, which has a stricter dress code than many of the rock/pop places that I go to, and ticket prices are sometimes VERY high, as they give priority to club members and really push tickets that include a meal. Tickets for Mark King last year were about £40-45 for non-members.

    There have been some good acts on recently (Christian McBride, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl (sp?)), but I have a problem in that I am the only person of my age that I've ever met with an interest in jazz. All my friends are into rock or dance music, and are pretty dismissive of jazz. I've never seen a jazz concert, but would feel pretty sad going to Ronnie Scotts on my own!

    David :)
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm sure there must be more venues in Birmingham than Ronnie Scott's - like pubs and small clubs that put on Jazz. The Brighton one is just a small room over a pub and is better for having this informal atmosphere.

    I must admit that the only people I know who are into Jazz are people who play it (or rather, like myself try to play it!). I have got to know quite a few people through going along to Jazz workshops/jam sessions, Jazz classes at the local University and just by playing in bands.

    I think you just have to look harder for things like Jazz - which are a minority interest, but there are usually things going on. My girlfriend, does say that it is middle-aged men's music, however - but as I said, I know quite a few younger people, who I've played with - but I can appreciate that these are an even smaller minority!

    Even so, I often go along to gigs on my own - I wouldn't let the fact that nobody else I know wants to go, stop me seeing/hearing a good gig.

    I shall search the internet sites I have bookmarked on UK Jazz and see if I can find any mention of Brum Jazz!! ;)

    But there is a free magazine called JazzUK - which you can pick up in some record shops -like Virgin. The back of this has all the UK Jazz gigs and there are hundreds every month. Looking under West Midlands it mentions, amongst others :

    CBSO centre - gigs every week - Mike Stern was there in April!
    Cobs club, Sherlock St.
    Jazz at the Waterworks, Gough Street
    The Bear, Bearwood
    The Drum, behind Barton Arms Newtown
    The Fiddle and Bone 4 Sheepcote Street Ladywood
    Thistle Hotel, Edgbaston

    Then, there are other places mentioned in Solihull and Coventry - Dave Holland Octet played recently in Coventry - well worth going to. I think that Birmingham does actually have more Jazz venues than Brighton - it's just a question of looking around - I pick up as many listings magazines as I can and get on mailing lists from venues and magazines like JazzWise.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member