ronnie boykins

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by jmpiwonka, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i have sun ra's cymbals album and i think ronnie boykins' playing on this is awesome. great sound with a good amount of arco playing too.
    does anyone know what type of strings and bass he might be playing on this session. it was 1973, the arco sound is what i'm most interested in, it sounds pretty metallic sounding to me but my teacher mentioned something about how gut "cuts through" when played arco, might this be the sound he mentioned......its very bright.

    check out the sound clips:

    land of the day star (track 5 disc 1) is the arco i'm talking about.
    and tracks 3 and 4 have some real nice bass playing too.
  2. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    does anyone know of any other recordings with boykins playing on them. from what i've seen so far he was playing with sun ra from the early 60's to early 70's.
  3. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Here's the Boykins bio excerpt I have:

    Boykins is best known for his work with pianist/bandleader Sun Ra, although he had played with such disparate musicians as Muddy Waters, Johnny Griffin, and Jimmy Witherspoon prior to joining Sun Ra's Arkestra. He was a regular member of Sun Ra's band from 1958 until 1966, and occasionally thereafter. His percussive bass style inspired and formed the foundation of many Ra compositions. Like his fellow Sun Ra bandmates, John Gilmore and Pat Patrick, Boykins attended Chicago's DuSable High School and studied under its famed music teacher "Captain" Walter Dyett. He also studied with Ernie Shepard, who would later work with Duke Ellington. Before joining Ra, Boykins had joined with a trombonist friend to open a private club -- The House of Culture -- with the intent of promoting black culture. Boykins' arco solo on Sun Ra's "Rocket No. 9 Take Off for Planet Venus" from 1959 may be the first recorded example of the bass being played in a horn-like manner within a relatively free context, predating similar work by Alan Silva and David Izenzon. Boykins worked with both free and straight-ahead musicians. In 1962, he recorded with the hard bop tenor saxophonist Bill Barron and, the next year, with pianist Elmo Hope. Boykins worked with tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp's New York Contemporary Five in 1964. Boykins left Ra in 1966, ostensibly to pursue more lucrative opportunities. Ra had a difficult time finding a replacement, at times settling for playing his own bass lines on keyboard. In 1967, Boykins played on Rahsaan Roland Kirk's Rip, Rig and Panic LP. In the late '60s, he formed his own group, the Free Jazz Society, which included the pianist John Hicks. In the '70s, Boykins played with the Melodic Art-tet, a cooperative free jazz ensemble that also included drummer Roger Blank, saxophonist Charles Brackeen, and trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah. In 1975, the bassist led a session for ESP Disk that produced the self-titled LP, Ronnie Boykins. In the course of his career, Boykins also worked with Mary Lou Williams, Marion Brown, and Sarah Vaughan, among others.
    ~ Chris Kelsey, All Music Guide
  4. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    He was a great player. Other recordings include --

    Charles Tyler - Saga of the Outlaws (and maybe a couple of other Tyler titles from the 70s)

    Bill Dixon/NYC5 split LP on Savoy (he's on the New York Contemporary Five side; it was reissued by CBS Realm in the UK and BYG in France, I'm not sure if it exists on CD or not)

    Monty Waters - the Black Cat

    Steve Lacy - Capers (aka New York Capers)

    Marion Brown Quartet (on ESP)

    Eric Kloss - Grits and Gravy (aka First Class!)

    Yusef Lateef - Lost in Sound

    and, he's on at least one David Eyges (cello) record.

    I would recommend all of them, save the Kloss which I have not heard, I am not in to him although Teddy Charles is on the record as is Boykins so it could be very cool.
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Man, jazz is a hard life.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Presumably - with the "Co-operative" approach, he knew he was at least getting his fair share....? ;)
  7. Futurebass


    Jun 22, 2005
    That Steve Lacy "Capers" CD is a masterpiece. You can hear Boykins with
    Dennis Charles, who is a very fine drummer.