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Slow down, you're walkin' too fast?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by jammadave, Sep 10, 2004.


  1. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    hey guys -

    Here's something to ponder:

    Anybody out there dislike really fast walking basslines? Or really like them?

    I ask because yesterday I heard this scenario in two very different settings on the radio - the first being Bela Fleck's "Hurricane", and the second being something by Tal Farlow.

    Now, the Flecktones stuff I enjoyed, but it got me thinking "man, that bassline is moving so much that i'm not feeling it so well". Not bad, by any means, but not as groovy as I like.

    Then when I heard the Farlow thing (dare I say typical jazz/blues-guitar-noodling piece with nary a rest to be had) I was just overwhelmed. The bassline there was even faster and even bouncier. I couldn't imagine the guy back there doing the "dumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdumdum..." ad nauseam, was anything short of cranked up on meth =0)


    What say you people?
     
  2. I dig 'em. There is something really magical about an uptempo burning swing tune where the band interaction is high. The bass player playing a walking line can be interacting with the soloist and the rest of the rhythm section, both in a rhythmic and harmonic sense, while still holding down the changes and form of the tune. I don't know much about Tal Farlow's recordings, but you might want to check out some of the 60's era Blue Note label recordings for some examples of this type of playing.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yeah - really fast walking lines in Jazz can be very exciting - with a good sax player who knows how to solo - it's one of the best things about live Jazz, for me. In fact, before I started to go to Jazz gigs, I never believed anybody could actually play at tempos that quickly and make sense!! ;)
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Anybody can like anything or not like anything.

    But, I gotta ask, how much real actual straightahead jazz do you listen to? Cause hearing changes and hearing cats note choices inside of changes and hearing the way they're building the line ain't easy. And, since your representation of the line (dumdumdumdumdetc)was only focusing on the rhythmic aspect of the line, I gotta wonder how well you're hearing what's going on. It could be that the cat was the most boring bassist in the world with the most limited harmonic vocabulary (although i don't remember being on a gig with Tal Farlow). But it also could be that the cat was Red Mitchell, who does some simply incredible quarter note melodies and you just weren't hearing it. How much transcribing have you done? That might be a nice exercise; tear the tune apart, see what the bassist is doing and how it relates to the harmony of the tune and the soloist's "version" of the harmony. That way you really have the info to decide if the bassist's line is hip or full of ****.

    Otherwise, it's kinda like sitting and listening to a bunch of people speaking Farsi and deciding that they don't know what they are talking about.
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  6. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Well, I wasn't really saying I thought it was a bad bassline or anything, I was just starting up the conversation, see what people had to say about this kind of bass. Remember, I liked it okay in the Fleck instance, I just didn't *love* it.

    As for the Tal Farlow thing, it was simply, swear to god, a 5 minute guitar solo. Couldn't make out a melody, harmony, any of it, and I'm a pretty open-minded music listener. But that type of jazz I'm not a fan of anyways..... hell, *most* types of Jazz I'm not a fan of. The insanity of the bassline is what stopped me from flipping it right off.

    That said, I appreciate the intricacies and talent, etc of such things as what this guy was doing with the bass, but I simply couldn't *enjoy* it very much.

    Kinda like the Beatles, my favorite example for *me* in particular: They may have done wonderful things for music and I respect them, but I won't voluntarily put on a Beatles album, ever. Yick.

    By contrast, in almost a trifecta of fast walking, this tune came on later, I forget by whom but it was called Busy Bodies, and as it started out I got another dose of fast moving bass - I thought "man, what an interesting radio day for bassists" but, it turned out to be not a constant onslaught of uptempo quarters... great tune actually.