Switch to Jazz Entirely

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by rarbass, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    Alright, so I'll get straight to the point...if I wanted to become strictly a jazz bassist (for now), how would I go about doing so? What music would I listen to/learn? Artists, bands, players, etc. etc. etc. I understand it would take time, but I'd like to get started now. I've been into too much heavier music for where I want to go. Dream Theater is great and complex, but it's obviously on the opposite end of the spectrum.

    I've been into a lot of Marcus Miller, but I'd like to get even more into JAZZ.

    Please help, I don't know where to start...:(
  2. The first thing to do IMO is make a plan to earn a living doing something else. Jazz gigs (especially more straight ahead gigs) are rare and low paying for the most part.

    If you want to make a living (albeit a rather meager living in these days) as a freelance bassist, you need to play all styles.

    That being said, if you want to be a hobbiest jazz player (i.e., a couple gigs a month or whatever), get yourself a copy of one of the Real Books and then search for classic versions of the standards (by Oscar Peterson, Miles, Adderly, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, etc., etc., etc.). IMO, the place to start getting a feel for more traditional jazz playing is with the standards. One of the best 'single source' for listening to all those wonderful Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Rogers and Hart, and Gershwin classics is the 'Ella Fitzgerald Song Books' CD's. Ray Brown is swinging on a lot of the cuts, and it's a virtual tour through the jazz standard library!!!!

    IMO and IME!
  3. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    Sorry, sorry...I guess I never made it clear. A hobbyist jazz bassist is all I want to be, but I mean strictly jazz for now. I couldn't make a living playing music, especially jazz.

    Thanks for your information! I will be obtaining the Ella Fitzgerald CD's ASAP and will definitely look into the Real Book, though I'm not sure where to look/start with that either. I have a book that is called the Real Book, but I don't know where to go with it.
  4. PortugalWillie


    Jul 17, 2009
    Listen to jazz! And listen to a lot of it. I've been thinking about trying to learn jazz bass for awhile because my brother is a Sax performance major and writes a lot of jazz music. He's still working on his undergrad and has already caught the attention of Ben Allison.

    But he can't find a bass player worth playing with. So, I've just been listening for about a year now.

    Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk (sp?), and Charlie Parker are my favorite old school guys. As far as more contemporary stuff, check out Ben Allison. I saw him live last year and was by far the best jazz show I've even seen.
  5. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Listen, transcribe, get a teacher.

    There's a whole world of jazz & enough sub-styles to make your head spin.

    A few albums to get you started and expose you to some of the styles:

    Miles Davis-Kind of Blue

    John Coltrane-A Love Supreme

    Cannon Ball Adderley-Live at the Club

    Cannon Ball Adderley-Somethin Else

    Thelonius Monk-Live at Townhall

    Kenny Burrell-Midnight Blue

    Ray Brown & Duke Ellington-This One's for Blanton

    Charles Mingus, Max Roach, & Duke Ellington-Money Jungle

    Ray Brown-Walk On

    Weather Report-Heavy Weather

    As far as books go, Ed Friedland has a great walking lines book as does Ed Fuqua. Listening and transcribing will do a ton for your walking lines. Real books-Real Book 6th Edition (the Hal Leonard one) is a good start and picking up a few of the Abersold Play-A-Longs, the Maiden Voyage book is good.

    Enjoy it. Playing jazz will make playing everything else that much easier.
  6. rarbass


    Jul 3, 2008
    Thanks a lot! See I've listened to my fair share of Weather Report and other Jazz Fusion, but found myself craving more of the typical, straight jazz. If that makes any sense.
  7. I've just recently been turned on to Jazz myself(after doing a college paper on the short story, 'Sonny's Blues'), and this was the first Jazz album i got... since then it has been on like donkey kong and i feel like what i am learning playing Jazz is transcribing SO well into my various bands i only wish i had gotten into it 10 years sooner!
  8. I'd definitely reccomend you listen to the recordings Miles Davis did in the 50s. They really show you how to play tunes the way alot of jazz musicians do if they're just doing a pickup gig or jamming. There's a few under the titles Cooking, Relaxin, Working, Walking and theres a bunch of other live cuts. Oh, and of course there's kind of blue, that record is just stellar and a really good record to memorize pretty much anything and everything on.

    For modern stuff I say Kurt Rosenwinkel, The Bad Plus, Dave Holland, and Wayne Shorter's new stuff. That new band of Wayne's is so killin!

    It wouldn't hurt to get a book that gives you a bit of history on the development of the music from the late 1930s to present. That way you can just get a ton of names thrown at you with a bit of an idea of what they do. Then you can just pick out what sounds appealing.