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Two Bassists in a band?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by afroblue, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. afroblue


    Oct 25, 2012
    Hi all,
    Duke Ellington started this trend I believe with Wellman Braud and Billy Taylor, then Hayes Alvis replacing Braud. Chubby Jackson and Oscar Pettiford played in the Charlie Barnet big band in 1943. Are there any other instances of two bassists in a band from this time. I don't know of any other instances, up until Ornette Coleman (Free Jazz) and John Coltrane (Ole), both in the 60's.
  2. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I always heard Duke did that because he hated firing people.
  3. jmacdbass

    jmacdbass jmacdbass.com, openmusiccollective.org Supporting Member

    A lot of bands used 2 bassists for extra volume and because they mostly just thumped, I think it changed when Jimmy Blanton came along and changed bass for ever.
  4. afroblue


    Oct 25, 2012
    Yes, that seems to be the case, that Duke didn't like firing people. Do you know of any other bands that used 2 bassists? I was able to find out that Duke mostly had 1 player bowing half notes, and the other plucking in 4.
  5. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    That sounds cool. I think I should give the Coleman stuff another chance. I am a big fan of those guys singularly, of course.
  6. Mingus' Epitaph calls for two basses, but I don't think there's a time where both are playing pizzicato. Sometimes one is pizz-ing while the other is pulling an arco line.

    On his Let My Children Hear Music sessions, he had a large bass section doing arco stuff.
  7. jtlownds


    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    Spade Cooley used two DBs playing in unison for some of his larger bands. They were playing un-amped, so I assume this was an attempt to increase volume.
  8. fretlesswonder

    fretlesswonder Supporting Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    New Jersey
    Brian Setzer just did it on his tour last Fall...sounded great, but we are talking Rockabilly!
  9. Oscar Peterson did an album called 'The bassists' with Ray Brown and NHOP
  10. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    There's a great live bootleg of Ornette with Haden and Izenzon (plus Ed Blackwell). Ron Horton's album 'Everything in a Dream' is lovely too, that features both John Hebert and Masa Kamaguchi.
  11. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    On side two of the Ornette Coleman Free Jazz album, you can hear a great duet between the young Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro with their very personal contrasting styles. It also helps that they are recorded on different (right/left) sides, if you have the stereo recording. I've listened to it many, many times over the years. The rest of the album is (IMPO) an interesting experiment, difficult to listen to, but worth the effort if you're a LaFaro fan.
    Martin Williams, in his liner notes, writes that the album ". . .would be exceptional. . .for the beautiful work of these two bassists alone." Pretty high praise considering the all-star players on the date!
  12. isolated

    isolated Zenkaku

    Sometimes I think one bass player in a band is too many....
  13. bassailor


    Feb 1, 2012
    1961 John Coltrane album "olè Coltrane" features 2 bassists, Art Taylor and Reggie Workman. Beautiful dialogue of basses in the title track.Greetings from italy
  14. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Art Davis!
  15. A few choices I have in my record collection would be the Duke Ellington Carnegie Hall concerts of 1947 w. Oscar Pettiford and Junior Raglin on basses. There is a feature called " Basso Profundo "....

    John Lewis presents " Jazz Abstraction " on Atlantic from around 1959. This was a Gunther Schuller project of John's music that has a whole host of great artists including Jim Hall, Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans, etc. They do theme and variations of pieces for Monk, the tune "Django", real third stream... The bassists are Scott Lafaro and George Duvivier...

    Clark Terry on Emarcy in 1955 called " Swahili". Again OP on bass and cello and Wendell Marshall on bass w. a 2 bass feature by Quincy Jones called " Double Play "....

    And finally over the years here in Boston a group of some of the greatest local jazz artist and educators have merged two groups to form a group w. 2 tenors, 2 basses and 1 drummer.. The groups are the Fringe w. George Garzone, John Lockwood and Bob Gullotti and Gonz w. Jerry Bergonzi, Bruce Gertz and Gullotti. I think they may have used 2 drummers at one time years back... at any rate they call them selfs " GarGonz ".... A total mind blowing experience !!!!!
  16. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Most of Bill Dixon's bands had two bassists, Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor used two bassists. I really like it for free jazz.
  17. zfunkman


    Dec 18, 2012
    Bootsy Collins! Plays bass and had two other bass players @ the Nokia Theater in Feb of 2011. I saw him a month ago and he had smaller band but still had one other bass player.
  18. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Not sure if it's worth mentioning but:

    There's those Ron Carter albums everybody loves to hate where he's playing a piccolo bass out front and Buster Williams is playing a regular bass.

    There's also Arni Egilsson playing arco while Ray Brown is playing regular bass duty on his "Basses Loaded" album.
  19. Jim Hall and the Basses.... Mostly duo's but there is at least 2 tracks w. George Mraz and Scott Colley playing some lovely arco...
  20. Oh man, Mingus had a couple albums in 1977 w. George Mraz and Eddie Gomez and they are featured on a tune w. the changes to "Idaho" but I forget the album's name. Big ensemble w. 2 of every instrument....