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Uptempo Walking

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Marcus Johnson, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I got a tip from vibist Emil Richards regarding playing uptempo once on a gig; Emil is known for insanely fast tempos! He said that when he's under the gun trying to maintain a fast pace for a long period of time, he starts to feel the quarter notes in groups of three, which helps to relax the feel a bit. I've applied this on occasion, and it seems to work for me; it served me well when I had to play "Cloudburst" with Jon Hendricks at about 500 bpm! Anyone else tried this?
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Michael Moore would remind me that when the tenor player has finished that 20th chorus of Cherokee and is heading into number 21, it's perfectly legit for the bassist to STOP and let him/her/it proceed. Why, it can even sound downright musical . . .
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I feel it in whole notes, or sometimes just melodically. If I start feeling overwhelmed I then concentrate soley on relaxing for a little bit.

    Extremely fast tempos don't bother me as much as those tempos that fall right between 1 finger and 2 finger walking as my instincts would have me go for a big sound rather than a more self-defensive, lighter tough. With a tenor player for a father and having been brought up with Pistol Allen (Sonny Stitt's drummer in the Midwest for 10+ years) I've had to endure my share of screaming tempos...
  4. Marcus, do you really think in groups of three quarter notes when you're playing four?

    Lately I've been using 1 finger for almost everything.
  5. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I don't believe any bassist played 500 quarters per minute. Any solo on any instrument at that tempo would be unintelligible.
    I have watched Michael Moore play some long eighth note phrases at 310, but that's all they were, solo phrases
  6. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Oak Park, IL
    What kind of wimpiness is that? I say you beat the 4/4 measures in one and have whole=500.

    -dh (Captain Largo)
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Sorry, guys, 500 bpm was a feeble attempt at humor. John H. is also known for some brisk tempo. We rehearsed it during the afternoon, and he said "just play this as fast as you can" so we tore into it. After we finished, the drummer and I sort of stood there and congratulated ourselves for getting thru it. John turns around and says, "well, alright, we'll get it up to tempo tonight"....no, I don't use the 3 against 4 thing every time, just when I feel a litle pressure to keep up. It more a psycological trick than a physical one, similar to the idea of feeling the tune in bars of four.
  8. I'll leave it to Ed to do the math on this one. Drummer John Riley once told me that during hs days with the Woody Herman band they would play INSANELY fast, so much that a chorus of blues was timed by a trumpet player at seven seconds. This is an entire band! Ouch!
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  10. natbers78

    natbers78 Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    I know I'm way late on this discussion, but I'm fairly new to TB.

    +1 to what Ray said. When I was in college, I was studying with Jeff Halsey and he had all of us (bass students) play Cherokee @ 400 BPM. We had to keep it there consistently. Halsey always stressed the importance of thinking in "1" when playing up tempos. BTW, Ray, my friends and I always used to come out to Rusty's during "Geneuary"...good times!!
  11. TomSauter


    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    It's easiest for me if I pat my foot on 1 and 3. It helps me play more relaxed, and even if I fumble a little bit the time stays together. Another thing is to practice with the metronome on 2 and 4. If you can feel 2 and 4 way uptempo then when the beat gets flipped, which it is certain to at some point, you can fix it and avoid the train wreck. Also just get used to the fact that there will be some questionable note choices.

    As long as people are sharing stories of insane tempos, I may as well share my horror story. I did a gig with the pianist Johnny O'neal, and he called Swamp Fire by Duke Ellington, which I don't really know very well anyway. The tune was so fast I literally couldn't play quarter notes for a measure, and I spent the entire tune trying to get started, screwing up after about three or four beats, waiting a measure or two to try and come back in, and repeating the process. When we started the next song I had this feeling like "What just happened?" You'll think I'm exaggerating, but this was definitely 500+bpm.
  12. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I try to feel everything in 4/4 regardless of tempo on 2 and 4. I remember a did a gig a while ago with a tenor player that played with the Inkspots. It was a drummerless trio with a piano player filling out the trio. After the first set he said "Man, your time is solid but where's 2 and 4? You gotta sit on those *******!" Ever since I make sure that I feel 4/4 swing that way.
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I know I've mentioned it here before, but playing with a gypsy jazz group can really help one get comfortable at extremely fast tempos. No drummer to fall back on. We did the Hawaii International Jazz Fest on Sunday, and the great saxophonist Dave Choy was a guest with us. The first tune was "Dark Eyes", which eventually winds up at an insane pace. After we finished, Dave turned around and said "You guys are crazy".

    I had a funny experience last night. We were playing a club gig. You know how sometimes people bang silverware on tables, ashtrays, etc., trying to play along? Usually it's just flat out irritating, a distraction. Anyway, we were playing at a really fast clip, and some guy starts whacking on the table with his butter knife, just for about four bars, and very tastefully and at a perfect volume, perfect swinging time. He was just doing it distractedly, not even really aware he was doing it, I think. Afterwards, I went over to say hi to him, and he says "Hi, I'm Les DeMerle". I just cracked up... suddenly, it all made sense!
  14. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Does he have perfect teeth?
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Yes! And great hair, too. Really a lovely guy.
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Way more perfect than my own!
  17. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Personally, any tunes I'm playing that fast are usually ones with such standard harmony or I've played them a lot anyway, so I just outline the harmony by ear, whereas at slower tempos I can put some more choice into what I'm playing, because at fast tempos I want only one thing on my mind: time. My ensemble teacher has stressed the point of walking like Ray Brown with that push and swing...it helps that most of the tunes we're playing are very uptempo, so I get a lot of practice with this.

    While playing that fast, I generally feel everthing in four still. Putting a small accent on 2 and 4 is difficult for me to do if I'm feeling the rhythm in 2 or 3, whereas it feels natural now if I'm feeling it in 4.
  18. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    Between 360 and 411.4286 BPM in quarters.
  19. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Jeez, let's just do it in eight seconds, then.
  20. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    That's the 360, and sorry for the necropost.