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What is a bass solo in a jazz band supposed to sound like..

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MistaMarko, May 3, 2006.

  1. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    I'm going to a band competition tomorrow with the school jazz band, and we play a blues rock song, thats 12-bar blues setup, but sounds like a rock song. So there is a repeat section for solos, and I have one, and then after I go, the guitarist goes. I have never heard a jazz bass solo to a blues song or anything. I wrote one out and can play it like perfect, but I think it sounds too much like a guitar solo. Nothing below fret 15, lots of pull-off triplets and fast blues scales. I thought about doing a slap bass solo, but I'm not that good at slap. Anyone have any suggestions on what a solo ideally sounds like for a BASS? What would you guys do? (12 bar blues improvisation key of C.)
  2. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Play Strong Phrases,leave Space, make musical sence and Play it with soul.It doesn't matter if you sound like a trumpet a guitar or a drummer, if you do that you'll do great!

  3. TreeChild


    Feb 28, 2005
    Wimberley, TX
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Listen to the Masters - Paul Chambers, Ray Brown ,Ron Carter...etc. etc.

    They've all played solos on Jazz recordings of Blues.
  5. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    SING with your bass!!
    play nice melodies, rather than show-offy runs and $#%&.
    LISTEN to the tune, FEEL it...and play along....

    all this being said, here's a quote from my mentor, the late Roy Hough:
    "it's YOUR solo. play what you want to play."
  6. trasser


    Dec 13, 2005
    Well, I'd start of on the low C on the e-string, and pretty much stay in one position. A solo with a jazzy feel is quite easy - like said already, leave space - u dont have to play tones all the time. Soloing is more about rythm that tones. Use both 1/8, 1/16 and triplets and whatever.
    But a trick is to play twisted tones - i love especially the b5 or #5 and the really cool #9 in the high end. The twisted notes are what gives the jazzy feel.

    Good luck to u, hope this was useful

  7. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Listen to sax players.
  8. appler

    appler Guest

    What he said. I recently learned Paul Chambers's solo on "Trane's Blues" from the album of the same name. It's a few well executed choruses that could help you get started. Playing and transcribing solos is one way to develop your jazz "vocabulary." I wouldn't worry about sounding too much like another instrument, though. Play what you hear in your head.
  9. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    An easy way to get started is to play the head/melody of the tune and then started embellishing on it. One, its an easy way to get started. Two, knowing heads of tune is handy for gigging and you learn lots of good melodic phrases for your solo bag of tricks.
  10. after a few years of practice ..... you still won't know what the answer to this question is .... sorta one of those elusive goals where you always have "another level" to reach
  11. slip


    Apr 24, 2006
    Yeah unfortunately there is no easy anwser here. Listen to the masters that is your best bet. I would start with Paul Chambers on Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.

    Here though is a few quick tips that I keep in the back of my mind while playing that may help since your audition is tomorrow:

    Typicaly traditonal or straight-ahead style jazz lines are embellished with a lot of finger sliding as opposed to hammer on pull off techniques. For example if I were doing a little asscending E blues lick. If I were trying to sound more rocked out I might try A B D E as 1/8 notes then do a trill from G to A with a hammer on pull off before going back down E D E. Where as I could instantly sound more "jazzy" by doing that same lick A B D E G as 1/8 notes then slideing quickly Ab \ A Ab \ A before going back down G E D... If that makes any sense. By no stretch of the imagination does this mean throw hammer ons and pulloffs out the window. I am just trying to outline a few techniques you hear very often in straight jazz.

    Also a lot of jazz tunes you play from a fake book have lots of chromatic passages or other lines that dont fit very well in the context of major scale minor scale; as a result many players "solo on the chords" meaning that they construct single note lines based on the arpeggiated chord forms. By doing this you have a much larger pool of notes to pull from at any one time which can in theory lead to some of those more complex melodies you find in jazz. So learn your 7th chord arpeggios they are your best friends.

    One final technique you hear all the time in jazz playing. Use the modes. If you are doing a minor blues tune instead of just doing minor pentatonic or blues scales like a rock player would do. You can go for some Dorian or (my favorite) Aeolian licks.

    Now for a highschool jazz band audition. I dont know if you are like most highschools where you audtion for a big band or if this is more of an ensemble thing. If it is a big band thing the number one rule for bass is "less is more." So stay relaxed, let the drummer establish the groove, lock onto it and you are golden.

    And from what I know about highschool band directors, if you do as a previous poster suggested and play the head (thats typicaly the introductory melody line by which most people identify the tune) with a few embelisments here and there you will bring tears of joy to your band directors eyes.

    Last piece of advice: if you dont know much about modes or arpeggios check out www.looknohands.com particularly the Guitar Room (Advanced). Looknohands is my babies daddy.
  12. Uhh, isn't Aeolian basically the same thing as Minor?
  13. slip


    Apr 24, 2006
    Aeolian is:
    1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
    yes it is also known as the "natural minor."
    Dorian is:
    1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
    Minor Pentatonic is:
    1, b3, 4, 5, b7
    blues is:
    1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7

    So the whole thing is fairly ambigious. Notice the minor pentatonic fits quite nicely into either mode. Essentialy you can play minor pentatonic licks and call them Dorian, Aeolian, or even Phrygian.

    The theoretical reason Dorian is so popular in jazz is because it is the second mode of the major scale, and serves to reinforce the II V I progression indicative of many jazz standards. The real reason it is popular is because it sounds good ^^

    Learning about modal theory without being able to hear the subtle differences between say a b6 and a 6 is a huge can of worms. If you are however a glutton for punishment might I suggest picking up a copy of Harmony by Walter Piston. It's 500 or so pages of exactly this type of nonsense. And if you don't understand the contents you can just crack yourself over the head with it for some sleepy time fun.
  14. .....see "Cliff Burton":bassist:

    ::::runs away:::::::bag: :eek:

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