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Why listen to some old bassist?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by dhadleyray, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    Maybe I'm imagining it, but.....

    I've been playing bass for 28 years, and along the way, I've had lessons with some great players. These lessons have been formal and informal. Some things I've learned just from being in bands with guys who were 20 years or more older than me. Those lessons were pleasant and unpleasant. Anyone whose been playing knows the "constructive" criticism that you can get from the veterans can be harsh to say the least, but when it's happening, you tend to keep your mouth closed out of respect. You know that it's coming from a place of infinite wisdom...

    The thing I've been seeing lately is a "who the hell are you, you're not famous?" kinda vibe from cats coming up. Now, if these guys were really happening on their instruments, I'd be a little more understanding, but they're usually sensitive to any and all criticism. If you're the musical director, aren't you entitled to ask the drummer to "try and listen to the vocalist and be sympathetique?" without him taking it personally?

    These guys resent that you are telling them anything, that they should be free to play whatever... The thing I usually find them doing is overplaying, or not utilising "common sense." They seem to feel they "deserve" to be famous and well paid just because they decided to play their particular instrument. No one wants to pay any dues.

    The other funny thing is, once they are used to you calling them for work on occasion, they then file you as a "supplier of work", which means that they'll never call YOU for anything. Your relationship is one sided. You exist in there minds to give them work, not the other way around.

    I also have found myself in a situation where I've played with some famous people, and after I sit in at a jam session, someone will post on the internet that they've played with me, then proceed to list my credentials. It's almost as though I've given them a license to suck the blood out of my rep to enhance their own...

    I was told that for awhile, the young cats learned the standard jazz repetoire, and apprenticed with whoever were the veteran players on the scene. Then they went out and started to write and make names for themselves. Now learning standards "is" the arrival point....

    I'm trying to get a better perspective on this. :meh:

    Any thoughtful commentary is appreciated...

    If I sound confused, I could be...
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    I think you might get more sympathy, if you posted this on the DB side!! ;)
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    As soon as I hear that or feel such a vibe from another, I write them off as a lost cause(don't mean they won't wisen up later in life).

    They say failure is a brick in your palace. I feel that criticism can be a major attribute to the construction of such a palace.

    My .02 worth,

  4. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    Yeah... i was told that you're supposed to "pass on the knowledge." It's funny, in rock and pop, you're a dinosaur. In jazz, you're "an elder statesman. :rolleyes:
  5. funny, last night at rehersal for this blues band im in the guitarist mentioned (the guitarist, singer and drummer are all over 35, me and my keyboardist mate are 18-19) and he said that this is the first band he's been in where everyone takes criticism and improves on it and doesnt get all testy egotisitcal....ive always been like that, learning from other people, trying from drummers mainly
  6. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    Heres my take, at 37 im just old enough to have been mentored old school style but young enough to play with guys who are in their early '20's and '30's on a regular basis.I have noticed that there is a trend on the R&B side of the fence tour-wise to have a bunch of young guy's who are coming right out of the gosple scene right onto major tours.now i have no problem with musicans getting work but one thing i see is that the formal backround of many of these guy's,the thing that keeps you working for years,is lacking.And the other thing is that when they are put into a situation where someone with more seasoning try's to tell them something they get offended.Now i know that some older guy's are not nice when they tell young guys something but some of that comes from frustration.I have been known to be very blunt (but not rude!!!)to get my point across,other time's i have been super nice in giving a young guy advice or direction.it really depends on the indvidual im working with.
  7. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    I'm not speaking from any professional experience (seeing as I don't really have any yet), but as a young guy (20) I always have to constantly remind myself that criticism and running into people that are better than me doesn't mean I should stop doing what I love. I guess it's just a matter of being secure enough with yourself to be able to stomach criticism and learn from it.
  8. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    I don't mind confidence, hell, i don't mind ego, IF you do it tongue in cheek. As long as you have a sense of humour about yourself. I'll take a risk of offending someone....

    When Wynton and Branford Marsalis were putting on that "young lions", we're taking back our music, i just sat there thinking, "why are you so intense ALL THE TIME?" Miles was intense, but he showed a sense of humour more than most, and when Wynton was publicly baiting Miles...


    I guess that's another example of what I meant when I started the thread.

    I never thought the day would come when I was a alleged "veteran" in certain musical endeavours. :rolleyes:
  9. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    A lot of good points have been brought up. I'm in my early twenties, and I've always played with guys who are older than me. I've learned that if you want to get anywhere in this business, then you have to work with professionals. By professionals, I don't mean that the guys have to be without day jobs or make all their income at music, but they need to have their @#$! together both on stage and off. Letting your ego get in the way is just stupid. If I'm playing off time, out of key, etc., I want my bandmates to tell me.

    Even though I'm young, I've been around the block a few times, and a lot of cats don't like it when I'm critical. When I go see a band, I'm expecting tight musicianship, good vocals, and if it's original, strong material. I lot of people recently jumped down my throat because I basically said that original music shouldn't be respected just because it's original. It's part of the asinine covers vs. original saga that has plauged music since the first cavemen started beating on stones. I basically said that a lot of musicians don't put any craft into their material, and then they boo-hoo when the audience doesn't bow down and kiss their asses because it's original. I'm not trying to turn this into a covers/originals debate, but just offering an example of people dismissing what I had to say just because they don't like to hear the truth.
  10. I lived in Colorado Springs 25 years ago. Colorado College does a Summer Arts Festival that includes theater productions. Herb Beattie, a baritone with the New York City Opera, had a summer home in the Springs and agreed to help with a production of Rossini's Cinderella. Instead of a step-mother, in this opera Cinderella has a mean step-father, Herb's role.

    During the opening performance a student with a minor role decided to up-stage Herb by winking and playing cute with the audience while Herb was singing his most important solo. Herb calmly walked across the stage carrying a glass of water while maintaining character and singing his part with gusto...

    and poured it over the head of the young man. The audience roared and it is the thing I remember most clearly about any opera I have attended.

    I thought it was an excellent lesson in respect for people with more experience than oneself.
  11. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I recently went to a Ray Brown tribute concert where the band consisted of excellent musicians such as Christian McBridge and Russell Malone playing Ray's tunes. A big part of the concert was about each band member speaking about their deep respect and love for Ray and how he demanded the best from all of them and shaped them up (my interpretation, maybe not their exact words).

    I don't see how one can grow as a musician without having the ability to take constructive criticism. That's something I learned to do along the way and didn't happen easily, but now I can be a better musician because criticism is criticism and I can also step aside and evaluate its worth. Ususally the person has a good point to make. Now, when I play with someone who gets all bent out of shape if constructive criticism is made, I really question whether I want to work with this person. How can one become a better player without feedback from others???

    It seems in the many years I have played music in bands, starting in rock and blues and now deciding to play jazz and standards in the past few years, I have learned the most from older jazz people and/or younger people who were well trained by the older jazz cats who decided to share their wisdom and knowledge and who shaped them up too.

    I find it is the folks with the least experience and sometimes the worst playing skills that have this kind of attitude. Maybe these guys got well known fast, but I would check back later to see if there is any substance to their career after the quick flash of luck.
  12. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    one of the drawbacks of ebing a veteran is, they're aren't that many of them around anymore. I find it harder and harder (in London) to find cats that play out with any regularity, and don't even mention the fact they prefer hanging with cats like themselves. The hustle and bustle for some of them is too much to be bothered with. Not all, but a good proportion.

    or maybe it's a london thing.

    i find that the older cats, like to play with people from their own generation. The young black cats stay in their clique, etc, etc.