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Re: Walking on the bass

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Posted by Ed on October 24, 2001 at 12:04:30:

In Reply to: Walking on the bass posted by Jordan Witherspoon on October 24, 2001 at 01:50:43:

If I said I was a jazz bassist looking to play in an orchestra, what are the basic patterns for playing arco, what would your answer be?
The first thing you should be doing is listening to a lot of the music. Unless the guys you play with are more into the jump/swing thang or early swing or Dixieland, then you should definitely check out some of the cats that were playing in the late 40s to early 60s.
Oscar Pettiford, Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, Israel Crosby, folks like that. A walking bass line should not only propel the rhythm forward, it should define the harmonic direction of the tune as a response to the soloist choices, and should be able to stand on its own "melodic" merit. Those parameters don't really lend themselves to a "pattern".

There are some basic approaches; arpeggiation, chromatic approach to chord tones etc. that will get you started. But unless you've got some concept of what your role is, harmonically and rhythmically, you're just going to be pushing buttons.
If you would like to hear a masterful approach to creative quarter note lines, I personally and heartily recommend the Lee Konitz recording MOTION. Sonny Dallas is the bassist, and it's like he's just SINGING the most beautiful melodies you've heard, with the swingingest approach. Except the melody is a constant stream of quarter notes.

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