Re: Walking bass lines? Blues? Jazz?

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Posted by El Pájaro on April 17, 2000 at 06:50:48:

In Reply to: Walking bass lines? Blues? Jazz? posted by Shengjie on April 14, 2000 at 06:58:36:

: What is the meaning of walking bass lines? And what's the difference between jazz and blues bass?

You posted some questions that may look simple but don't have very simple answers, Shengjie.
As some fine folks stated before, the walking line is one where the rythmic feel is defined largely by a steady stream of quarter notes which emulates the feeling of actually walking (i.e., the line develops by taking regular "steps"). It's a simple concept, but walking lines can become very complex, not only harmonycally but rythmically as well. There's a monstrous body of recorded work that shows this very point, but I'd recommend checking out some of the stuff Paul Chambers did on Coltrane's records ("Blue Train" especially). He's one of my favorite walkers ever. His solos cook, too (check out his bowed solo on "Moment's notice" ...whew!!).
The point where blues becomes jazz is an elusive one, althoug the rythmic concept of blues bass definitely applies to jazz bass as well. Harmonically, though, jazz changes will be more complex and challenging, so you will need a thorough knowledge of chord theory and harmony to pull through a decent line.
If you'd like to dig into the mysteries of walking bass, check out some of the Ed Friedland books. Haven't tried'em myself, but comments from the bass population are more than positive.
Hope this helped. Buena suerte and keep that bass up front in the mix.
El Pájaro.

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