For some reason this week I have listened to two things: Miles Davis new 9-CD set of mono recordings … and a bunch of bass player music. As I have said, it was John Entwistle in ‘The Kids Are Alright’ that jump-started my love of music and switched me from guitar to bass. And even now as I am working on building my guitar chops beyond what I ever managed before, I still pick up the bass and play on a regular basis – it is my home and a comfort zone. So … I figured it would be a fun thing to do a ‘Baker’s Dozen’ of my favorites!
No order – just great bassists!
Jonas Hellborg – saw him live at Newport in ’84 with JT (around the same time as this), but alreadu knew his solo stuff. Just technically amazing, and loved his stuff with the late-great Shawn Lane.
Ron Carter – he continues to record and has had a very hit-or-miss career since the early 70s, but his playing with Miles remains some of my favorite.
Jeff Berlin – teacher, studio legend and just an amazing bassist. Here with one of my favorite bands – Bill Bruford’s ~1980 fusion group.
Steve Swallow – he is without a doubt the most lyrical player I’ve ever heard. Just dig those lines and the phrasing.
Stanley Clarke – and on the other end of the spectrum – all flash and spark and funk and speed.
Jaco Pastorius – people debate if he is ‘the best’, but he is certainly one of the most influential bassists ever. And for good reason.
Chris Squire – what drew me to Yes was the bass playing, plain and simple. Once drawn in, the rest of the musicianship kept me there!
John Entwistle – yeah, I already used this one … oh well! Just a grand display of technique.
John Patitucci – lesser known, but an amazing player, composer and bandleader. Another guy I’ve seen a couple of times.
Dave Holland – started off with Miles when he was about 18, and has become of the great bandleaders and talent developers of jazz.
Geddy Lee – amazingly talented, bringing a more modern twist to prog-rock.
Ray Brown – it feels like every time I listen to Ray Brown I learn something new about the role of the bass in music.
Larry Graham – seriously? Does it GET more funky than this!
Well, this was more of a ‘quick hit’ than planned … but I hope you enjoyed the cool bass players I featured! Do you have a favorite? Someone new for me to check out? Let me know!