Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bass Players (What I know) Part 1

Apologies for slacking off on posting. When I first started this blog I was fresh with ideas, and feel like I'm spending a lot of time with long term projects (probably for the best) and havent' had a lot of fresh ideas of late. So I would use this time right now to update on who I think are some of the most happenin' bass players, being one myself, that are out there today, and have some links to share.

Charlie Haden

I think I gave this guy a lot of face time in an earlier post on this blog about his politics in relationship to music, but on a personal level it wasn't until I heard this guy, that my concept of what music is and can be changed completely. Before listening to Haden, I was more of an electric bass player, really into the idea of virtuosity, via Victor Wooten, Jaco, and Oteil Burbridge, all people who's playing I still love, and get more out of than the technical end. Anywho, I heard Charlie Haden on the record with Joe Henderson and Al Foster called "The Montreal Tapes" and was incredibly enthralled by it. During one of Haden's solos he plays these simple major scale passages, and these motivic ideas that are so simple, but so beautiful and full of vocal phrasing. I was so blown away, that when I started diving deeper I found the music of Ornette Coleman, and his playing is so complementary of Ornette's free melodocism, that the harmony's and counterpoint of the two is on a level of musical genius. Check here out for some of that interaction.

Drew Gress

As Charlie Haden is one of the oldest bass players in the tradition, he's the one I respect and hear in myself more than anyone, and so the rest of the bass players will all be of a younger generation, because to me, no one from Haden's generation can touch him. (Ron Carter is still around, Butch Warren, Eddie Gomez and a plethora of other guys, but all making completely different music in my opinion). Drew Gress has the best sound of the bass, of the younger school of bass players, and plays some of the best creative music to be heard. Originally more of a side man, he has released multiple records out of his own compositions, and is just as killin' of a writer, as he is player. The Claudia Quintet is a group that came to my university, twice, and features the compositions of John Hollenbeck, that I also wrote a lengthy article about a while back, but any improvisation/jazz/creative music enthusiast MUST HEAR THIS GROUP. Also of note, Tim Berne has a free improv trio called the Paraphrase Trio with Gress and drummer Tom Rainey, which I still am looking for recordings of. Ellery Eskelin is an amazing tenor saxophonist that went to college with Drew Gress, and played in a group with him, Paul Smoker on trumpet, Phil Haynes on drums titled "Joint Venture," another band I am voraciously trying to seek out recordings of. They recorded a few records as a tenor saxophone trio, that still is blowing my mind, before Ellery formed his consistant trio today of Jim Black on drums and Andrea Parkins on accordion/electronics/sampler/keyboards. The Fred Hersch trio is another great place to find Drew Gress's playing in more of a standard jazz environment, with incredible open and freeness, similar but not too similar to the Keith Jarrett Trio's concept.

That's all I will post for today, but look for more bass player updates, and more links with these guys I have already mentioned in the coming week... Going to feature Trevor Dunn, Mark Dresser, Michael Formanek, and hopefully an electric bassist or two.... COMING SOON!

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