Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Loving the bass



One of the great benefits of playing the drums is that you get to sit right next to the bass and soak up its beautiful sound all night.  Drummers, if you do not love the sound of the bass you have a hard road ahead of you.  In order for the music to really work, you and the bass player are going to have to create a strong, musical partnership.  This parnership between the two of you is the rhythmic foundation for the entire band, it's engine.  All the great bands in the history of jazz have relied on this partnership. 


One of my favorite ways to practice getting really close to the sound of the bass is to play along with great drum-less albums.  Everyone knows how important it is to play along with your favorite drummers, and many people also use play-along tracks.  For the purpose of getting as close as possible to the bass, neither one of these options work as well for me as playing with drum-less albums.  On recordings with drums, the drummer is already locked up with the bass, and it can be quite difficult to make out the subtlety of the bass player's lines.  The play-along tracks that I have encountered so far do not feature the depth of bass playing of a classic jazz album.


Here is an example of me playing along with Christian McBride from his album "Conversations With Christian".  The song is "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads" and also features Roy Hargrove.




My main goal here is just to lock up with Christian's bass lines and groove.  If you are practicing with a drum-less record you will know when you are starting to get this right when your drum sound starts to blend into the bass sound.  Ideally the bass and drums start to feel like one instrument.


Here are some more great drum-less albums to check out featuring Christian McBride and Ray Brown, two of my all-time favorite bass players:


"Parker's Mood"
"The Oscar Peterson Trio Live at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival"


Have fun with these!