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  1. #1

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    Paul Chambers - Bass On Top

    One of the finest bass recordings ever


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I like it, but his arco work isn't that good because he's out of tune and doesn't use vibrato. People get mad when I tell them this, but it's true lol.

  4. #3

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    Great stuff. Vibrato is not essential.

  5. #4

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    flat out my favorite bassist, intonation on this tune or not, yeah, he's a bit off but who cares? his creativity always gets me, kinda the modern Pettiford if you will. there's a lot of great double bassists, from Blanton to O.P., Mingus, Brown etc, and I love those cats and a few dozen others, but something about Mr P.C. really rings w/me, particularly when he's playing w/ his partner in crime Philly Joe, I just find his playing so solid and creative.

  6. #5

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    ^What he said

  7. #6

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    +1 here.

    Another classic is "Go."

    In general all his work is worth of study: with Johnny Griffin, Winton Kelly, Red Garland, Miles Davis, Sonny Criss, Ben Golson, Art Pepper, John Coltrane, Chet Baker, Sonny Clark, Hampton Hawes, Oliver Nelson, Art. Taylor, Louis Smith, etc.

    Not to forget he was the featured bassist on Wes' LPs Full House (1962), Smoking at the Half Note (1965), and Willow Weep For Me (1965) (with Jimmy Cobb on drums on the three of them).

    Important because Wes recorded always with the best, starting with brother Monk, pioneer of the Fender bass, and then masters Percy Heath, Sam Jones, Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Milt Hinton and George Duvivier, among a few others.

    There's a nice 2003 Rob Gourlay's PC transcriptions book entitled "Walking in the footsteps of Paul Chambers". And there are many free transcriptions available on the web from jazz bass sites. I like to play off them with my American Standard P bass and is always a pleasure.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Paul Chambers - Bass On Top

    One of the finest bass recordings ever

    Agreed! Everyone shines on it. Whims of Chambers and 1st Bassman (with a lot of my man Tommy Turrentine's tunes and he plays on it, I think, also really nice...

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Great stuff. Vibrato is not essential.
    ...AND can be annoying as hell when milked or done too fast. Think Eartha Kitt playing jazz. Eeewww...

  10. #9

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    So I gave the album a listen and think it's great. Great personnel - Kenny Burrell and Hank Jones. Paul Chambers does his thing. Plays some melodies and solos pizzicato, saws away rhythmically at some melodies and solos. The only tune that really sux tho is the first track, the one in the op, Yesterdays. He's out of tune the whole time and uses no vibrato. He barely makes it through the intro fanfare and melody at a slow and rubato tempo. Overall I give that playing a D. Really bad lol. I can play better than that. Not being capable of bowing with vibrato and good intonation is total noob playing. I told you people get mad when I tell them the truth lol. He was only 22 at the time..

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    So I gave the album a listen and think it's great. Great personnel - Kenny Burrell and Hank Jones. Paul Chambers does his thing. Plays some melodies and solos pizzicato, saws away rhythmically at some melodies and solos. The only tune that really sux tho is the first track, the one in the op, Yesterdays. He's out of tune the whole time and uses no vibrato. He barely makes it through the intro fanfare and melody at a slow and rubato tempo. Overall I give that playing a D. Really bad lol. I can play better than that. Not being capable of bowing with vibrato and good intonation is total noob playing. I told you people get mad when I tell them the truth lol. He was only 22 at the time..
    what a shit show this forum has become.

  12. #11

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    The truth triggers people sometimes lol.

  13. #12

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    Sigh...

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    The truth triggers people sometimes lol.
    "I can play better than that."

    ok, if this is the truth, then prove it. show us that you're not full of shit. the truth aint a few words typed on a keyboard.

  15. #14

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    I don't have a double bass right now. What makes you think I'm lying? Just because it's a bass doesn't mean it's supposed to be played poorly. You're supposed to play it in tune just like any other non fixed pitch instrument like cello, trombone, or voice. I'm sure if PC had put some work in with a classical teacher he would be great, but he didn't. His forte was a jazz sideman - and he was very good at that. He just didn't know classical style bowing.
    Last edited by Clint 55; 07-25-2021 at 03:30 PM.

  16. #15

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    LOL.

    I have a double-bass-sized electric upright with a small chambered body, loud enough for practice with. The problem is holding it for bowing. Pizz is no problem. I play walking lines with backing tracks in iReal Pro. Great fun. Charlie Haden was the first upright player I really got into, some 35 years ago, and still love listening to him. PC soon followed. What a great player! I love the DB, but don’t have time to develop it far beyond playing with backing tracks. I did put together a book for Mel Bay called Classical and Contemporary Studies for Bass Guitar, but that’s another thing.

    No one here is in a fit position to diss PC.

  17. #16

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    Cool that you have that ax. I bet it's fun to play. That's my situation as well. I don't have time to devote to bass right now but I studied upright as an undergraduate. I played electric in rock bands, played upright in jazz combos, as well as played in the big band and orchestra in school. I worked on solo playing too, pizz and arco and can play with proper intonation and vibrato like a competent classical bassist. PC was a beast in most areas of his playing. Just his attempt at showcasing classical style bow work wasn't very good. He was only college kid age. I don't see what the fuss is about.
    Last edited by Clint 55; 07-25-2021 at 10:58 AM.

  18. #17

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    Speaking to an actual bass player, he said Paul Chambers scratchy arco tone was at least in part due to him using gut strings. This guy I think had a classical background.

    It’s interesting how respectful he was of PC’s bowed playing as PC’s arco solos are … how shall I put this? Not regarded as being up there with, say, Major Holley Jr by most bass players I have spoken to. Well actually most are pretty disparaging - ‘step away from the bow, Paul.’

    Anyway PC is obviously universally regarded as one of the all time greats at, you know, doing the job of being a jazz bass player.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    LOL.



    No one here is in a fit position to diss PC.
    Words of truth. IMO, Mr. PC was the best bassist in the history of jazz. FWIW, I love Mr. PC's arco solos. IMO, when a nobody musician disrespects a celebrity musician on an online forum, they are saying more about themselves (and not in a good way) than they are about the celebrity.

  20. #19

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    His bowed work was fine and fitting for the rhythmic playing he was usually involved in with his combos. I enjoy it too. You don't have time to use vibrato in that context. However his try at classical style playing on that ballad wasn't really competent. I don't know what else to tell you. The bass isn't supposed to sound out of tune and agonized just because it's bowed. When you play with proper technique it sings like a cello. If you don't utilize that level of tone shaping and pitch control, the result isn't adequate. Here are some quick examples of what it's supposed to sound like. You wouldn't necessarily have to play grandiosely like classical if you were playing jazz, but you still have to be able to tone shape and control pitch like this.



    This one is a kid probably PC's age. His intonation isn't perfect, but he's doing it justice.

    Last edited by Clint 55; 07-25-2021 at 12:11 PM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I like it, but his arco work isn't that good because he's out of tune and doesn't use vibrato. People get mad when I tell them this, but it's true lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    I don't have a double bass right now. What makes you think I'm lying? Just because it's a bass doesn't mean it's supposed to be played poorly. You're supposed to play it in tune just like any other non fixed pitch instrument like cello, trombone, or voice. I'm sure if PC had put some work in with a classical teacher he would be great, but he didn't. His forte was a jazz sideman - and he was very good at that. He just didn't know classical style bowing.
    Well, if you bothered to do even a little research you would've found out that he did study w a classical bassist and in fact was in a classical quartet. Harping on his intonation on one tune over a short (died @ 33) yet stellar career is rather nitpicking.

  22. #21

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    I'm not criticizing his career, that's indisputable. Just saying he didn't have the left hand technique to do a good job in classical style melodic bow work, as evidenced by that tune. I'm sure he could have learned it if he put the effort in.

  23. #22

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    A piece of jazz history...


  24. #23

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    Here’s a thread
    Why does Paul Chambers''' arco tone generally sound so bad? : Jazz

    For my part, I think PC is about my favourite jazz bass player, but I’m not crazy about his arco solos. That’s not an unusual view from those I've spoken to about it, but especially bass players. I’m surprised people seem
    to find this a controversial view. Maybe it’s the way it was put above.

  25. #24

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    I think many like his bowed solos because of his incredible time feel and phrasing and look at them from a jazz perspective that gives more importance to these aspects and to the end result, the solo as a whole, the solo as an artistic creation.


  26. #25

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    Mention of Coltrane triggered a thought. No one ever criticised him for not having the tone of a classical saxophonist. So why does PC get criticised for not having a classical bow tone? This is jazz, we make our sound and run with it.