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  1. #26
    I always thought George Mraz was the most musical of bassists, but at that level it's hard to say "Greatest" when it comes down to it.
    Here's an inspiring video because we're talking great bass players:

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Yeah, ‘greatest’ is pointless, but of all the bass players I’ve seen live over the years, I think the one I enjoyed the most was Ray Brown (with his trio at Ronnie Scotts). No fancy virtuosity or high-speed runs, just a huge woody bass sound, great relaxed swing, and superbly melodic walking lines and solos.

    Christian McBride was very similar, when I saw him in the Benny Green trio. I seem to recall they both played great bowed solos too.

    Dave Holland was great, he looked like a sort of ‘tower of strength’ standing over his band, and when he took a solo, I thought he was going to pull the bass to pieces, he played with so much power!

  4. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Yeah, ‘greatest’ is pointless, but of all the bass players I’ve seen live over the years, I think the one I enjoyed the most was Ray Brown (with his trio at Ronnie Scotts). No fancy virtuosity or high-speed runs, just a huge woody bass sound, great relaxed swing, and superbly melodic walking lines and solos.

    Christian McBride was very similar, when I saw him in the Benny Green trio. I seem to recall they both played great bowed solos too.

    !
    You've got GOOD taste. Ray Brown, yeah. His duo work with the Duke. Yeah, that earns him a place at the top.
    Christian McBride too. When I was in Philly, I got to know a bass player there, local guy Lee Smith. He was always in demand. I thought "How come I never HEARD of this guy?" Taste, feel, solid, groove, and the bass lines that just made you sound better than you know you could. I said to him, "I'm so glad I get to experience your playing. You're the greatest discovery since I moved here." and he said "You probably know my son, Christian McBride."
    Thunderstruck!

  5. #29
    Interesting, just saw this (from 2016):

    Ron Carter earns world record as the most recorded jazz bassist in history

    https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com...history-411828

  6. #30

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  7. #31

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    Dave Holland

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlew919
    **sigh*


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    I know how ya feel man. Every time there's one of these greatest lists, and it always includes rockers.

    I like what Benson had to say about this kind of thing. "I can do what you do, but you can't do what I do". (And he was right).

    Or Joe Pass' story about meeting "guitar god" Frank Zappa and they decided to play a simple tune, maybe even a blues (I've heard/watched Zappa play a 3-chord blues pretty well actually). Pass said that Zappa couldn't hardly function at all.

    It would be something to see a rock bassist go out and try to play three sets of standards and jazz originals in one night, with a lot of tunes called off the cuff, and perhaps in different keys than the original - and function, much less thrive.

    We all know that they couldn't/can't.
    Last edited by Donplaysguitar; 08-09-2021 at 07:58 PM.

  9. #33

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    There is one "rock" guy who is worthy of respect: Rocco Prestia.

  10. #34

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    Could this be an exception to the "rock guys can't play jazz" rule? He's playing double bass throughout, and McLaughlin, on the tracks where he's featured, sounds like he's rehearsing for the Miles sessions he did a year later. Bruce recorded with Larry Young and Tony Williams not long after this record.

    My sensibilities aren't sufficiently educated to know whether this is "real jazz" or not. It obviously doesn't hold a candle to Ron Carter, but maybe respectable, at least?


  11. #35

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    It serves no one to knock rock players. Zappa had a much higher grasp of theory than many, but he was wary of jazz and probably couldn’t improvise the form. Yet something like ‘peaches en regalia’ is up with anything anyone else did. And frank taught himself.

    One of the reasons that jazz sells less and less is this attitude - this is the superior music and if you don’t like it, you are inferior. It stops jazzers opening their eyes - sure, maybe say Dee Dee Ramone isn’t technically proficient. But it works. So does Jaco. It’s the expression not the technique. The snobbery has to stop or jazz will continue dying. And so will rock.


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  12. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    I know how ya feel man. Every time there's on of these greatest lists, and it always includes rockers.

    Or Joe Pass' story about meeting "guitar god" Frank Zappa and they decided to play a simple tune, maybe even a blues (I've heard/watched Zappa play a 3-chord blues pretty well actually). Pass said that Zappa couldn't hardly function at all.
    Heard so many variations on this story like when Pass asked Zappa if he could play Giant Steps which would be one of the silliest things you could ask of a non-jazz guitarist.

    Sorta reminds me of the story when someone asked Hendrix what it's like to be the greatest guitar player and Jimi replied: "I don't know, you'll have to ask Rory Gallagher". Or was it Terry Kath? Or Phil Keaggy?

    Without a solid source these things must remain apocryphal. Waiting for a Zappa fan to add to the story "and then Frank asked Joe if he could read through some Hot Rats charts..."

    Anywho, here is an interesting story of Tommy Tedesco & Frank Zappa as told by Jimmy Bruno (first 3-1/2 minutes):


  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar

    Or Joe Pass' story about meeting "guitar god" Frank Zappa and they decided to play a simple tune, maybe even a blues (I've heard/watched Zappa play a 3-chord blues pretty well actually). Pass said that Zappa couldn't hardly function at all.
    Maybe Frank can't play like Joe, but Joe can't compose like Frank.

    (I actually think Frank Zappa is one of the most interesting composer of 20th century. )

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdub
    Heard so many variations on this story like when Pass asked Zappa if he could play Giant Steps which would be one of the silliest things you could ask of a non-jazz guitarist.

    Sorta reminds me of the story when someone asked Hendrix what it's like to be the greatest guitar player and Jimi replied: "I don't know, you'll have to ask Rory Gallagher". Or was it Terry Kath? Or Phil Keaggy?

    Without a solid source these things must remain apocryphal. Waiting for a Zappa fan to add to the story "and then Frank asked Joe if he could read through some Hot Rats charts..."

    Anywho, here is an interesting story of Tommy Tedesco & Frank Zappa as told by Jimmy Bruno (first 3-1/2 minutes):

    Eric Clapton was apparently asked the same thing and Said ‘Prince’. Certainly price was great and Eric clearly loved his work. But Eric never said it.


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  15. #39

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    Good people can disagree about the details, but this guy is up there in the running...

  16. #40

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    If Joe Pass did say "that" about Zappa I wonder in what context. I recall that back in the 80s Guitar Player featured Joe Pass and there was an interview with him. He was asked about Hendrix (I believe the interviewed played some Hendrix for Joe), and Joe said something like "I listened,,, and wasn't impressed".

    What I wonder is when Pass made such comments if the main reason was because someone asked him the question in the context of "this rocker is known as a guitar giant,,,, what do you think of them". In such a context I can see a jazz musician being sarcastic or even somewhat mean because the person doing the interview is asking a trying-to-get-you type question. I.e. the interviewer is hoping the jazz guitarist slams the rocker since that makes for a so called better copy. If one starts the question with "this guy is known as one of the great guitarist,,,," to a great guitarist, that is setting up the one being interviewed.

    I would hope it wasn't part of Joe's standard cocktail party chatter putting down rockers. I.e. not what he used for a go-to conversation starter!

  17. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftwareGuy
    Living? Tal Wilkenfeld came to mind first.
    Really? She's cute and has an engaging on-stage demeanor, but closing my eyes I've never heard what I really consider great bass lines from her.

    Although I liked some of her compositions on her first CD. Having re-created herself as a singer songwriter, I don't connect to that stuff as much.

  18. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    If Joe Pass did say "that" about Zappa I wonder in what context. I recall that back in the 80s Guitar Player featured Joe Pass and there was an interview with him. He was asked about Hendrix (I believe the interviewed played some Hendrix for Joe), and Joe said something like "I listened,,, and wasn't impressed".

    What I wonder is when Pass made such comments if the main reason was because someone asked him the question in the context of "this rocker is known as a guitar giant,,,, what do you think of them". In such a context I can see a jazz musician being sarcastic or even somewhat mean because the person doing the interview is asking a trying-to-get-you type question. I.e. the interviewer is hoping the jazz guitarist slams the rocker since that makes for a so called better copy. If one starts the question with "this guy is known as one of the great guitarist,,,," to a great guitarist, that is setting up the one being interviewed.

    I would hope it wasn't part of Joe's standard cocktail party chatter putting down rockers. I.e. not what he used for a go-to conversation starter!
    I think it may have been a NAAM jam, to be honest. I seem to recall pictures of them hanging around merchant booths like you always see from NAAM.

    My guess is it was a blues and a communication problem. Joe probably threw in a few more changes. Frank probably should have said - "just 3 chord blues for me, please", and it would have been just fine.

    Can't blame Joe for being honest. He probably felt compelled to share the story because of how people had been talking up Zappa so much, then was surprised when he couldn't do something that Joe thought of as elementary. (When actually it's not).

    Along these lines, there have been guys who played jazz but also played rock to pay the bills, and that's how people came to know them.
    Last edited by Donplaysguitar; 08-09-2021 at 08:57 PM.

  19. #43

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    I wouldn't say Ron is the greatest. He's just the one who's played on more of my favourite albums than any other. And I really enjoyed his interview. I love Haden, Holland and Swallow too! And Garrison and all the others. Maybe Haden a bit more. He's special.

    So that's the jazz end. I love funk & soul bass. The line on Say it Loud really gets to me. Inner City Blues. And a lot of later Miles.

    (never really bonded with classic 60's 70's rock so I'm unqualified to comment on any of that)

    I can't get with any kind of GOAT thing. It starts and ends with what tickles me pickle.

  20. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlew919
    The snobbery has to stop or jazz will continue dying....


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    See, I have a huge problem with this attitude, and it makes me very unpopular (especially on this forum), but I'll say it again and take all slings and arrows standing up - Being humble, as most Jazz players are, is not helping Jazz to stay alive. While I personally admire humility (and as Jazz players it almost seems we have no choice), I see that the braggadocio in other more popular forms of music (Pop, Rock, HipHop etc) does their respective forms no harm. It's self advertisement and people get excited by it.

    Now, you might be thinking that such behaviour is beneath the Jazzman, who humbly toils in anonymity, dragging his enormous cross to bear throughout an entire life with nary a pat on the back. But, whatever happened to "If you got it, flaunt it!"? It worked for Muhammad Ali! It also once worked for Jazz players too (think Miles, Mingus etc). Heck, even a few great classical artists in their day were not shy in that dept.

    Imagine if Michael Brecker announced to the world "I'm the baddest motherfucker you've ever heard and I'm gonna wipe the floor with all you suckers that think you can out play me!".
    Yeah, it would seem poor form and make many of us cringe. BUT, it would have turned on millions of wanna be sax players who get excited by that kind of talk. Especially because Brecker would have been right! He was the baddest motherfucker you ever heard. He coulda walked the talk...

    Now contrast that with, say, Kanye lame-ass West. He proudly and loudly asserts that he is a "Genius". And millions believe him. Meanwhile, the true geniuses in music (like the hundreds if not thousands of astonishing Jazz musicians alive today) will eke out their lives in TOTAL OBSCURITY.

    Yeah, "be humble, bitch", indeed....

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    See, I have a huge problem with this attitude, and it makes me very unpopular (especially on this forum), but I'll say it again and take all slings and arrows standing up - Being humble, as most Jazz players are, is not helping Jazz to stay alive. While I personally admire humility (and as Jazz players it almost seems we have no choice), I see that the braggadocio in other more popular forms of music (Pop, Rock, HipHop etc) does their respective forms no harm. It's self advertisement and people get excited by it.

    Now, you might be thinking that such behaviour is beneath the Jazzman, who humbly toils in anonymity, dragging his enormous cross to bear throughout an entire life with nary a pat on the back. But, whatever happened to "If you got it, flaunt it!"? It worked for Muhammad Ali! It also once worked for Jazz players too (think Miles, Mingus etc). Heck, even a few great classical artists in their day were not shy in that dept.

    Imagine if Michael Brecker announced to the world "I'm the baddest motherfucker you've ever heard and I'm gonna wipe the floor with all you suckers that think you can out play me!".
    Yeah, it would seem poor form and make many of us cringe. BUT, it would have turned on millions of wanna be sax players who get excited by that kind of talk. Especially because Brecker would have been right! He was the baddest motherfucker you ever heard. He coulda walked the talk...

    Now contrast that with, say, Kanye lame-ass West. He proudly and loudly asserts that he is a "Genius". And millions believe him. Meanwhile, the true geniuses in music (like the hundreds if not thousands of astonishing Jazz musicians alive today) will eke out their lives in TOTAL OBSCURITY.

    Yeah, "be humble, bitch", indeed....
    I don’t disagree. And perhaps jazz needs some arrogant genius to blow the roof off and walk the walk. But this takes an arrogance to want to be different. The great innovators - from Armstrong to Coltrane to miles to ornette to bela fleck to Diana krall to holdsworth. had only one thing in common. They wanted to profess the music in their voice. It was hard and difficult but they never gave up.

    Jazz needs someone like that. A buddy rich. Or an ornette Coleman.


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  22. #46

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    The Zappa and Pass story was told by Pino Marrone. Joe Pass and Tommy Tedesco were playing at a NAMM show in Anaheim in 1983. Marrone reported Pass saying:

    "Tommy and I were both very excited to hear the Frank Zappa would be gracing our small stage that day at the NAMM show. In fact I was nervous, my palms were sweating, I had read and heard that this man was one of the greatest guitarists and composers of all time, like a modern day Mozart.
    We played a set, we waited, no Zappa, we played another set, still no Zappa. By this time, the suspense was killing both Tedesco and myself.
    At last, we see a dark haired man wearing a black long cape surrounded by a flock of worshippers coming toward our stage. We had to stop playing because there was complete chaos around our booth as Zappa was signing autographs and his fans were trying to touch his garment.
    After an hour of worship and autographs, he picks up a guitar and bangs out a couple of loud bar chords. Zappa turns to Tommy and asks, 'What do you guys what to play?'
    After requesting more than two dozen standards, we realised this guy couldn't play any standards, not one. We ended up playing a TOO loud 12 bar blues, that's all Frank could play. It was pathetic.”

    On the other hand, all three dined at Pasta Amici:


    Who is the World’s Greatest Bass Player?-dinner-pasta-amici-jpg


  23. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    The Zappa and Pass story was told by Pino Marrone. Joe Pass and Tommy Tedesco were playing at a NAMM show in Anaheim in 1983. Marrone reported Pass saying:

    "Tommy and I were both very excited to hear the Frank Zappa would be gracing our small stage that day at the NAMM show. In fact I was nervous, my palms were sweating, I had read and heard that this man was one of the greatest guitarists and composers of all time, like a modern day Mozart.
    We played a set, we waited, no Zappa, we played another set, still no Zappa. By this time, the suspense was killing both Tedesco and myself.
    At last, we see a dark haired man wearing a black long cape surrounded by a flock of worshippers coming toward our stage. We had to stop playing because there was complete chaos around our booth as Zappa was signing autographs and his fans were trying to touch his garment.
    After an hour of worship and autographs, he picks up a guitar and bangs out a couple of loud bar chords. Zappa turns to Tommy and asks, 'What do you guys what to play?'
    After requesting more than two dozen standards, we realised this guy couldn't play any standards, not one. We ended up playing a TOO loud 12 bar blues, that's all Frank could play. It was pathetic.”

    On the other hand, all three dined at Pasta Amici:


    Who is the World’s Greatest Bass Player?-dinner-pasta-amici-jpg

    But we can say again, how would they have dealt with the black page? (Ok Tedesco might have done alright).

    How many rock and roll standards or blues standards did Zappa know?

    Al excellent musicians. Just different.


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  24. #48

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    Richard Bona?


  25. #49

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    One of the few who can do Jaco Pastorius without one has the feeling he is imitating Jaco.


  26. #50
    Gosh, it's really a great blessing that Andres Segovia never encountered a closed minded jazz defender with a big mouth. It would be painful to read a companion story concluding "and that old man couldn't even play one chorus of Autumn Leaves. I guess the classical guitar world isn't as good as jazz".
    That's really what that attitude is about.