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The Bassist Hall of Fame


SM47
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This thread is intended as a tribute to all the great bassists through history.

I'm not just talking about the bass guitar.

I'm talking about the upright bass too.

AND the keyboard bass.

So without further ado, take my hand fellow traveller and let us embark on an incredible odyssey of the low end...

First up:

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Jaco Pastorius.

Possibly the most influential jazz electric bassist ever.

Every modern jazz bassist owes a debt to Jaco, bar none.

Sadly, cocaine and alcohol abuse destroyed his life in the 80s, and ultimately contributed to his death, but he's still one of the all time kings. Not just a bass great, but a jazz great too.

Second:

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Paul Chambers. Upright bass legend.

His CV reads like a Who's Who of jazz legends.

John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rawlins.

A legend in his field. The KING of the walking bassline.

Again, Chambers was a hard drinker and a drug user who died young. Tragic.

Third:

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Bernie Worrell.

The keyboard virtuoso, classically trained, wrote a concerto when he was 8 years of age. Did some off-the-scale synth shit with the P Funk mob.

But what many don't realise, is that Bernie also played BASS on a lot of the P Funk classics.

Literally, a keyboard bass MASTER.

Also, wore some of the GREATEST hats ever created.

I can't find a pic of the one he wears on the 'Mothership Connection' dvd, but if they sold hats like that today, I'd buy seven, one for each day of the week.

Those are my three bass masters anyway.

But what do you chaps think?

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Jah Wobble. Looks like a dick, name like a dick, but his vibrations don't half satisfy me. Especially on PiL's Metal Box.

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Peter Hook, I'm a massive fan of his for the Joy Division days. His New Order playing veers dangerously close to self-parody a lot of the time but there's still some great stuff in there.

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Bob Weston of Shellac, part of the greatest rhythm section around for my money. Not that I've heard them all, but you know what I mean.

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Tom Jenkinson (aka Squarepusher) - he looks well old there, doesn't he? Sometimes he plays so fast that it becomes pointless, but he's amazing when he shows some restraint. Someone I know played drums with him at a show in Leeds a few months back, the lucky fuck.

Got to mention Paul Simonon too, because he's the coolest looking bass player I can think of and that's just as important as actually being any good, if you ask me. He's also the subject of one of the great rock and roll photographs:

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I'll be first to bring a lady into the fray; Carol Kaye. Not my personal favourite but still a damn good un'

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My second nomination is for John Paul Jones. Great jazz bass style. He also happened to play the keyboard.

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My favourite is probably Geddy Lee though. Talented as fuck on the old 4 string, played keyboard, and also sang, although his voice isn't to everyone's liking. Pretty much anything from 'A Farewell To Kings' best shows off his talents.

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Here's a few of my bass heroes:

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Larry Graham of Graham Central Station/Sly and the Family Stone

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John Entwistle of The Who.

And lastly, the bassist from Fugazi deserves a mention:

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Joe Lally from Fugazi.

Graham has the flair, Entwistle had the flourishes and Lally holds down solid grooves. Together, they form Voltron!

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Would we remember his bass playing if he didn't use such a distinctive, effects-laden sound though?

Yes. It's not just the clangy sound that makes his bass playing with Joy Division great, it's how he uses it. The bass is pretty much the lead instrument on most tracks, without it veering off into wankyness (which happens frequently with New Order). Although even if he did just have the distinctive sound, that might still be enough to qualify him as a great bass player, it's not all about technical prowess.

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Some nice picks so far, but let's not forget the capo di capo...

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Bernard Edwards

Along with Nile Rogers was the musical genius behind Chic, and played the bass on 'Good Times', which in my book means he pretty much invented music. Was also the producer on Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family', amongst about a trillion other fat slabs of wax. Not MAXIMUM DAMAGE, but RESPECT.

If you're talking about tickling the bass ivories, Dexter Wansel is your man. I keep banging on about this album:

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Life On Mars

A finer example of the power of the drum and the bass has yet to be perfected by humans. Hard to find in this form on vinyl, but you lucky pop kids can buy it as a double album in this handily sized cd version:

B00002MDAZ.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Improve your life! Buy it now!

EDIT: Seeing that that copy is now a gulp inducing £55, this is a far more barginous £7.99!

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Sorry, got to do it like this:

Jazz guys-

Richard Davis

Cecil McBee

Doug Watkins

Ron Carter

Butch Warren

Charlie Haden

John Pattitucci

Jimmy Garrison (greatest bass soloist of all time)

Funk guys-

Larry Graham

Bootsy Collins

Bernard Odum

Donald 'Duck' Dunn

Bob Babbit

Bernard Edwards

Billy Cox

Richard Henderson

Billy Bass (awful lot of Bs in this section eh?)

Rock/Other/Wtf? guys-

Trevor Dunn

Kevin Rutmanis (when he's sober)

John Norwood Fisher

Robbie Shakespeare

Mike Watt

Billy Gould

And Spanky DeBrest, of course.

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Good picks there, guys.

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Aston 'Familyman' Barrett.

Him and his drummer brother Carlton wrote the rulebook when it came to reggae rhythm sections laying down the groove. Was an integral part of the Wailers, and helped Bob Marley define an amazing sound.

Later went on to do some utterly SICK dub shit.

Called 'Familyman' because he's alledged to have fathered 52 kids while touring with the Wailers.

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Ron Carter

What can anyone possibly say?

Has played on over 4,000 albums. Thelonious Monk, Miles, Eric Dolphy, A Tribe Called Quest.

'Nuff said.

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Leonard Hubbard, a.k.a. Hub from The Roots.

Totally savage musician. Can rock the upright bass (Check 'Do you want more????" for some insanely savage upright grooves) and also can kick back and groove on an electric bass.

Also, everyone who's seen The Roots live will attest to his serious bass chops when he flies into a crazy solo halfway through the show. Doesn't get his props at all. He's the 'quiet man'.

Sorry, got to do it like this:

HEY!

No lists. And we want pictures.

I'm also concerned by the lack of George Porter Jr. out of The Meters in your 'funk' section.

See me at the end of class.

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Matt Freeman (Operation Ivy and Rancid)

Best punk bassist by far. Both his bands have brilliant basslines. Basslines that actually do something are a rarity in the genre, but his are consistently great. And he's also played with Social Distortion and MDC, amongst others, which is quite some CV.

Also agreeing with Steve Harris strongly.

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Some nice picks so far, but let's not forget the capo di capo...

bernard%20edwards.jpg

Bernard Edwards

Along with Nile Rogers was the musical genius behind Chic, and played the bass on 'Good Times', which in my book means he pretty much invented music. Was also the producer on Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family', amongst about a trillion other fat slabs of wax. Not MAXIMUM DAMAGE, but RESPECT.

If you're talking about tickling the bass ivories, Dexter Wansel is your man. I keep banging on about this album:

DEXTER%20WANSEL%20-%20LIFE%20FROM%20MARS%201976.jpg

Life On Mars

A finer example of the power of the drum and the bass has yet to be perfected by humans. Hard to find in this form on vinyl, but you lucky pop kids can buy it as a double album in this handily sized cd version:

B00002MDAZ.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Improve your life! Buy it now!

EDIT: Seeing that that copy is now a gulp inducing £55, this is a far more barginous £7.99!

Just finished work and needed something to wind down to

What a brilliant thread!

Thanks guys, and ZOK i may just do that...

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HEY!

No lists. And we want pictures.

I'm also concerned by the lack of George Porter Jr. out of The Meters in your 'funk' section.

See me at the end of class.

Sorry Sir. I didn't mean it, sir, I just didn't have time. I promise I'll expand on a few choices (with pictures) at some point..and George Porter, yeah, I'm sorry. He should've been on there. Rejuvination is a classic.

Please dont hurt me.

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I almost forgot - John Taylor (Duran Duran), a hugely underrated player, probably because of his looks and the fact that he is in, er, Duran Duran. He always manages to avoid the obvious lines without being musically attention-seeking.

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