Chris Fitzgerald’s album Sparrow and the Bear, featuring clarinetist Dave Klingman, is sure to deliver a timeless arrangement of original music to your library. The duo performs so eloquently together that I am beginning to wonder why I haven’t heard more about them before? Continue Reading …
Killer Walking Bass: Melodic Lines for the Advanced Jazz Bassist is designed for the aspiring musician who desires an extension of their walking bass technique. This is an excellent addition to the material already out there on the market, as it provides a unique individualized learning method to the reader.
Authors Teymur Phell and Jim Kalbach approach their content as a complimentary approach to existing techniques. They state this method of transfusing melody with walking bass lines will make your walking style killer. Integration of melodic material ultimately helps the jazz musician bring their playing to the next level by going beyond the chord to chord.
Here is an awesome clip of Phell performing:
Here is an excerpt from the book, describing what makes a walking bass line melodic:
So, what makes a walking bass line memorable? We believe there are four key characteristics:
- INTERESTING – A melodic line is compelling and pleasing to listen to.
- MEMORABLE – You can sing the line and remember it.
- UNIFIED – The line forms a complete musical statement, often with call-and-answer phrasing and symmetry.
- BALANCED – “Killer” doesn’t just mean playing out or moving quickly up and down the neck. A melodic bass line makes musical sense, balancing high and low, in and out, tension and release.
Together, these aspects let you create a counterpoint to what others in the band are playing.
This is an excellent addition to your library, as it covers elements of melodic bass along with primary principles used to create bass lines.
Alongside the material covered, the authors provide space to write your own lines at the end of each tune, allowing readers a chance to reflect on their own walking style and improve it using the principles covered. This is an excellent idea, and helps to connect the learning to the individual strengths of each reader.
Phell and Kalbach stress their book does not stand as a “how to,” rather, the focus is on playing the lines. That being said, this is an excellent tool for those who learn best by doing. There is helpful brief analysis sprinkled throughout the book to assist readers in understanding melodic bass in context.
What a wonderful resource these two excellent minds and musicians have created. Please check out all that these two are up to, and be sure to pick up a copy of this book to improve your bass lines!
If you haven’t checked Kalbach’s TedTalk, please check this one out on jazz improvisation:
Michal Bylina’s transcription, 6 Suites for Double Bass, beautifully choreographs J.S. Bach’s harpsichord music for double bass. Aware of the popularity of the famous cello suites, Bylina extends the baroque solo repertoire for the double bass by giving it a unique voicing among pieces like Bach’s French and English Suites. Each movement keenly transcribed and chosen for their characteristic melodic material, Bylina allows double bassists to find their own interpretation by excluding dynamics and articulations.
Check out this video of Michal discussing melodic writing for the double bass:
This is a wonderful set of pieces that fit nicely on the bass, with dance movements for the aspiring young double bassist and others to challenge even the most technically gifted musicians. Holistically, this collection of Bach is sure to provide double bassists of all ages and abilities a wonderful staple in their relationship with solo baroque music.
Here is a listen to BWV 808 as played on a harpsichord:
And here is a sample of the beginning of that Gavotte, transcribed by Bylina:
To purchase this Bach edition, email Michal at email@example.com
String quartet instrumentation: 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello. Right?
If you have ever listened to the Bassinova Quartet, a group of 4 virtuoso double bassists who have redefined chamber music and approached the most demanding string quartet literature, you would think twice about the hard-set rule for string quartet instrumentation.
After listening to Bassinova Quartet’s new CD, Beethoven And Shostakovich Quartets, one could believe these wonderful pieces could have been written for four double basses. The group captures the essential character of the music they perform, and exceptionally adapt each particular quartet part to the double bass. If you listen to this album as a double bassist, you are most likely blown away by the musicality but more so the technical mastery needed to tackle parts written for violin, viola, and cello. If you are not a bassist, then this group will provide you with a snapshot of what the double bass is capable of, both individually and cooperatively.
Check out this short clip of The Bassinova Quartet performing a segment from Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2 – Notturno:
Here is another fantastic clip: a page-by-page from the score from the Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 – Allegro Molto:
This is an incredible group that only will continue to redefine quartet literature and the role of the double bass in chamber music. I highly recommend checking out this fabulous group of double bassists!
Find this album on:
Danny Ziemann’s The Low Down: A guide to creating supportive jazz bass lines is an excellent source for double bass students and teachers to both to explore jazz bass lines. Filled with excellent material and bountiful examples, Ziemann’s detailed approach is a gem for those who aspire to learn a deeper understanding of their jazz bass lines by asking the question “How can you think about these ideas and apply them to your own playing?”
Ziemann provides fundamental material throughout, aiming to build learning through reinforcement and sequence. Additionally, the book includes an accompanying recording available for listening online, meant to provide listening context to examples provided in the book.
Here is an example Ziemann provides on building triads vertically:
Another example on mapping out diatonic 7ths:
Whatever your experience with jazz, this book is an invaluable resource for you and your students! Be sure to check out Danny Ziemann at his website.
Purchase The Low Down volumes 1 and 2:
- The Low Down: A guide to creating supportive jazz bass lines
- The Low Down Book 2: A Supplemental Resource of Jazz Bass Lines (Volume 2)
To leave you with a bit more on Danny Ziemann, here is a clip of him performing with Chris Azzara on piano, and Chase Ellison on drums:
You can also check out Danny’s Contrabass Conversations appearance: