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Monday, January 14, 2008

Give The Bass Player His/Her Due

The bass player...often an overlooked and underappreciated performer in any band. The Bassline is often the foundation...the building block(s)...of what shapes the rest of the music.

Music, being the subjective medium that it is, leaves us to choose our own favorite bass players. John Deacon of Queen, John Entwistle of The Who and Bernard Edwards of Chic are three that pop into my mind when think of bassists. Especially the late, great Edwards. Wiki:

    Bernard Edwards is considered one of the most important bass players of the 20th century. His bass line from Chic hit "Good Times" has become one of the most copied pieces of music in history, and had a huge influence on musicians of many genres when released and was the inspiration for "Another One Bites the Dust" by Rock group Queen.

    The bass line was used without credit or royalty for the first rap hit in history, Sugarhill Gang's "Rappers Delight" in 1979. The following twenty-odd years has seen it sampled by artists of diverse genres, from Rap to Punk and Techno to Pop.

Many a bass aficionado points the Chic's "Good Times" as an example of Edwards' phenomenal bass playing, and they are right.

Bernard Edwards

The man was fantastic on bass and as
a producer of - and performer with - such artists as Power Station, Robert Palmer's "Riptide", Rod Stewart and Jody Watley.

Another of Chic's songs that contains Edwards' driving bass line is Le Freak. While Edwards and his bass guitar can be heard throughout the entire song, watch the clock and at 1 minute 37 seconds into it, his bass just takes over owning the song, driving it to its conclusion.

Jaco Pastorius.
Entwhistle was a master, as were the others you listed (but you left off the guy who had to deal with Richie Blackmore in all his psychopathic guitar slinging glory).

But bass playing Godhood begins and ends with Jaco Pastorius. Those other guys, I could, in time, figure out what they were doing.

Can't say the same about Jaco. With Jaco, it was "Holy Crap! What the hell was that?"
Alan - TC - yes, Pastorius absolutely. Is a shame he and Edwards died at such young ages. There's some good sites out there who "rank" bass players, so much of it as I said in the post basing it on subjectivity as is music. But the excellent and creative bass players stand out, as those we note as well as so many others.

Thanks for the comments, guys. You're both important voices whenever I write about something in music. You know your stuff and always bring something new and knowledge to the table!
Bass and back-beat, baby!

I preach this to my daughter (who has her own band: Kinki Machine) regularly...
I remember when I had nailed "The Real Me," and thought I was balls to the walls.

Teacher (who had me doing indentured roadie in leui (sp?) of paying for lessons) handed me a Weather Report cassette and said, "this guy doesn't use frets. I'm gonna own your ass until you get out of high school."
You were talking about bassists and didn't mention Stanley Clarke? I'll forive you this time. I'd stack "School Days" up with Jaco's best. I prefer Clarke's solo stuff to his Return to Forever days. Just my two cents.
Hey Dane! Thanks for adding a name that absolutely deserves to be mentioned! You are spot on!
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