Abgeschickt von rudy mentair am 17 November, 2000 um 09:30:16
To all JACO- admirers, fans, bass players, and jazz policemen counting tempos and arrays of notes
Only very few people like MARCUS or myself, probably I’m afraid only a handful more, do really know what the great JACO PASTORIUS meant.
Starting with a quote of MARCUS’s that he learned his bas(s)ic lessons of bass playing and as I presume about music from the man himself I can only agree to what concerns my personal breeding as a musician and of course as bass player, but to be honest in the end bass playing comes second, as I found out much later, years after I had stopped listening to Jaco’s playing as closely as I had been before.
There are just too many going for the style, the virtuosity, chops and of course licks, I do in fact have the impression that only very few are obviously talented enough to grab the music, the concept and all the things that can be drawn from that as a lesson going so much further than just trying to pick up his licks which really is quite boring in the long run, even if they are stunning enough which certainly they are . . . also the licks do only open up so many ( new ) doors, if the listener is capable of exactly hearing what Jaco is playing, doing with / for the music what is to be named crucial to the overall sound of the situation . . . . .as most of you are not capable of doing that I can only advise you to get your ear training straight, what are your hands going to do without your ears knowing exactly what is happening musically, harmonically ? There is no conviction in the notes you are playing without really feeling the music, so what are you going to feel when at the same time you don’t really know what you are doing ?
And exactly that is - I’m sorry to say - the sound of jazz today or even the problem behind the sound of today’s jazz – improvised music will only be fresh and credible without reproducing, every single note has to be the only possible one at the given moment, the only one to be played, don’t go back in time hiding behind double basses trying to play like........and look like the vintage guys on old jazz album covers, that’s ridiculous – and if you have the feeling not to be able to come up with an original idea or sound, why don’t you just stop playing completely and leave the real thing to the real people ?
Many bassists that were not mentioned – as I haven’t been in touch with thoughts like that for a long time, also I don’t go out to concerts very much, I forgot about so many out there that do one way or another carry on what JACO had started, for instance one of my favourites: Carlos Benavent, a spanish player who by what I can tell must have been a Flamenco guitar player for a while before he switched to bass guitar, of course that’s audible pretty much in his playing, still Jaco’s influence in this case is obvious by way of sound, although Carlos is unmistakably a player in his own right, his bass sound comes close to Jaco’s. He was Flamenco virtuoso Paco De Lucia’s bass player for quite a while, I don’t have any information on Carlos’s more recent endeavours. Another one you might perhaps even know by name is Swedish Jonas Hellborg, a real kind of showing-off-virtuoso who became somewhat familiar here in Europe using Jaco’s more stylish virtuoso techniques but at the same time used a lot of slapping and popping techniques on the fretted bass guitar – he was actually using a double neck instrument the time I first heard him ( on a duo tour with J.McLaughlin ) , what Jonas also picked up was Hendrix’s heritage like JACO had done before in his unaccompanied solos during Weather Report and later – I would have to admit I never really liked Jonas’s playing too much, though he really is a virtuoso, absolutely stunning and impressing, though not very much on the musical side of things which will always be what I will be going for instead of mere fast playing etc.
A very interesting player that I only came across some time ago watching TV is French Renaud Garcia- Fons, in this case more interesting because he’s an upright player but still you can tell in his bass lines and generally his approach to the playing itself that he must have listened to JACO quite a lot, his instrument is a rare five- string double bass using the extra high string instead of the traditional low string in orchestras, plus he is a very good arco player (also:Miroslav Vitous and truly very underrated Ron McClure as an extraordinary arco player and of course one of my favourites on upright, French Henri Texier ), has a real sound bowing the bass, as opposed to thousands of jazz players, whose bowing on the bass are actually quite ridiculous, this guy sounds very much like a cello player when he uses the high string bowing sounds, sometimes even like a viola, and of course he can really play, also, like Benavent, close to arabic or Flamenco sounds and clichees, I think Renaud was born in Marocco or Algeria . . . . . One from the U.S. would be Jimmy Haslip and the way he plays bass with the YELLOW JACKETS, phrasing, bass lines, thinking etc. go very much with JACO, the sound is reminiscent of JACO, but not too much, sounds a little muddier, one of the few guys like me using a 6-string fretless bass guitar. Thinking about players in Germany there’s quite a few , one living in Germany but originally from Hungary as far as I know is a good player named Decebal Badila, who also comes quite close to JACO’s sound and approach, another one works in the Big Band at Frankfurt Radio, his name is Thomas Heidepriem, he is also a good double bass player, which for me is something I do deeply respect, play both bass guitar and double bass well. There are a few more but like me, nobody knows them outside the Frankfurt area, last time I hit > big time stream is the music I want to play old enough to be vintage is that old music on any very old records is what I’m trying to do from a world-reknown master of music music the 20th century bass revolution < , that others before JACO like Stanley Clarke, Alphonso Johnson or Jeff Graham of GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION might have prepared, still JACO is the one that gave the world of bass playing a real hard push towards liberation, among other things like keeping in touch with basic music stuff, which is of the things that will make a bass player deliver the notes and the feel that tells a band‘s sound quality from another, even if there are still a lot of musicians that don’t like bass players to approach the band situation the way JACO showed the world and again, that’s part of the explanation why so many young cats only pick from the history of acoustic upright bass playing in JAZZ and related forms . . . . .
However in general one could say that wherever you go today to attend a concert, somehow you will detect JACO’s influence one way or another, be it the band attitude towards the bass player or vice versa, the way the music is arranged to sometimes make the bass and corresponding playing stand out, or the actual sound of the bass instrument, that very often will be even more audible than at the time JACO was out there on stage, in general virtuosity as an achievement to be made playing bass is much more prominent these days than it used to be decades ago, when you only had those very rare moments like Scott LaFaro playing in Bill Evans’ trio, which at the time more or less nobody was ready to accept as a concept to go for, have the upright solo in almost every piece, or even playing the melodies . . . .I think it is really sad that so many of the young cats act as if nothing really had happened in the meantime, from the sixties up to now. Again as I said earlier, this is also due to general lack of talent these days, which I don’t say as something cynical or a complaint, it very simply is a matter of fact, in a way close to stories being related to classical viola players, of which it is being said that they are frustrated violin players that didn’t make it well enough so they switched to the more „inaudible“ viola in orchestra settings.The same has always been said of the majority of bass guitar players . . . . .no comment.
B A C K