“Just The Facts” Playalong tracks

Check out the play-along tracks (below) for my Bass Player Magazine Woodshed column “Just the Facts.”

“Just the Facts” Bass Player Magazine, April, 2018

You probably know more songs than you think. many jazz compositions are melodies written over the harmonies to existing standards. If you can walk a bass line on “I Got Rhythm,” the standard by George Gershwin, you can also play over “Rhythm-a-Ning” [Thelonious Monk], “Oleo” [Sonny Rollins], “Moose the Mooche” [Charlie Parker], and “Lester Leaps In” [Lester Young]. All of these melodies are based on the original chords of “I Got Rhythm” (often called Rhythm changes). A composition based on the harmonic structure of a pre-existing song is called a contrafact.


Play-Along Tracks:

Demo Track – Bass & Piano (Fast Tempo)


Play-Along Track – Piano & Click (Fast Tempo)


Demo Track – Bass & Piano (Slow Tempo)


Play-Along Track – Piano & Click (Slow Tempo)




Jazz Concepts: Ben Tucker’s Beatnik Vibe

In the new Amazon series Crisis in six Scenes, Woody Allen frames his meandering plot with classic jazz hits from the ’60s: “Moanin’” played by Art Blakey with Jymie Merritt on bass, “Topsy” played by the Jimmy Guiffre Trio, and “Comin’ Home Baby.” Bassist Ben Tucker composed and performed “Comin’ Home Baby” with flautist Herbie Mann on Live at the Village Gate [1961, Atlantic]. Over the past 60 years, Tucker’s tune has been recorded often by both jazz and pop artists. The beauty of his composition lies in the sexy, hypnotic, double-stop boogaloo bass groove. On Live at the Village Gate, Tucker joins Mann’s band alongside Ahmed Abdul-Malik—Mann’s regular bassist at the time—for a two-bass romp that draws the listener into the smoky, dank zeitgeist of Greenwich Village in the ’60s.

Bob Dorough later put lyrics to the bluesy melody, which became a hit for vocalist Mel Torme [Comin’ Home Baby!, 1962, Atlantic] and Michael Bublé and Boyz II Men [Call Me Irresponsible, 2008, Reprise]. A strong bassist, Tucker eventually found a more profitable niche in the world of songwriting, music publishing, and radio . . .

Read more . . .

Jazz Concepts: Leroy Vinnegar & His Deep Beat

WHAT ARE THE OPTIMAL CONDITIONS FOR RECORDING A HIT JAZZ–POP crossover album? A well-rehearsed band, good recording conditions, and new material? The 1969 live album Swiss Movement fulfilled none of those requirements, yet it became a million-selling crossover record. Anchored by Leroy Vinnegar’s punchy, funky upright groove, pianist/ vocalist Les McCann and saxophonist Eddie Harris delivered an incredibly powerful set that captured the politically charged spirit and musical developments that characterized the era.Swiss Movement was a seminal recording in the world of jam-band-style funky jazz.

Read more …

Yes, We Can-taloupe! Bass Player Magazine, Oct. 2016

Here are the examples from my column “Yes We Can-taloupe” in the October issue of Bass Player Magazine!.

This one with the bass solo


and here’s a playalong track for you, without the bass solo. Enjoy!



Thanks for checking out my articles in Bass Player Magazine.

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You also might want to re-read my

 Woodshed on How to Build a Solo Using Licks and Patterns.



From Bass Line To Solo: The Organic Way

Thanks to all who have attended my workshops in recent weeks. It’s a pleasure to meet each one of you, and I feel like I learn and am inspired by every bassist I talk to — some are just starting out, and others are already strong players. We’re all part of the bass community!

Here are the supporting materials from my recent workshop:

From Bass Line To Solo: The Organic Way



60 Things To Practice Presentation

Here are the supporting materials for my “60 Things To Practice Workshop.” Download and enjoy!

Click here to download the zip file:


Please check out my new online video lessons from Truefire . . .  

a great way to jump start your practice routine!

“Embraceable Red” Bass Player Magazine Example, June 2016

“Embraceable Red”

Here’s the audio example from my Bass Player Magazine article “Play Like Red,” from the June issue of BP. Enjoy!





Charlie Haden: Wayfaring Stranger

The sound of a string orchestra blossoms, ascending to a melody that floats, suspended in time. The wayfarer’s path starts on a poignant Bb major sound. Strings begin a slow, aching journey, wandering through harmony that becomes progressively darker. The orchestra settles on an ominous D minor. Charlie Haden sings,

I am a poor wayfaring stranger . . .”

A low pedal tone broods like the dark thoughts of a wayfarer, lost in an unending valley.

“. . . a-wanderin’ through this world of woe . . .”

The low D pedal remains while strings sway through searing recollections of things the wayfarer has witnessed on his journey.

And there’s no sickness, toil, or danger / In that bright world to which I go . . .”

The strings swell out of the shadows. The wayfaring stranger steps into the light.

“I’m going home to see my father . . .”

On the word “home,” a single, beautifully placed pizzicato bass note—a Bb on the G string—rings out, changing the wayfarer’s world to a place of promise.

“I’m going there no more to roam / I’m only going over Jordan / I’m only going over home.”

A solo cello punctuates the story, climbing from the depths toward a beacon in the sky. Haden sings about life—and death. His path had taken him around the world, through bright moments and gloomy times.

Charles Edward “Charlie” Haden passed away on July 11, 2014, at the age of 76. He will be remembered as a singular, defining voice in the world of modern bass playing.

Read more …



Introducing . . . 3 Classic Intros

In the beginning,

there was an intro. A bass player played an introduction and set the mood for an entire song. Without the intro, there wouldn’t have been a song, because we would never have gotten that far.

An intro sets up and frames a song by introducing the rhythmic and harmonic vibe carried forward through the entire performance. Intros matter a great deal, and bassists are often charged with laying them down. Over the years, some specific intros have become integral parts of certain jazz standards. Let’s take three of these tunes and look at the classic intro bass lines that you absolutely must know.


Killer Grooves — Bass Player Magazine

“WE’D LIKE YOU TO MEET A FRIEND OF OURS WHO GOES BY THE NAME of Killer Joe. Picture a so-called hippie or hip cat, standing on a corner in a neatly pressed, double-breasted, form-fitted pinstriped suit.” Saxophonist and composer Benny Golson describes his fictitious, street-savvy character in a spoken intro to his tune “Killer Joe” [Meet the Jazztet, Argo, 1960]. The tune was written for the Jazztet, a supergroup that’s not often given its due by critics and historians. Featuring Art Farmer and Benny Golson with Addison Farmer (Art’s twin brother) on bass, the Jazztet premiered many tunes that are still considered standards. Says Golson in an interview with blogger Marc Meyers, “When the song came out in 1960, Art Farmer and I went all over Manhattan putting up posters that said, HAS ANYONE SEEN KILLER JOE? We wanted to give Killer Joe a mystique from the beginning. One night the police caught me, and I almost got arrested.”

A hit at jazz camps around the globe, “Killer Joe” is generally considered an improvising vehicle for beginner-to-intermediate players . . .


Read more . . .