“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 . . .




Triad Architecture — Bass Player Magazine

“I CALL ARCHITECTURE FROZEN music,” said the German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was commenting on the relationships of form and function that both architecture and music share.

A beautiful building stands only because all of its structural elements are silently working together. Music also contains many fundamental elements that underpin the architecture of a song. Without the underlying structure, there is no beauty, no groove, no funk, no blues. In the next few Woodsheds, we’ll look at how triads form the foundation of bass lines and melodies.

Read more . . .


From my Woodshed column, Bass Player Magazine, March 2010

Bass Player Magazine

Bass Player Magazine, July 2014 Woodshed — Audio Examples

Studio Oddities: Sight-Reading In The Studio, Part 3

Here are the examples from my Woodshed column in the July, 2014 issue of Bass Player Magazine. Pick up a copy and improve your reading! Let me know what you think.

Skills That Pay Bills: Sight-Reading In The Studio. Bass Player Magazine, June 2014 Examples

Here’s an audio demo track for Examples 1-3 from my Woodshed column, Bass Player Magazine, June 2014.

Skills That Pay Bills: Sight-Reading In The Studio, Part 2.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.






Bass Player Magazine, May 2014 Woodshed — Audio Examples

Sight-Reading In The Studio, Part 1

Here are the examples from my Woodshed column in the May issue of Bass Player Magazine. It’s on the newsstands now—pick up a copy and improve your reading! Let me know what you think. The examples for the Sight-Reading In The Studio, Parts 2 & 3 will be up in the month that the magazine hits the stands (i.e. sometime in the middle of May for the June issue). Check back. In the meantime, dig Part 1:

A Sound For Sore Ears – Bass Lines from Jimmy Heath

AT MY REGULAR GIG WITH THE WDR BIG BAND, I WORK WITH A ROTATING roster of great jazz composers, arrangers, and soloists. I was thrilled recently when saxophonist, composer, and arranger Jimmy Heath came to lead our band for a production. A jazz legend at age 87, Heath has written over 125 songs in his career, many with great bass lines that define his compositions.

Read more …


Silent Night – Bass Player Magazine Playalong

Play-along for the holidays! Here’s the bass duet track from my two-bass arrangement of ‘Silent Night’ from Bass Player Magazine (December, 2013)

Here I play both parts of the duet. The first chorus is “as written” in the Bass Player Woodshed. For the second chorus, I improvise a little Silent Night solo, and then go back to the melody for the third chorus.

For inquiring minds, I play the Bass 1 part (the bass line) on my ’65 Jazz Bass. The Bass 2 part (melody and solo) I play on my Sadowsky Will Lee Model.

Here’s the Bass 1 track for you to play along with. You can play the melody from the Woodshed on top, and then blow two more choruses. Have fun & happy holidays!