“Bass Is The Place” . . . . : Reverb Bass Tricks Videos

Reverb?? On a bass?!! No, I’m not talking about using reverb on a bass (reverb, the audio effect that makes the instrument sound like it was played in a bigger space, is generally considered not be good for bass as it muddies the sound). No, I’m talking about the website Reverb and it’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/reverbmarket/featured ). In my last post I talked about the cool series of videos they are putting out about walking bass lines. This time I want to mention another nifty little series of videos that should interest bass players. Called Bass Tricks, the videos offer overviews of a specific bass player. I’ve already talked about James Jamerson in a previous post (https://roymusicusa.com/2017/04/14/aint-no-mountain-high-enough-the-genius-of-james-jamerson/) but this video discusses his technique and the setup he used that helped to define the Motown sound. Another player highlighted is the amazing Caro Kaye. I first heard of her from the column she used to write for Guitar Player magazine. As a Los Angeles studio musician in sixties and seventies, she has played on an estimated 10,000 recordings over a span of 50 years. Probably her most well known playing was on the classic Beach Boy’s records including the epic Pet Sounds. Like the Jamerson video, this video goes over her picking technique, bass setup and playing approach.
The third video spotlights a player many bassist many not have given much thought to but who I consider to be one of the more underrated bassists of all time, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads. Let’s face it, the bass line to Psycho Killer is an immediately recognizable classic.  The video goes into Tina’s Motown influence and discusses some of her other great bass lines like the much sampled Genius Of Love.

The James Jamerson Motown Bass Sound | Reverb Bass Tricks


The Carol Kaye Bass Sound & Technique | Reverb Bass Tricks


The Bass Sound of Tina Weymouth | Reverb Bass Tricks


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Posted in Bass, Classic Rock, Music Appreciation and Analysis

“Walk This Way” . . . : Cool Walking Bass Videos From Reverb

When you ask someone to imagine a  jazz tune in their head, I bet that the imaginary tune has a walking bass line. It’s that steady, pulse keeping, melodic thump that will make you tap your feet, nod your head and feel the groove. In many ways it epitomizes what bass playing is all about: defining the song’s harmonic rhythm in a melodic manner. It’s a deep rabbit hole of a subject to get into for a bassist but the excellent You Tube channel Scott’s Bass Lessons (about who I wrote about previously, see https://roymusicusa.com/2015/11/28/cool-video-alert-10-things-every-bass-player-should-know/ ) has a good playlist of videos that serve as a solid  primer on the subject.

Scott’s Bass Lessons – Walking Bass Lines:

Recently, the web site Reverb started a cool little video series called Bass Walk of The Week. In the videos, Jake Hawrylak demonstrates walking bass line pattern from jazz masters like Paul Chambers, Ray Brown and Christian McBride. The patterns are one or two measures long and each fit over a single chord. That makes them easy to conceptualize as melodic cells that can be played when you’re in a similar harmonic environment.

“So What” by Miles Davis (Paul Chambers) | Reverb Bass Lesson –

Christian McBride on “McThing” | Reverb Bass Lesson –

Ray Brown on Oscar Peterson’s “Work Song” | Reverb Bass Lesson – 

Reverb.com is a music geek’s cyber heaven. It’s an online marketplace for new and used music gear and it’s You Tube channel features gear reviews and educational videos for guitarist, bassists and all of us who are afflicted with that terrible condition; Music Nerdism (I’m thinking of holding a telethon for this condition: send me your dollars to find a cure by allowing me to buy more stuff).

Reverb on You Tube –


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Posted in Bass, Jazz, Music Appreciation and Analysis, Music Theory

New York Movie . . : The new album from The New Jazz Spasms

I am pleased to announce the release of the New York Movie, the fourth album from my virtual band, The New Jazz Spasms on SoundCloud. The album continues the explore the nexus of where The Allman Brothers meets Grant Green meets B.B. King meets Booker T and The MGs meets Thelonious Monk meets The Meters.

The complete album is embedded below so please check it out. If you are interested in hearing the three previous albums from The New Jazz Spasms, then please go The The Jazz Spasms tab of this website (or go here:https://roymusicusa.com/the-new-jazz-spasms-3/) to hear them via SoundCloud. Hit the Like button, share it with others and do all that internet stuff you’re suppose to do.

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Posted in Blues, Improvisation, Jam Band, Jazz, Music Appreciation and Analysis

Ho, Ho, Ho . . . : A Funky Xmas To You

Something to listen to besides the usual Christmas Crap

Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means To Me (Tamla Records 1967)

Electric Jungle – Funky Funky Christmas

Albert King – Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin

Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa (1968) –

The Soul Saints Orchestra – Santa’s Got A Bag Of Soul –

Booker T & the MG’s – “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” –

Booker T & the MG’s Jingle Bells –

Bobby Timmons – Holiday Soul –

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Posted in Blues, Jazz, Music Appreciation and Analysis

A Haiku For The Holidays 2017

My Favorite Things
A Holiday Song They Say
“Whatever” I shrugged.

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Posted in Blues, Jam Band, Jazz

“The View From Here” . . . : My First Soundtrack

It all started a little more than a week ago when my old friend Dennis emailed me ith an interesting proposition. His latest obsession has been flying drones and making videos of his aerial adventures. His latest video had a soundtrack that wasn’t working for him and he asked if I could come up with something. I had never done anything like that before but I was immediately interested. Dennis gave me a wide latitude to come up with something since the video was still just a rough cut. The only instruction was to have it between 2:15 and 2:45 minutes long.

I watched the video repeatedly with the sound off while I would play musical ideas on the guitar. My initial attempts were basically pathetic imitations of the Pat Metheny tune “New Chautauqua”. After a while, I simplified what was a overly busy acoustic guitar rhythm part to just outlining the basic chord progression and a simple drum track from my library of drum loops. After that things came together pretty quickly. The opening melody is played on a six string bass, followed by sections where I use some of my favorite tricks: open string chords up the neck (which produce a slightly off “jangle”), slide guitar and guitar harmony lines a la Allman Brothers. I sent off the results off to Dennis who, after re-editing, produced with the video below.

Lake Lanier 2 –

I must say that I’m pleased with the result and I am definitely looking forward to doing something like this again.

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“All The Blues You Can Use” . . : The12 Essential Blues Chord Progressions Jazz Players Need to Know

I just came across this item from the You Tube channel Jazz Duets (https://www.jazzduets.com/). In the video below, you are given a short but concise rundown of twelve different blues progressions that are used in jazz. Starting with a straight 1-4-5 twelve bar progression, the video walks you through increasing more complex variations. Each example is illustrated with a jazz tune that is based on that chord sequence. Going through the variations, you are also getting a cool little lesson in chord substitution. If you are just coming to jazz from a rock or straight blues background then this is a great introduction to the chord progressions you’ll encounter in a jazz tune. Historically, the jazz repertoire came from two main sources, the blues and popular songs of the day or what we now refer to as standards. We’re talking about George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others  The chord progressions you would find in jazz blues songs would incorporate elements of functional harmony (ii-V-I cadences, cycle of fifths harmonic movement) that musicians would encounter in the show tunes they would jam on. And interestingly enough, composers like Gershwin and Porter would be influenced melodically by the blues.

As I said earlier, one of the things I like about this video is that examples are provided of each progression with a brief except of a classic jazz tune. This means that you can search out said performance and with repeated listenings, train your ear to hear these different variations. Trust me, this is an invaluable skill to have at any jazz jam session.

The12 Essential Blues Chord Progressions Jazz players need to Know Tutorial –

Also note that the video acknowledges that it is not a complete list (as if such a thing was possible) and doesn’t even touch on the minor blues and it’s variations. So don’t bitch about what it doesn’t cover and appreciate that it covers a complex subject in a clear concise manner and the knowledge it offers.

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Posted in Blues, Improvisation, Jazz, Music Theory
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