Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ten Favorite Bassists

It turns out that Fifteen Favorite Guitarists is one of my most popular posts so far - so here's a sequel:

Like I said, the bass is the heart of any band.

In this case, I decided, somewhat arbitrarily, to limit my list to masters of the electric bass. But either way, mad props to the great Ron Carter and Dave Holland and Glenn Moore, let alone Mstislav Rostropovich or this guy, no I mean, this guy.

(You are of course free to include any kind of bassist you like to your list.)

Meanwhile, while googling up links, I met up with this woman, who I should have known about but didn't.

I've had the pleasure of seeing most of the monster bass players on my list in concert. Jaco Pastorius, in particular, delivered one of the greatest bass solos I've ever witnessed, an extended, Hendrixian effort that grew louder and louder as the crowd roared its approval. Unfortunately, this seemed to annoy Jaco, so finally he cranked up his amp and threw his bass to the stage, where it lay there, reverberating, as he stalked off. Then, after about a minute of the bass playing itself, we saw the form of Jaco leaping from offstage, landing with his feet square on the neck of the bass, snapping it into instant silence.

I also recall one night in 1980 during the Grateful Dead's 14-night stand at the Warfield in San Francisco. Throughout the extended percussion break, voices kept calling out to "let Phil sing!" – as if he were somehow being prevented from doing so if he wished to. While Lesh hadn't sung a vocal onstage in many years, years later he chose to do so again, and of course he cheerfully leads his own band these days. But that night, I responded to the well-intentioned hecklers by shouting out, "Phil sings with his bass!" A look in his eye said, "Damn right I do!" and he proceeded to snort out one of the most righteous bass workouts of his career.

Anyway, here's my list. As before, this isn't in any particular order – the first three, in particular, are interchangeable. When you're that great, you're all equally great in different ways. These are the low, low voices that speak to me:

1. Paul McCartney
2. Phil Lesh
3. John Entwistle
4. Flea
5. James Jamerson
6. Jaco Pastorius
7. Stanley Clarke
8. Joey Spampinato
9. Kim Gordon
10. Jack Bruce

So speak up!! Who're your faves? The comment link is just below.

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1 comment:

  1. Here are mine Mark. As a bass player, I'm not only calling these my ten favorites, but also my ten biggest influences.

    1) Paul McCartney
    2) John Entwistle
    3) Trevor Bolder (My special pick for "most underrated")
    4) John Paul Jones
    5) Chris Squire
    6) Carol Kaye
    7) James Jamerson
    8) Andy Fraser
    9) Roger Waters
    10) John Ford