Rock? Blues? Americana? Folk? Jazz? We are the ones who serve the singer, the song, and the soloist. Though we do not possess the harmonic nor sonic range of a guitar, keyboards, horns and other wind instruments, nor the dynamics of drums –it is us who determine how a chord actually sounds – which, in essence – often determines whether or not you’ll like the artist, or the track. We are the only individuals on the bandstand and in the recording studio with that critical responsibility.
Our function is to make everyone around us sound better than they are. We keep the singers in tune, the pickers on course, and the arrangers, producers, sound technicians, and engineers from jumping off the ledge! In return, we garner the least amount of attention and acknowledgment from the masses – and sometimes our band mates. We are expected to do our job perfectly – one mistake or miscue can be fatal. On stage, a diligent bass player can rescue a failing band member – yet a failing bass player can be saved by no one.
To be a bass player is to exude skill, confidence, humility, patience, tolerance, and knowledge: very few are chosen, and fewer still are called! So, who are these important players, and why should you know who they are?
Coda: And for those who confuse dexterity with virtuosity – read on! There is no hierarchy on Know Your Bass Player – which is a work in progress. If you have a suggestion for a player we have not included, please let us know, we welcome your feedback and input!
(Click on the name of a bass player to access a brief missive, photos, and video.)