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Upright Bass or Rhythm Guitar - Who Locks The Beat?

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  • If you listen carefully to Django playing with Bigard et al, or Hawk or Benny Carter I hear people having a musical conversation. That doesn't mean that there wasn't competition between them at times, but they were always hearing what was going on, being sensitive to it and part of it.

    What people do when they are not playing is quite different.

    Sure the rhythm section is going to follow the vocalist or soloist, but if its great music they will be listening. I think that Django probably felt a little frustrated at times given who he ended up playing with.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • edited January 2017 Posts: 4,832
    I just think it's good to have a reference point as long as that person is relatively reliable.
    I follow my internal beat while, I hope, I'm aware of the rest of the band.
    I occasionally will consciously check myself against the bass player to make sure I'm locked in with him.
    I see the bassist as the heart of things but every other part of the body is equally important for things to function well.
    In a jam if I notice the beat is being strongly either pushed or dragged I'll deliberately turn up the volume while trying to keep what I think is good time and see it gets corrected, sometimes it works.
    Hard call for me when playing with band is what to do when the soloist start pushing the beat during the solo and hooks the bassist into speeding up.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 4,832
    I'm curious @dennis when you play rhythm for the A list people, do you ask them what they prefer or they will tell you what they like to hear?
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    Never follow a soloist or rhythm player who is pushing or dragging. Imagine if you had a soloist who always tended to push. If the rhythm section always tries to get right under him/her then they will speed up but the soloist will continue to push and the end result will be a drastic speed up. Some soloists do that for effect (especially in more modern jazz it's 'cool' to 'lay back'. If you follow them it blows the effect totally not to mention that the groove is gone. Try to always stick with the tempo that you start with. It's not easy. No silver bullet.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    Buco wrote: »
    I'm curious @dennis when you play rhythm for the A list people, do you ask them what they prefer or they will tell you what they like to hear?

    Some will , some won't. Stochelo is a very polite guy, so he doesn't say much. The only thing he ever said to me was that he wanted me to play a specific voicing for a certain song, and to put more accent on the upstroke when playing rhumba waltzes.

    Bireli really wants it to push and so does Angelo (Even more so)

    Tcha really doesn't want it to push. Fapy either. Fapy even told me he'd rather the rhythm pull just a little bit.

    Seb Giniaux wants it to push a bit.

    Everyone is different! and every song too, some songs, certain artists want a certain feel.

    I think if a soloist pushes a lot, it's probably a good idea to push a little bit too. The song will definitely speed up but that's the way it is. On the other hand, if a soloist plays behind the beat, then it's super important not to drag.

    At any rate, when I say it's every one's responsibility, I mean it in the sense that everyone is constantly actively listening. I'm listening to the bass player and soloist for his/her time, but the bass player is also listening to me and the soloist, etc... When everyone's on the same page, it's just magical.

    Bucot-birdBob Holo
  • Amen @dennis Magical indeed
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,832
    Thank you Dennis, that was a cool insight.
    Angelo to me is the most obvious to hear pushing the beat.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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