Updated: Jan 17
One of my most memorable bass teachers in college, Whit Browne, successfully persuaded me that you can read any piece of music, even advanced ones, when you slow down the tempo enough.
That's one of the great things about practicing alone in a room -- there's no embarrassment in slowing a piece down to 10 bpm! It's just you and the page.
But this is the paradox that Whit so marvelously broke down for me. The paradox is the faster the tempo, the slower your growth. The slower the tempo, the faster your growth.
To elaborate, our natural impulse in the world of YouTube musicians is to play things as fast as we possibly can, make a million mistakes, and inch our way through the music. But in doing this, we deny ourselves the permission to play the piece perfectly. We force ourselves to play beyond our ability, and form the habit of prioritizing SPEED over ACCURACY.
Instead, slow the tempo way way way way down. As slow as it takes to play the piece perfectly. Build accuracy first, and let the speed come naturally over time.
Whit put it this way: "The slow way is the fast way." Do that with today's transcription if you like.
The arrangement on Again I Say Rejoice captivated me, particularly the way the bass line elevates the song’s energy throughout. In measure 104 when Palmer switches from fingerstyle to slap, it complements the heightened dynamics in Coleman’s open hi-hat and forceful back beat. It feels… pleasantly gritty. It also piqued my interest that gospel musicians play with this much attitude. Makes you want to dance, or sway, or… something. It evokes a powerful response.
Another perk of playing bass in this style is the ability to improvise the groove with subtle variations from, say, verse to verse. Reminds me of Jamerson.
Something else worth pointing out: the arrangements change from concert to concert, or at least from tour to tour. I’ve heard several different versions of this song by the same musicians (Israel Houghton, or Israel & New Breed) and that seems worth noticing… it takes a substantial amount of skill to churn out fresh, tight arrangements, play them live, and make it look easy. The hits at measures 135 and 153 may or may not happen at their next show, and instead they’ll do something entirely different. AND, they don’t have charts in front of them.