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Bass Transcription: Paul Chambers Bass Line AND Solo - "A Foggy Day"

June 1, 2016

Oh snizzity snap, it's Paul Chambers' FULL bass line and solo on A Foggy Day with Red Garland Trio.

 

This is from the spectacular 1956 jazz album A Garland of Red.

 

This track is THE reason it's so great and fun to play along with the album (which is on Spotify, btw): by playing along, it ingrains into our subconscious all the things Paul Chambers does so well that often go under the conscious radar.

 

I'm talking about his perfect time, groove, keeping the form intact, responding immediately and intuitively to his bandmates.

 

The bass line is virtually a melody in itself: check out measure 24. He repeats this I'm counting 5 other times.

 

Or the ascending line in measures 11-12 played over the ii-V is something he repeats often. One takeaway for me: it's not necessarily the creativity of the note choices themselves that makes a line effective, it's the fundamentals of locking in time with the drummer, keeping the form and groove, thus giving your fellow bandmates the opportunity to sound great.

One of my most challenging bass teachers named Jim Stinnett frequently discussed "tension and release." Check out the line starting at measure 43. The line takes Garland's solo into orbit by utilizing the basses higher register, then Donkey-Kong smashes back down to earth in measure 57. Tension and release!

 

In fear of writing a novel, I will end here, but there are tons of melodic ideas in Paul Chambers' solo as well... enjoy!!

 

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