[Dixielandjazz] Bass Players, Solos, etc.

Harold Smith s3856lpa at webtv.net
Fri Jul 23 14:06:02 PDT 2004

Well, I'll stick my neck out on this subject.
There are many gifted, magnificently proficient bass players around,
and, this being a free country, et al, they are as much entitled to
express their talents as soloists as, say, an equally great horn man.

The problem, as I see it, is that not all bassists are equally qualified
as  greats, and their solos become a matter of endurance for the
listener.  At best, a great bass solo is a cerebral matter for the
listener.  You ain't tapping your feet when one of these guys plays the
bass much in the manner of a Dizzy Gillespie, or a Sonny Rollins.  God
bless them--they are great, and I applaud them as a listener.  But,
usually, I'm not smiling and snapping my fingers.

However, listen, by contrast, to the old Count Basie rhythm section
solos with Freddie Green on guitar and the marvelously walkng bass of
Walter Page, and if you ain't smilin', you ain't breathing.

I say let the guys who can really solo do it.  For those who would like
to, but can't cut it, either don't or keep it simple.

Harold Smth

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