BAKITHI KUMALO WITH HIS SIGNATURE CALIFORNIA U-BASS The all new, redesigned California U-Bass is now available online! UBASS.COM
100 The Greatest Bass Players What is it about lists? People love making them, reading them, and listening to them. Lists bring order to chaos. They help us remember things. They’re easy to scan. They promise instant knowledge. And they give us an opportunity to disagree. Bass Player has done very few list-style issues. We shy away from big lists because they’re timeconsuming, and we don’t really think of the folks we cover in a “Top 100” kind of way. But when our group’s general manager, Bill Amstutz, suggested an issue celebrating 100 great bass players, we thought, why not? It’d be a great way to revisit players and albums we haven’t heard in a while. So we got down to business by choosing criteria: What is each candidate’s degree of lasting influence? What is their impact on the role of the bass? Does the average music fan know any of their bass lines? How innovative was the player’s technique, sound, and gear? And, in the context of their era, how impressive was their technical prowess? We limited candidates to non-classical players with careers after 1900 (sorry, Domenico Dragonetti). We also skipped keyboardists with awesome left hands, which meant no Stevie Wonder, Greg Phillinganes, Bernie Worrell, or Herbie Hancock. Last, we omitted part-time bassists such as Prince, Sly Stone, Ronnie Wood, and Shuggie Otis, who occasionally threw down killer bass parts. With those parameters in place, we got down to making our picks, bringing in BP folks present and past: current staffers Chris Jisi, E.E. Bradman, Jonathan Herrera, Karl Coryat, and Jon D’Auria; former editors Jim Roberts, Richard Johnston, Bill Leigh, and Brian Fox; and longtime writers Ed Friedland, John Goldsby, Freddy Villano, and Rick Suchow. As in many situations, personal taste trumped Vulcan logic. Here at Bass Player, we’re quite a diverse lot, so a big part of the fun was engaging in passionate conversations about why a player should or shouldn’t be included, and deciding how high or low players should be ranked. No single contributor would have arrived at this exact list, but we can (almost) all agree on the Top 10. In the end, though, how much do these rankings matter? Not much. Consider this gem from Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook, when writer Thomas Wictor asked him how he felt about being considered influential: “How are you supposed to feel about something like that? You’re an ‘innovative bassist who’s influenced hundreds of bass players,’ but when you’ve got a flat tire on your car or you’re trying to stop your baby from crying, that isn’t any use whatsoever, is it? It makes me embarrassed, mostly.” By The Bass Player Staff bassplayer.com / february2017 21
Spring has sprung with stories on the first 2017 bass tournaament, wildflower walks, end of winter on the slopes and tubing hills and more. Plus the April lineup at The Cave and new Black Kat Wine Room!