CS 100 GREATEST BASS PLAYERS 17 Chuck Rainey Rainey credits the 16th-note pulse of New York City drummers as the ingredient that set him apart from his peers in other cities’ classic rhythm sections. That percussion perk led the Ohio native to forge one of the cornerstone R&B styles, making an indelible mark with King Curtis, Aretha Franklin (“Rock Steady”), and many others. His early-’70s move to Los Angeles at the behest of Quincy Jones resulted in more seminal sides with Steely Dan (Kid Charlemange, Aja), Marvin Gaye, and the Jackson 5. 18 Bootsy Collins Bootsy has made bass history at least three times: as a teenage sideman with James Brown on classics like “Super Bad” and “Soul Power” (1961–’71); as co-creator of immortal Parliament– Funkadelic classics such as “Mothership Connection” and “Up for the Down Stroke” (1972–’80); and as ringleader of Bootsy’s Rubber Band, whose songs like “Stretchin’ Out (In a Rubber Band)” catapulted Bootsy— plus his Space Bass, vocal stylings, and Hendrix-inspired effects—to Saturday-morning-cartoon superhero status. 19 Rocco Prestia A living legend of the groove and one of the most inimitable bass stylists, Rocco has spent five decades defining fingerstyle funk via muted and ghosted 16th-notes as a member of Oakland’s iconic Tower Of Power. Credit drummer Dave Garibaldi for inspiring Prestia’s bass lines on such anthems as “What Is Hip?”, “Soul Vaccination,” “You’ve Got to Funkifize” “Oakland Stroke,” and “Credit.” But as ’90s TOP drummer Herman Matthews told BP, “Without Rocco, Tower is just another horn band.” 20 John Patitucci Brooklyn-born Patitucci remains the preeminent doubler in bassdom. On the electric bass side, he (along with Anthony Jackson) firmly established the 6-string bass guitar, inspiring a generation of chopsters in all styles via his early solo sides and his role in Chick Corea’s Elektric Band. On upright, his 1996 return home from L.A. culminated in top playing and teaching stints and his fixture role in Wayne Shorter’s quartet. His underlying mission remains the acceptance and advancement of the bass guitar in a jazz context. 21 John Paul Jones Led Zeppelin’s “secret weapon,” JPJ’s love of odd times and sophisticated harmonies created a sound that could rock both your pelvis and your noggin. His twisted “Black Dog” riff (1971) was his attempt to trip up fans who would dance at the band’s concerts. His tasty subhook on “Ramble On” (1969) brings the song’s verses to a completely different place, and “The Lemon Song,” also from ’69, is a masterwork blues that every developing bassist should try to transcribe or learn—preferably, both. 22 Paul Chambers His famous bass line on “So What” from Kind of Blue propels Paul Chambers (1935–1969) into the Top 25. In the ’50s, Chambers played with the first incarnation of the Miles Davis Quintet, later becoming John Coltrane’s first call and recording Giant Steps with the tenor titan. As a bandleader, Chambers recorded Whims of Chambers and Bass on Top. His ebullient walking, swinging eighth-note solos, and arco mastery puts Chambers on the top among hard boppers. 23 Jack Casady A cornerstone rock bass innovator, Casady made his sweeping melodic mark helping to create the “San Francisco sound” with Jefferson Airplane and forming Hot Tuna with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen—recording with Hendrix in-between. A diligent and discerning advocate for the art and craft of bass playing, Casady drew from classical music, Jelly Roll Morton, Mingus, and Eddie Condon to master FRANK DRIGGS SCOTTY HALL 26 bassplayer.com / february2017
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