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BassPlayer 2017-02

BassPlayer 2017-02

CS 100 GREATEST BASS

CS 100 GREATEST BASS PLAYERS the finer points of creating musical bass lines, incorporating dynamics, and especially shaping tone. 24 Beach Boys (Pet Sounds, “Good Vibrations”), Quincy Jones (“Hickey Burr”), Sonny & Cher (“The Beat Goes On”), Mel Tormé (“Games People Play”), and Joe Cocker (“Feeling Alright”). 26 JIM CROCKETT The Chicago native credits such mentors as his brother Maurice, Charles Stepney, and especially Chess session bass ace (and later EWF trombonist) Louis Satterfield—but Verdine is the true shining star. 28 global stage. Ensuing group such as Mr. Big, Niacin, and Winery Dogs have enabled Sheehan to remain chart- and arena-relevant. 30 Israel “Cachao” Lopez The father of Latin bass and king of the tumbao, Cachao transformed the Cuban traditional dance, danzon, into mambo, and his seminal recordings of jam sessions called descargas changed popular Afro-Cuban music and paved the way for generations of artists to follow. As a classically trained bassist who made his symphonic debut at 13, Cachao developed a hard-swinging style rife with inventive figures that included hitting the body of the bass, all to create rhythmic counterpoint—the true mark of great Latin bass playing. 25 Chris Squire When Squire first hit the FM airwaves with Yes, listeners weren’t even sure they were hearing bass. His zingy, aggressive riffs under songs such as “Roundabout” (1971), played on his Rickenbacker RM1999, made for a completely new sound—especially since he used both a pick and roundwounds. Squire’s machinelike precision, too, was a key part of the band’s vibe. “He was thinking outside the box,” says Yes guitarist Steve Howe. “It was like he jumped over the fence and saw it from the other side.” 27 George Porter Jr. The Meters legend’s style, built alongside Zigaboo Modeliste’s second-line syncopations, has inspired generations of funk fans to try mastering gems like “Cissy Strut,” “Funkify Your Life,” and “Africa.” Although he has retired his main Fender Telecaster and Precision axes, Porter and his Lakland Bob Glaub are still on fire with the Runnin’ Partners, the Funky Meters, and several other bands, soulfully epitomizing the New Orleans bass sound. 29 NEIL ZLOZOWER Flea Flea’s aggressive, slap-heavy style with the Red Hot Chili Peppers lit up the mid-’80s L.A. scene, exemplified by their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” (1989). By ’91, Flea had emerged with a refined style, largely trading in his slapping for muscular melodic statements, such as the back-and-forth ostinato on the hit “Give It Away.” Through the ’90s and beyond, Flea has remained one of the most visible and admired representatives of rock bass. 31 Carol Kaye The first lady of bass is a pioneering legend both as a performer and educator. A bebop guitarist, Kaye picked up a Fender Precision at a 1963 Capitol session for an absent bassist. Possessing a deft touch and funky feel, she began a rapid rise as a member of L.A.’s Wrecking Crew, which recorded seminal sides with the Verdine White How do you anchor a band like Earth, Wind & Fire? If you’re Verdine White, you do it with bass lines as powerful and memorable as the songs they support. White’s running-start pickups and pocket-widening post-one pops are key components to the EWF sound. Billy Sheehan The prolific rock-bass virtuoso honed his craft in the Buffalo bar trio Talas, where he recreated on his fingerboard many of the missing parts on cover songs. Talas opened for Van Halen in 1980, leading Sheehan to join David Lee Roth’s band and advance his groundbreaking techniques on a Lee Sklar Highlights from the bearded bass master’s incredible L.A. session reign from the late-’60s to still-going-strong: His melody-first, singer/songwritertemplate bass lines with James Taylor. His remarkable first-take creativity and extreme versatility, heard on major road and record runs with Phil Collins, Toto, Lyle Lovett, Billy Cobham [Spectrum], and Carole King’s 28 bassplayer.com / february2017

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