What Jazz Standards Feature Signature Bass Lines?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Tim Bowen, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    7,478
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    Talking old school standards, the tunes that live in Real Books, not contemporary/smooth/funk/fusion.

    With charts, along with the knowledge of how to play walking bass lines, one can mostly navigate a lot of swing tunes effectively without playing anything specifically tracked on original recordings (not that such would not be cool, useful, etc. - but that's not where I'm going with this). And for a lot of Latin stuff, the classic root-five moves* associated with said genre in a general sense often work well with sambas and bossas. I hope it is obvious that I am grossly oversimplifying here.

    What I'm asking about here are bass lines in the old standards that are like signature parts, hooks - in other words, if they're played differently, or improvised (regardless of how well), it's not quite the ticket. Off the top of my head, "All Blues" and "So What" from Miles Davis come to mind. Also, "Song For My Father"* by Horace Silver, from which Becker & Fagen borrowed the line for their piano figure in the opening of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number". And what else?

    * The Horace Silver bass figure with some tweaks is not far off from a reasonably effective generic treatment for some Latin tunes.

    Also, are there any standards that feature a signature bass line during the head, which stick with this line throughout solo sections, as opposed to typical treatments such as going to a swing/walking feel during improv sections, and then returning to the signature part at the end, for the head?

    Do any signature bass lines come to mind for ballads?
     
  2. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    4,244
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Serenade to a cuckoo, Nostalgia in times square, Haitian fight song, Tricotism
     
  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,761
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    Miles Davis' "So What" immediately came to mind for me. The other one that came to mind was "The Chicken". This may seem
    like a jazz funk standard made famous by Jaco Pastorius, which it is. But in reading up on it apparently it was originally written by
    Pee Wee Ellis and was recorded by Dave Liebman in '77 and re-named "Chicken Soup".
     
  4. overlock

    overlock Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,065
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Location:
    N. Ireland
    Fever?
     
  5. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    7,478
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    Thanks guys, will go see what I can find for these suggested tunes at YouTube.

    Also: "A Night In Tunisia /(Interlude)"; Dizzy Gillespie
     
  6. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,291
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2012
    Location:
    Nelson City TX
    As I recall, jazz singer Anita O'Day used to perform most of the tune "Honeysuckle Rose" accompanied by only an acoustic bass.
    She recorded it this way on a number of occasions. Check it out if you get the chance.

    Similarly, Julie London recorded "Daddy" with a sparse arrangement built around a bass line.
     
    ringodingo likes this.
  7. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    4,242
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    Anderson, IN
    "All Blues" and "Take Five" come to mind.
    Oh, yeah, "A Love Supreme," too.
     
  8. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    6,987
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    Yeah, "So What" was my first thought, also. Pharoah Sanders' "Thembi" has a cool bass line (1 - 5 - 9), but it's hardly a jazz standard. CS

    ETA: P.S. Geez, how did I not think of "Killer Joe?" I'm getting old. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  9. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,599
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    NELA, Ca
    These are not necessarily 'straight ahead' Jazz Standards but they were written and performed by arguably some of the best jazz musicians ...

    Red Clay
    Killer Joe
    500 Miles High
    Cold Duck Time
    Cantaloupe Island
    Chameleon
     
  10. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    7,478
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    Killer Joe is a classic example.

    Regarding the above, Killer Joe would be a viable candidate for such, since the bass hook is already a walking figure. Not the case though, the bass continues walking when the tune opens up for improvs, but with different lines than the hook, in every version I've heard.

    It's not my primary reason for the thread, but I find it curious that I can think of no tunes where the bass does not veer away from an established line at the onset of improv rides. Well that's just jazz I suppose.

    Thanks for the suggestions, gentlemen, keep 'em coming. And I'd be interested in hearing your opinions as to which tunes listed so far, as well as others with signature lines and hooks, would be most likely to be called at a typical straight ahead jazz pickup gig.
     
  11. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,599
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    NELA, Ca
    Yep, that's jazz. after the head ... all bets are off, especially in the low end.

    As for tunes called relating to this 'bass line' thread. It's regional.
    Out here on the coast:
    Red Clay
    Song For My Father
    Cantaloupe Is.
    Cold Duck X
    Killer Joe
    All Blues
    Take 5

    *Boogie Stop Shuffle, a Mingus tune has a pretty sig bass line.
     
  12. CC Ryan

    CC Ryan Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    171
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Location:
    Topanga, CA
    Four On Six - Wes Montgomery
     
  13. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,690
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Location:
    CT
    Footprints by Wayne Shorter
     
    Tim Bowen likes this.
  14. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,599
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    NELA, Ca
    Excellent example!
    And this one tends not to stray too far throughout the tune.
     
  15. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia
    Yeah I can think of a bunch of tunes where the bass line is an integral part of the head arrangement - but after that - its open slather depending on who's playing it.

    Night In Tunisia
    Four on Six (the bass line does a great job of disguising the fact that the tune is based on 'Summertime')
    Mile's arrangement of Green Dolphin st on the 1st and 3rd 8
    Birdland - err -well Jaco plays the tune up front while Zawinul plays the bass line.....
    Nothing Personal (Brecker)
    Equinox
    Bolivia - Cedar Walton and
    Joshua - Miles Davis - similar bass lines
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  16. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    18,996
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Cantaloupe Island. The Sidewinder.
     
  17. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    7,478
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    All Blues
    So What
    Song For My Father
    Serenade to a Cuckoo
    Nostalgia in Times Square
    Haitian Fight Song
    Tricotism
    The Chicken/Chicken Soup
    Fever
    A Night in Tunisia (Interlude)
    Honeysuckle Rose
    Daddy
    Take Five
    A Love Supreme
    Thembi
    Red Clay
    Killer Joe
    500 Miles High
    Cold Duck Time
    Cantaloupe Island
    Chameleon
    Boogie Stop Shuffle
    Four On Six
    Green Dolphin Street (Miles)
    Birdland (Weather Report)
    Nothing Personal (Brecker)
    Equinox
    Bolivia (Walton)
    Joshua (Miles)
    The Sidewinder
     
    ringodingo likes this.
  18. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,499
    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Watermelon Man?
     
  19. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    1,463
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Mr PC
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.