If you are a jazz bass player or perhaps only a fan, I am sure that you have your thoughts about who would be the very best and why. You probably don’t need to read this list to discover any new names, that’s for sure. instead of finding the best player, Fidlar will show you the Best Jazz Bassists in history.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s Jazz?
- 2 Best Jazz Bassists Of All Time
- 2.1 1. Charles Mingus
- 2.2 2. Ron Carter
- 2.3 3. Jaco Pastorius
- 2.4 4. Stanley Clarke
- 2.5 5. Ray Brown
- 2.6 6. Paul Chambers
- 2.7 7. Bill Black
- 2.8 8. Scott LaFaro
- 2.9 9. Charlie Haden
- 2.10 10. Dave Holland
- 2.11 11. Victor Bailey
- 2.12 12. Alphonso Johnson
- 2.13 13. John Patitucci
- 2.14 14. Marcus Miller
- 2.15 15. George Mraz
- 2.16 16. Spanky DeBrest
- 2.17 17. Eberhard Weber
- 2.18 18. Victor Wooten
- 2.19 18. Malachi Favors
- 2.20 19. William Parker
- 2.21 20. Charnett Moffett
Jazz is a type of music where improvisation is typically a significant part. In many jazz performances, most players perform solos that they constitute on the place, which demands considerable skill.
There’s tremendous variety in jazz, but most jazz is quite perceptible, has a forward momentum referred to as swing, and uses bent or blue notes.
You may often hear telephone and reaction patterns in jazz, where one device, voice, or portion of this group answers another. (you may listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Roy Eldridge perform call and answer at Ella’s Singing Class.) Jazz can express many distinct feelings, from annoyance to utter joy.
In jazz, you might hear the noises of freedom-for that the music was a strong voice for individuals suffering unfair treatment due to the color of their skin or because they lived in a nation run by a cruel dictator.
The Nature Of Jazz
Jazz musicians put a high value on discovering their sound and style, which implies, by way of instance, that trumpeter Miles Davis sounds different than trumpeter Louis Armstrong (whose noise you may listen to in Louis’s Music Class.)
Jazz musicians prefer to play with their tunes in their different styles, and that means you may hear some dozen distinct jazz records of the identical song, but each will seem different.
The artists’ playing styles make every version di-different and thus do the improvised solos. Jazz is all about creating something recognizable, a recognizable song to something new.
And about creating something familiar, a song that everybody understands to so something personal. Those are simply a few reasons that jazz is a superb art form, and why some people today consider it “America’s classical music.”
In jazz, as in many songs, the bass is your most important thing. It is both a part of the audio (and all the drums) rhythmic basis along with the sonic glue that binds everything together. From the New Orleans-style jazz ensembles of the early 20th Century, basslines were played by the tuba representing jazz marching-band origins.
Still, the upright, four-string dual bass finally superseded this tool. Since the jaunty 2/4 meter of 20s jazz evolved to the fluid 4/4 swing rhythms of the 30s that described the significant band era, the greatest jazz bassists played a vital role in keeping the music flowing by enjoying lines which were usually staged tirelessly to allow the unamplified instrument to be noticed.
Best Jazz Bassists Of All Time
1. Charles Mingus
Though Charles Mingus probably might have played professionally as a pianist, as evidenced by Mingus Plays Piano and Yeah, he was a complete monster on the bass well as a remarkably gifted composer.
While his bass abilities could be observed about the excellent 1953 Jazz at Massey Hall live record with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and Max Roach, his landmark 1959 Columbia disk, Mingus Ah Um, is hailed by some as his best recording. It is undoubtedly an excellent place to begin for the uninitiated.
The disc showcases the bassist’s affinity for the gospel on tunes such as Better Get Hit in Yo’ Soul, while paying homage to Lester Young about the stunning Goodbye Porkpie Hat, along with tributes to two of his most important influences, Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton.
2. Ron Carter
Ron Carter has performed over 2,500 records and secured a place in jazz history among the world’s best upright bass players. Doing a great deal more than helping anchor the rhythm, Carter is a melodic master. In his five-decade-long profession.
He has played countless jazz legends, such as a five-year stint at Miles Davis’s quintet, an outfit that also contained Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams.
While his playing most of the records he did with Davis are leading, many of his records as a leader, such as Uptown Conversation, are exceptional, as are his duo albums with guitarist Jim Hall, platters such as Live in the Village West and Alone Together.
3. Jaco Pastorius
A vibrant and muscular participant, Jaco Pastorius, who passed away in 1987 at age 35, remains among the strongest electric bassists in jazz.
Some hail his 1975 self-titled debut record as one of the best jazz bass albums ever; it needs to be required listening for any aspiring bass player, particularly his interpretation of Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee, or his harmonic work on Continuum and Portrait of Tracy. Pastorius used to state he had been the best bass player of all time and the dude could back this up with his virtuosic skills.
4. Stanley Clarke
While Stanley Clarke is equally a master of the best double bass song and electric bass and a lively visionary on both devices, he is also an accomplished composer, as evidenced by a lot of his solo disks, the groove-heave 1976 launch, School Days, and his film scores.
Clarke is a master of jazz-rock combination, particularly during his period with Return to Forever. Still, he could put down a funk groove unlike any other, and he shouts like a madman.
5. Ray Brown
Married to Ella Fitzgerald and acting in a few of the best piano trios of all time, Ray Brown is definitely among the best jazz bass players ever.
Having a career that spanned six years by the 1940’s bop with Dizzy Gillespie through to his departure in 2002, he had been releasing music straight up until the ending.
Considering that the Ray Brown discography comprises some of their most significant records created, bass players and lovers should also look at his work in the 90s as a portion of Superbass, together with Christian McBride and John Clayton.
Also, he dived into the world of jazz instruction with a richly reviewed publication named Ray Brown’s Bass Method: Essential Scales, Patterns, and Exercises. It’s possible to locate that and many more from our round among the top publications to learn jazz.
6. Paul Chambers
The truth is that both John Coltrane and Red Garland named songs following this bass (do you understand both without Googling it?!) Goes some way to demonstrating his influence on jazz’s foundation. His performances as a piece of The rhythm section watched him frequently alongside Philly Joe Jones or Jimmy Cobb on drums.
We had previously compiled and released a list of 10 of their finest Paul Chambers records ever once we put this article together that just made his addition simpler! Despite dying at the young age of 33, Paul Chambers appeared on over a hundred records, including the most renowned recordings of the 1950s and 1960s.
7. Bill Black
A rock & roll cornerstone figure, Black innovated rockabilly slap bass just as he and guitarist Scotty Moore joined up with Elvis Presley in 1954, playing on hits like Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog, and becoming one of the first (following Monk Montgomery and preceding Dave Myers) to record with a Fender Precision, on Presley’s Jailhouse Rock in 1957.
8. Scott LaFaro
Despite being born in New Jersey, Scott LaFaro initially launched himself on the West Coast Los Angeles jazz scene performing the cool school of artists such as Chet Baker, Victor Feldman, and, most famously, Bill Evans.
Also, he played an essential part in the many free scene, recording and performing together with Ornette Coleman in the early 60s until his untimely death in an auto crash in 1961.
9. Charlie Haden
With a career spanning over 50 decades, Charlie Haden established himself as a central figure in Ornette Coleman’s group, acting on possibly the most outstanding free jazz record ever, The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic, 1959).
His creative output as baa bandleader and sideman continued to grow and evolve through time, together with highlights such as his work on European jazz label ECM: recordings together with the Liberation Music Orchestra co-led with Carla Bley and as a sideman with the likes of Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, and Lee Konitz.
10. Dave Holland
The sole non-American jazz bassist to produce the record, Dave Holland, was born & raised in England, where he established himself on the London jazz scene because of the resident bassist in Ronnie Scott’s legendary Jazz Club. It had been there, in 1968, that Miles Davis discovered him, shortly after, encouraged him to join his group.
His records with Miles in that interval include some of their most renowned: Filles de Kilimanjaro (with Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams), In a Silent Way, and Bitches’ Brew.
He stayed in the united states, where he has lived for over 40 decades now, but retained his European jazz ties in position with a long-standing connection with the German record label ECM. He captured many of his records as a baa bandleader like Charles Lloyd, Sam Rivers, Tomasz Stańko & Kenny Wheeler.
11. Victor Bailey
Like Alphonso Johnson before him, Victor Bailey was a Philadelphian who made his name playing electric bass in noted fusion group Weather Report.
He appeared on the band’s final four albums and released several albums under his own name, in addition to recording with Sonny Rollins, Tom Browne, Billy Cobham, Michael Brecker, Santana, and Lady Gaga.
His nimble fingers and ability to play sinuous and melodic basslines with seemingly effortless ease ensures his place among the best jazz flutists in history.
12. Alphonso Johnson
A key member of Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul’s influential fusion group, Weather Report, during the mid-70s, Philly-born Johnson’s fluid fretless electric basslines were a pivotal factor in the band embracing a funkier and more commercial approach to jazz.
He appeared on their classic albums Mysterious Traveller, Tale Spinnin, and Black Market, though quit the band halfway through recording the latter album when he realized he was about to be replaced by Jaco Pastorius. Johnson later played with Billy Cobham, Phil Collins, Wayne Shorter, and Genesis’ Steve Hackett.
13. John Patitucci
This Brooklyn-born bass maven has enjoyed a long and productive association with Chick Corea since the 80s but has also been an in-demand session player and has contributed to records by Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, as well as Warren Zevon and Natalie Cole.
A master of both the acoustic and electric basses, Patitucci marries dexterity and an informed harmonic sensibility with a lush tone to create sinuous basslines.
14. Marcus Miller
The nephew of Miles Davis pianist Wynton Kelly, Miller was a precociously talented Brooklyn-born R&B bassist who was doing album sessions in his teens. He evolved into a virtuoso bassist, accomplished composer, and record producer who produced the acclaimed late 80s Miles Davis albums Tutu and Amandla.
As one of the best jazz bass players to ever master the instrument, there’s nothing that the technically gifted and super-versatile Miller can’t play: he can lay down chunks of gutbucket funk with the requisite level of earthiness and also execute difficult jazz pieces with supreme skill and taste.
15. George Mraz
Hailing from the Czech Republic, Mraz renowned for his instrument’s rich tone and supple, swinging basslines – made his name in the US and was a member of pianist Oscar Peterson’s trio in the 70s.
A prolific session player (he’s appeared on record with Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Joe Henderson, and Art Pepper), Mraz has released a clutch of albums as both a leader and co-leader and continues to work today, in his mid-70s.
16. Spanky DeBrest
A Philly native, William “Spanky” DeBrest, like his bass-playing contemporary Paul Chambers, didn’t live to see his 40th birthday. Though ultimately not as significant as Chambers, he still ranks among the best jazz bass solo ever in history.
Helping to lay the foundation for hard bop bass playing, he became highly sought-after in the late 50s and early 60s, playing with Thelonious Monk and appearing on albums by Clifford Jordan, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Lee Morgan and John Coltrane.
17. Eberhard Weber
This Stuttgart-born German bassist has enjoyed a long and fruitful association with producer Manfred Eicher’s Munich-based ECM label. He’s also a noted composer and his credits as a sideman range from jazz dates with Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, and Jan Garbarek to appearing on four Kate Bush albums.
Weber’s bass which he plucks and bows have a rich, resonant sound and are often characterized by slurred glissando notes, which imbue it with a lyrical quality.
18. Victor Wooten
Even though Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke were important innovators from the electric bass, Victor Wooten was a very important pace-setter on the tool with his virtuosic playing and his two-handed approach.
From his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones from the early’90s into his solo releases within the last seventeen decades, Wooten has revealed he’s definitely a huge induce from the electric bass. His outstanding 1996 introduction, A Show of Hands, is only 1 record of exactly how much Wooten can choose the bass.
18. Malachi Favors
A notable bassist in the world of free jazz, Favors, originally from Lexington, Mississippi, started out playing hard bop with Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie in the 50s but made his mark as a member of the long-running experimental music group Art Ensemble Of Chicago, from the late 60s onwards. He also recorded with Andrew Hill, Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, and Sunny Murray.
The son of a preacher, Favors brought a pronounced spiritual dimension to his music, his bass improvisations exuding a plangent, almost vocal quality that remains unique among the best bass players of all time.
19. William Parker
Born in the Bronx, Parker is a veritable giant of the American avant-garde jazz scene. His teachers included Jimmy Garrison and Richard Davis, though the young bassist quickly moved away from orthodox jazz and its traditions to embrace the free jazz aesthetic. Prior to leading his own ensembles, he played with Cecil Taylor and David S Ware.
Parker frequently alternates between plucking and bowing his bass, and considers tone color, dynamics, and timbre just as important as the notes he plays. Since the early 80s, Parker – who, unique among the best jazz bassist, is also a poet and a musical essayist has been a prolific recording artist whose work has been consistently strong.
20. Charnett Moffett
A child prodigy he started on bass at eight years old, playing in his father, saxophonist Charles Moffett’s band Big Apple-born Moffett was recording with noted horn-playing brothers Wynton and Branford Marsalis as a teenager. He was just 20 when he issued the first of 14 solo albums and has also worked with drummer Tony Williams, saxophonist Kenny Garret and guitarist Stanley Jordan.
A supremely versatile musician, Moffett, like his father before him, has also played avant-garde jazz with Ornette Coleman and incorporates Middle Eastern and fusion influences into his own, very eclectic, music. Conversant with both electric and acoustic styles, Moffett is a master of post-bop jazz whose dizzying versatility more than earns him his place among the world’s best bassists.