This month we focus on the Upright Man – masters of the upright bass, standing bass, acoustic bass, double bass, contrabass – whatever you call it, it’s an instrument distinct from the bass guitar in so many ways.
Who better to lead off with than one of greatest composers in jazz history as well as an incredible bass player – Charles Mingus. We always endeavor to get the best audio and visual quality for our reader-viewers, but sometimes we have to sacrifice audio/visual quality particularly when dealing with archival tapes. This is one of those instances. But very much worth it, as you will see.
Here is another example of when the quality of the tape just doesn’t matter. Check out upright master Ron Carter in 1982 with Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson and Kenny Barron.
Here is modern master Christian McBride soloing on Ornette’s “Turnaround,” with Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman and Brian Blade.
We have featured Stanley Clarke before on bass guitar, but arguably he is even more impressive on acoustic bass. Check out what he can do on the upright – and listen to his explanation. Also check him out this summer touring with Return to Forever!
Finally, last and least, we have the Leningrad Cowboys from Finland with the Soviet Red Army Choir performing “Sweet Home Alabama.” Don’t miss the Russkie on bass (?) at about 0:24, which give us an excuse (as if we need one) to include this wacky video.