This issue we feature great bass-drum duos. We all know that the rhythm section is the most important part of a band. As Jaco used to say, “Women, children and rhythm section first.” And there is nothing quite like a bass and drums team that has stayed together for years. If you don’t see your favorite rhythm section here, don’t despair. This is just part 1 of a series. Let us know who your favorite duos are and send along a video clip of the two locking in.
We start with one of the greatest drum-bass combos in all of music – Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, or simply Sly & Robbie. They have been together for 30 years and their impact on reggae, dub and rap is indisputable. How Robbie can do so much on bass with so few notes should be a lesson to us all.
George Porter Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste became the very funky rhythm section for the Meters in 1965. Their slinky, laid back style distinguished them from the funk bands that focused on hitting the one. Here they are with the Meters playing the classic “Cissy Strut.”
Ron Carter and Tony Williams were the rhythm section for Miles Davis throughout much of the 60s. Check out the two backing Herbie Hancock, another member of the Miles Davis group during that period, in a rendition of Herbie’s “Cantaloupe Island.”
William Parker made his name early in avant garde jazz playing with such luminaries as Cecil Taylor. Since then he has appeared often with the incredible percussionist Hamid Drake. Most of their performances and recordings have been in the jazz style, but here they back the rapper Beans. The quality of the video is poor (as was the attendance at this date apparently), but we include it here to show what two guys who know each other well can do in a genre that is outside their norm.