In this issue we present Part 2 of our ongoing series of great bass-drum duos. The rhythm section is the most important part of any band (as Jaco said, “Women, children and rhythm section first”), and clearly there is nothing like a bass-and-drums team that has stayed together for years. In our last issue we featured Sly & Robbie, George Porter Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste, Ron Carter and Tony Williams and William Parker and Hamid Drake – a very good start, to be sure, but there are so many more duos that stayed and played together for years and, in their own way, changed music forever. Here are some of them:
Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb
Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) played with Miles Davis on the Kind of Blue album (1959), which is the bestselling jazz record of all time, still selling 5,000 copies a week after almost 40 years. Here they are playing “So What” from that album – the definition of cool.
Rocco Prestia and David Garibaldi
Tower of Power is in their 40th year, and Rocco Prestia (bass) and David Garibaldi (drums) were there at the beginning and they’re still there today. Here they perform “What is Hip?” That’s Lenny Pickett on sax.
Paul Jackson and Mike Clark
Paul Jackson (bass) and Mike Clark (drums) anchored Herbie Hancock’s band in the 70s and have performed with the Headhunters – with and without Herbie – since then. Here are clips from their instructional video featuring one sick groove after another.
Count Basie Rhythm Section
Check out the legendary Freddie Green (guitar), Norman Keenan (bass) and Sonny Payne (drums) backing Count Basie on “Twenty Minutes After Three” in 1968. This performance can be found on a DVD called Sound of Swing. You have to love the guy puffing on a cigarette and sitting next to Count Basie, which happens to be the famous music critic Ralph Gleason. Keenan also backed Harry Belafonte and the Chad Mitchell Trio (!). Mercifully, we were unable to uncover any footage of the latter – not that we looked hard.
William “Bootsy” Collins
You may ask, Why is this a clip of just Bootsy? Well, listen and watch as Bootsy explains “The One” in a 2008 lecture at the Berklee School of Music. As you are taking in the lesson, ask yourself: Does this guy even need a drummer – or a bass, for that matter?