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Ray Brown’s Bass line from Surrey with the Fringe on Top

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by Alex Wilkerson –

This month’s transcription is Ray Brown’s Bass line from “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” (Download: Surrey – Ray Brown – Transcription), off Barney Kessel’s album The Poll Winners Ride Again! This is a trio, and as such, makes an agreed upon harmony difficult.  There are standard changes that a tune can abide by, but there are so many common variations that are widely accepted, it makes it hard to know when chord changes are altered or if one person is just implying an alteration.  In a trio, this can be very difficult.  For instance, the musicians might be thinking of the song as having four measures on the one chord.  In this situation however, there are a dizzying amount of alterations that can and will be applied.  One such example as found in this piece is to play the one chord on measures one and three, and the five chord on measures two and four.  Another common approach for this tune is to play one measure on the one chord, the next on the two chord, the next on three, and back to the two chord.  Sliding in a “two-five” to your target chord is an extremely common technique that bass players can use at any time, even if no one else strictly observes these new alterations.  In a trio, when there are only two harmonic instruments, and one of them is taking a solo, it makes it impossible to tell whether alterations were intended to be hinted at, or if they are thought of as firm deviations.  What’s the difference?  The difference is in knowing when to use the idea.  If Ray Brown was implying a chord on top of a different chord, then that is how you would use the idea in your own playing.  In this transcription, I did my best to notate the chord changes that would be the most likely agreed upon by the musicians, and the most helpful to us to learn from Ray Brown’s lines.

There are two main points that we can take from this recording.  One is to take licks from Brown’s solo, analyze them against the written chord symbols, memorize the idea, and add it to your bag of tricks.  The other is to listen to the recording, make note of certain measures where you like the walking line, analyze by the numbers what the idea is and apply to your own walking lines.  For instance, if you particularly liked measure 70, you would take the notes A, G, F#, D, and apply those notes to their chord symbols.  This would give you 1, b7, 3, 8 (same as 1).  Now take this idea, memorize it, and try to use it on all the 2-5’s that are a measure long during your practice time.  It’s important to apply them to walking through a real song.  Taking the idea through all 12 keys is good, but it must be applied to a real tune before you will find it easy available to use in a real situation.

One interesting idea is that instead of thinking chord scales for a solo, you can use color notes.  For instance, in the key of F major, the D chord is a minor seven chord.  If you see a 3-6-2-5 chord progression where the six chord is a dominant chord, such as D7 in the key of F major, this chord is only different from the F major scale by one note.  Instead of thinking mixolydian flat 13, you could just keep soloing in F major, but be sure to play an F# in the place of all F notes.  This will spell out the major third of your D7 without requiring you to think of an entirely new chord scale.  This can be particularly handy if the D7 lasts for only two beats and you are playing over 250 bpm.  Try this idea out..  Now for any jazz guys who are reading this and thinking that the 9 and 13 are also different, this is sometimes true, but only if you want to imply a temporary minor key center. If the changes are fast enough, it might be more prudent to stick to a generally major key center for the entire 3-6-2-5-1.

That’s it for this month.  Hope you enjoyed the tune, see you next time.

Download: Surrey – Ray Brown

Bass Videos

Working-Class Zeros: Episode #3 – John Patitucci IG Video, The Summer Festival Gig, iPads on Stage

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WORKING-CLASS ZEROS With Steve Rosati and Shawn Cav

In this episode we cover John Patitucci’s IG video about saying ‘no’ to the gig, the Summer Festival gig, and iPads on stage (sure it’s awesome but is it necessary?)

These stories from the front are with real-life, day-to-day musicians who deal with work life and gigging and how they make it work out. Each month, topics may include… the kind of gigs you get, the money, dealing with less-than-ideal rooms, as well as the gear you need to get the job done… and the list goes on from there.” – Steve the Bass Guy and Shawn Cav

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Curly Hendo

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Interview Wity Bassist Curly Hendo

Bassist Curly Hendo…

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, bassist Curly Hendo has been super busy. Starting with dance from a young age, Curly took up bass shortly after and has been going strong ever since. She has collaborated with numerous acts worldwide and is an in-demand session/touring bassist and musical director.

Join me as we learn about Curly’s musical journey, how she gets her sound, and her plans for a very bright future.

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @jermsbass @degierguitars @meridian_guitars @xvector_basses @marleaux_bassguitars @mattissonbass @alesvychodilbasses @gvguitars @thebassplace @xylembassguitar

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Bass CDs

New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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Gear News

New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Dual Compressor/Effects Loop

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New Gear: Phil Jones Bass X2C Duel Compressor/Effects Loop

Step Into X2C With Phil Jones Bass Dual Compressor/Effects Loop…

Phil Jones Bass latest pedal innovation is the X2C Dual Compressor with Dual Effects Loop for performance and recording. The X2C incorporates advanced compressor circuit technology and provides comprehensive tone control with a dual crossover feature which divides the signal into frequency bands ranging from 100Hz to 500Hz, ensuring exceptional clarity and dynamics in tone refinement. 

With insert jacks on each band, the X2C unlocks limitless creativity, enabling players to use various FX pedals for custom tone sculpting. Additionally, it functions as an electronic crossover, ideal for driving high-performance, 2-way bass rigs.

PJB’s Dual-Band compression design is more flexible than standard single-band compressors and provides a more natural and transparent sound. It also provides greater control over shaping and managing dynamics where standard compressors affect the entire frequency spectrum of an audio signal.  

PJB’s dual compressor enables the player to shape specific frequency ranges of an audio signal which allows for compressing the low frequencies while preserving the high frequencies, or vice-versa. Treating the low-end with a dedicated band also allows for heavy compression without affecting the midrange frequencies, which carry the attack of the sound. 

Effects can be plugged into the insert jacks on the X2C and controlled separately. As an example, the lows can be adjusted separately for an overdrive pedal while the highs can be controlled for a chorus. 

Dividing the audio spectrum into fundamental frequencies and harmonics is also effective in the enrichment of slapping techniques. The low frequencies can be compressed without changing the dynamics of the “slap”. By controlling the low frequencies and focusing the attack on the slap the amplifier will sound louder while avoiding overloading of the amp or speakers. The low band can be compressed without the harmonics being affected. In addition, the send jacks can go to different amplifiers/speakers for a bi-amplification set up.

Compact and potent, the X2C embodies studio-grade excellence, setting a new standard for dynamic processing in an uncompromising, portable pedal. The street price is $359.99.

Visit online at www.pjbworld.com

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