Interview with Bassist Darryl Jones
When considering a shortlist of all-time legendary rock bands, The Rolling Stones are a definite on everyone’s list. And when discussing the jazz world, Miles Davis is a core part of that conversation. Most impressive is that there is one bassist who has held down the low-end for both… Darryl Jones.
These things don’t happen by accident.
Jones has excelled in his craft, finding a platform to thrive as a player, continually connecting with like-minded musicians and fans. His superb bass playing with its diversity, feel and pocket, has made him an undeniable force in the bass-playing world. His notes are pure, sounding important and essential to the song. Jones has bridged decades and genres, playing with the noblest of talent, from Sting and Madonna, to Herbie Hancock and John Scofield.
And now you can catch him with his new project, Chi-Town Social Club, the authentic sounds of classic Chicago soul music. Just like binge-watching a continuing Netflix series, I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next episode of the career of Darryl Jones. He is a bass player always prepping for the next season and simply put, an inspiration.
I am grateful and honored to have Darryl Jones as this month’s guest in BASS2BASS with FREEKBASS.
FKB: You have played with some of the most iconic musicians and bands in all genres. Some folks would say you have reached the top of the mountain. What are some of the things do you do, inside or outside of music, to keep yourself motivated and excited about creating?
DJ: The funny thing about reaching the mountain top is there’s always another mountain. I love books on a wide variety of topics: history, biographies, current events, design, etc. I just completed a film score for a wonderful independent film called “The Obituary Of Tunde Johnson” and I’m currently working on the score for a documentary that’s being filmed about my life and career. I’m interested in doing more music for film so I’m listening to and studying lots of the great film composers like Bernard Hermann, Elmer Berstein, Ennio Morricone, etc. I love film and art(impressionist). I’m a boxing fan and I enjoy mitt work.
FKB: A new bass company wants to create a new bass guitar with only one string, and asks which string you choose. Which string? (E,A,D,G…or a B) and why that choice?
DJ: Given the choice of only one string I’d have to choose the A string. It’s the most versatile. It’s within the range that allows the most choices.
FKB: If you were to start a “School of Bass”, who would some of the professors be?
DJ: First of all, Jim Blanton, Ray Brown, Monk Montgomery, James Jameson, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius. Listening to and learning bass lines from these and several other masters is, in itself, a masterclass. The more carefully one listens and learns, the more knowledge and wisdom can be gained.
Second, Angus Thomas, who was/is my first teacher(I was also his first student). Though he was only 15 when we began, he remains the teacher who influenced me most. From the first lesson, he didn’t let me off the hook because I was young and inexperienced and during the next few years he taught me how to teach myself. A skill I use to this day. I would start every beginner with him.
Third, there are many great bassists who are also extraordinary teachers. Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Maurice Verloop, George Lopez and Steve Hong to name a few but I think many bass students could also benefit greatly from a multidisciplinary approach. I would include instruction in cooking, drawing, painting, photography, voice and yoga/meditation.
FKB: You are asked to write a soundtrack for a movie with the bass being the dominant (or only) instrument. What would the movie be? You get to title it…
DJ: I think of the bass as such a versatile instrument that such an idea is well within the realm of possibility. Actually, I’m glad you mentioned it! Titles: “The History Of Chicago Told Through The Music And Art Created Here” or “Bass Desires” I don’t know! ?????
FKB: In your opinion, which superhero would make the best bass player and why?
DJ: The Flash would be good because he can travel backward and forward in time. Talk about being well prepared for a gig!
Visit Darryl Jones online at darryljones.com