Ja zz ninja ruth gets literary on us
I recently tidied up my shelves and came across several books
about playing the b a ss that I have accu m u lated over the years.
W hen I w a s ju st starting to ge t se rio u s about playing, I thought
that everything I needed to be a good m usician w a s w ritten in
th e se bo oks, and that all I needed to do w a s to go through them ,
one by one. A fter about 12 ye ars of playing pro fessio n ally I kno w
that ju st a fe w of th o se bo oks w ould have been eno ugh for me:
I've never even o pened so m e of them . Stu d yin g m u sic and taking
b a ss le sso n s at
un iversity m eant
that I go t a lot of
inform ation from
teach ers: certain
theory books
sim p ly go through
the sa m e stu ff in
a sligh tly different
language. Th ere
are a fe w books,
how ever, that I hold
dear and w hich will
a lw a ys be a part
of m y life in one
w ay or another.
O n e of th e se is
Modern Walking
Bass Technique:
Volume 1
M ike Richm ond.
A n yo n e interested
in learning h o w to
play harm onically
sou nd w alking lines
should have this
book. Th e lines co ver a 16-bar blues chord pro gressio n in different
keys: the further you go on, the m ore co m p lex the ch o rd s within
that pro gressio n beco m e. It's e sp e cia lly interesting for double
b a ssists, as it exp lain s good po stu re and right/left hand technique,
and it's also great for practising your reading. A n other fantastic
book is the
Charlie Parker Omnibook
for all b a ss cle f instrum ents. It
has d o ze n s of transcrip tio ns of Parker's so lo s and has helped m e a
lot w ith im pro vising, phrasing and reading. Stu d yin g so lo s by horn
players can be a real eye-opener. A nother book that never leaves
m y sid e is
Six Suites For Solo Cello
by J S Bach. O f co u rse the
p ie ces are for cello, but they are w ritten in b a ss clef, so it w orks
fine for electric or double bass.
Paolo Gregoletto looks back at a fork in the road
I've been thinking back to the fall of 2008 and our 'Unholy Alliance'
tour with Slayer. Our fourth album,
, had just been released, and
it w as a rebound m om ent for us. The previous album
The Crusade
its touring cycle had been m et with m ixed review s and m ixed feelings.
There is no use in wondering w hat could or should have been. W e w ere
bound to take a downturn eventually, so getting it out of the w ay m ay
have been better for us in the long run. This Slayer tour also featured
M astodon and Am on Amarth. W e w ere co-headlining in the UK, w hich
still blow s m y mind, and the main support in Europe. I w as in an entirely
different place to w here I'd been four years prior to
I ran into
friends during our brief downtim e: they knew that w e w ere doing well
in Europe, w hich definitely m ade m e feel proud. The biggest lessons
I learned at this point w ere that nothing is guaranteed and that what
you put into a band is w hat you get out it. I also used this tim e to turn
around the w ay I w as living on tour in order to becom e healthier and
more focused. Looking back now, I realise how important that tour and
album w as for us. I view it as a rite of passage: w e w ere holding our
own on a tour with a legendary band and stabilising our situation at a
very uncertain tim e for us. On another note, tim e does seem to change
perspectives on m usic.
The Crusade
turned eight years old as of this
colum n being written, and it's interesting to se e how it is perceived now
as to w hen it w as the follow-up to an im m ensely popular debut record. I
g u e ss even m y own opinions on the record have changed quite a bit on
it. Dealing with negativity w as such a n ew experience for us, and I don't
think any of us w ere really ready for it on that level. W ith time, certain
so n gs started to shine through a bit more and have since becom e fan
favourites in the set: the m usic is starting to becom e free from the
original stigm a that it had in 2006. If I could change one thing about
that record, it would be the preparation and dem oing. W e didn't have
tim e to think everything through: it w as a grand vision without a grand
execution. W e took that lesso n with us into subsequent album s.
Scott Uchida
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b a s s g u i t a r m a g a z i n e
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