The Top Five Jazz Double-Bassists
In music, Bass players are the most unnoticed and underrated members of a musical group. However, they provide the cohesion between the rhythm and melody as well as the foundation from which the structure and style are presented.
In jazz, Bass players are the soul of the group and have created some of the most innovative sounds in the genre. Without them the Masters like Dizzy Gillespie, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis would never be as popular as they have become.
The Double Bass, or Upright, is one of the most difficult instruments to play properly, and the growl and timbre created by a quality instrument is like no other in music.
There have been many great performers over the years, but none have left their mark on the genre of jazz like Charlie Mingus, Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, Charlie Haden, and Ray Brown. The uniqueness in their approach to music and the creativity they have displayed, changed the way music is performed and is written.
In his article in Westword, Jon Solomon reviews what he considers The Ten Best Jazz Bassists of All Time. In the article, he provides us with a list of Jazz Bassists that he believes are the all-time greats and who have had a significant impact in the genre and on the instrument itself. He includes artists performing on Electric and Upright. I agree with his assessment, but have singled out only those artists that have impacted me directly as an artist and that play primarily upright.
Although all the great masters of the Double Bass cannot be covered in this space, those that are presented have changed the face of jazz indelibly.