I’m sure there are some people out there who don’t like Daft Punk’s recent release Random Access Memories but I haven’t met them yet. This will be a record I can come back to again and again and never get tired of it. It wasn’t until after I first listened to the record that I learned that there are real live human beings playing instruments throughout the record. What a novel idea for a dance/pop record in these digital days. Get Lucky features Omar Hakim on drums and Nathan East on bass. It’s a master class in rhythm section playing between two of the best in the business.
The song is straight forward harmonically with a chord progression Bmi – D – F#mi – E for the entire tune. It might be simple but the song has hooked 1000s of people world wide. Have you heard that old joke that pop/rock musicians play 4 chords for thousands of people and jazz musicians play 1000s of chords for 4 people? It’s a 5 string bass tune. Nathan hangs out on the low B and D a fair bit. Continue reading
I’ve been a fan of Pino Palladino since I first heard his fretless playing on Paul Young’s Wherever I Lay My Hat and Tear Your Playhouse Down. There were quite a few UK fretless players in the 80s but Paul Young’s record was the first time the bass was so far forward in the mix in a pop tune. Pino went on to play with so many great artist. The Pino Wiki is worth a read. It’s a who’s who of pop music.
One of my favourite records from the last few years is The John Mayer Trio – Try. It’s a live recording with Pino and Steve Jordan on drums supporting John’s guitar playing and singing. I expect John’s playing on this record surprised a lot of people who were used to hearing his Top 40 pop tunes. He can play!
I decided to lift and transcribe this tune to get a better insight into what Pino does. Continue reading
One of my students mentioned that he was working on the Level 42 tune Seven Years so I listened to the tune and transcribed the bass line. Mark King was one of my bass heroes after my early Paul Simonon/The Clash period had passed, although I still love The Clash. Mark was doing things on a bass I had never heard before like really funky finger style bass lines and busy slapping and popping. Later on I would learn that he was inspired by bass players like Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller. Not only does he play syncopated bass lines but he sings over them as well! Continue reading