TIM LEFEBVRE MAY BE BEST KNOWN
for his blistering work with New York guitar
wizard Wayne Krantz—or for his deep soul
drive with trumpeter Chris Botti and groovalicious
dishing on the Analyze That, Oceans
12, and The Departed soundtracks—but his
dexterous electric and upright work make
him impossible to pigeonhole. Now that he’s
relocated to Los Angeles, the Massachusettsborn
musician is bound to trigger thunderquakes
on both coasts. One listen to his
recordings with Krantz, Jamie Cullum, Til
Broenner, Rudder, or on his pop-electronic
project Domestic Blitz confi rms what his
live fans have known for years: Lefebvre
(pronounced “la-fave”) has serious skills.
What’s key to covering your diverse gigs?
It’s about getting to know the music well
enough so you can insert your own thing.
That requires repetition. The more you play
a gig, the more naturally different ideas will
come to you. You become confident enough
to make things happen.
Wayne Krantz’s music involves complex
arrangements. What advice would you give
a bassist on that gig?
The same thing I would tell my students:
Wayne’s music has a high note density, so
you have to be willing to sacrifice that complexity
and play big notes. You could play a
half-note with Wayne and Keith [Carlock,
drummer] and it will sound great, because
there is so much interaction on
top of it. Sometimes the suicide
pill in that band is to play 16ths with
everyone else; you can play a lot of notes, but
not in a Rocco Prestia kind of way. Wayne
also tells us not to play anything we know.
He wants to keep the music fresh.
Why did you relocate to Los Angeles?
I’ve done a lot of gigs in New York that
have been very “jazz” and very “downtown.”
I’ve subbed on Saturday Night Live and for
Will Lee on the Letterman show. I’d like to
do more of those gigs, but there aren’t many
left in New York. There are more recording
and headline opportunities in Los Angeles.
I want to gravitate toward that, but not
disown what I’ve done in New York.
What’s your approach to cracking the
Some people will look at me and think,
“What is he here for?” Well, I’m trying to
work. Luckily, when I pick up the bass, people
notice. I try to have a good attitude. Also, one
of my goals is to sound more anonymous. It’s
healthy for me to tuck my thing behind, to
not be noticed, and to just play really simply.
What have you noticed about bass on
the West Coast?
There’s an encyclopedia of rock bass
styles in L.A—the John Entwistle approach,
the Paul McCartney approach, etc. They’re
worth studying just as much as, say, Anthony
Jackson’s style. In L.A., people like my friend
Jenn Oberle [Five For Fighting] know millions
of pop tunes, while guys like Chris
Chaney can tuck themselves into soundtracks
on electric and acoustic and sound totally
amazing. It’s unbelievable.
HEAR HIM ON
Christopher Jackson, In the
Name of Love [Yellow Sound,
2011]; Wayne Krantz, Krantz
Carlock Lefebvre [Abstract Logic, 2009];
Jamie Cullum, The Pursuit [Universal,
2010]; Til Broenner, At the End of the
Day [Bam Bam, 2009]
Basses 1965 Fender Jazz Bass, ’77
Fender Jazz Bass, Moollon P & J Classic
basses, CallowHill OBS-5, Sadowsky
5-string, 1940s Mathias Thoma upright
Rig Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 head,
Hamhead 1x10 and 2x10 cabinets
Pedals Moollon Overdrive, Electro
Harmonix Frequency Analyzer,
Boss OC-2 Octave, MXR
M-82 Bass Envelope Filter