Lesson: New Jaco Early Years Discs
2/1/2010 11:00:00 AM

WHEN 17-YEAR-OLD JACO PASTORIUS laid eyes on his buddy Bob Bobbing’s Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder, he saw musical possibilities with unlimited potential. Fortunately for us, Bobbing had already recognized those same qualities in Jaco. Lugging the unit to Jaco’s initial gigs or loaning it to him for a sound-on-sound home version of “The Chicken” was the cornerstone of Bobbing’s 2002 landmark CD box, Portrait of Jaco: The Early Years. Ever since that superior sampling of pre-Weather Report Jaco, Bobbing has been eager to launch Jaco: The Early Years Series, featuring full CDs by the bands in which Jaco forged his seminal style. The first two releases, Woodchuck and Tommy Strand & the Upper Hand, have officially arrived [available on jacotheearlyyears. com and cdbaby.com]. Both live recordings are raw, revealing, and riveting, and serve as worthy style studies. Bobbing used the same taping method for each disc, setting up his Sony deck at a table in the cl More...

Tom Kennedy Masterclass, Neck Spans & Note Slurs
11/1/2009 7:15:00 AM

TOM KENNEDY WANTS TO MAKE you feel uncomfortable. But don’t worry, it’s all in the name of better bass playing. Since moving back to New York City in 2007, the St. Louis-native has been one of the most in-demand doublers around. When he’s not dragging his doghouse to Gotham gigs ranging from duets to big bands, he’s globetrotting with his Fodera 5 for Dave Weckl and Mike Stern (including Stern’s recent Heads Up DVD, New Morning: The Paris Concert), or he’s on the road doubling with Ben Vereen.

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Learn To Play Charles Mingus “Haitian Fight Song”
10/1/2009 1:15:00 AM

WHEN IT COMES TO HARDCORE bebop bass cred, Charles Mingus is one tough cat to beat. A prodigious and adventurous composer, a bold and outspoken social critic and jazz iconoclast, and one hard-swinging mofo, Mingus first became a fixture following his early days touring with luminaries Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. He later formed famously tumultuous partnerships with Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Max Roach, and ultimately formulated ruthlessly rigorous curricula in his legendary Jazz Workshops, forums that served as launching pads for countless young lions of jazz. Viewed by some as Duke Ellington’s heir-apparent, Mingus firmly embraced big-band settings, scoring and arranging with an eye towards collective improvisation (à la Dixieland), all while attempting to elevate the art of jazz to equal or surpass the status of European-derived classical music.

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