Some bassists are one-trick ponies: they become successful with a single pop hit, a classic jazz recording, an epic YouTube video—you know, the clip of the cat chasing the dog through the room with the baby in the high chair and the rocker doing an epic bass-spinning fail.
It seems that my personal musical situation is retracing the path taken by many stalwart upright bassists who chased the High Volume Dragon through music history.
As a bassist, you can play the right notes, hit the groove, know every possible version of a song—even wear a hat and sunglasses—but if you don’t get “the sound,” the music doesn’t fully happen.
It’s the mother of all scales, the crown jewel of melodic movement, the WD-40 of logical bass lines—the chromatic scale.
Jymie Merritt earned his place in The Pantheon of Jazz Greats through his work with Benny Golson, Art Blakey, and B.B. King in the ’50s and ’60s.
Going around in circles—the phrase implies the frustration of not getting anywhere fast. But in music, circles offer magical, never-ending pathways of harmony and bliss.
The cycle, the circle of 5ths, the circle of 4ths—these are terms for harmonic movement through the 12 notes of our musical system. Confusion abounds when musicians arbitrarily say a progression moves through the “cycle,” or goes “around the circle,” without specifying which cycle or in which direction (4ths or 5ths) around the circle.