Chapter

Bassists and Drummers

Thomas Owens

in Bebop

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106510
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853182 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195106510.003.0008
                   Bassists and Drummers

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The heart of the rhythm section—and therefore of the entire ensemble—is the bassist-drummer rhythm team. The bassist is the most important voice in the harmonic structure that the band follows. So a drummer and bassist must find ways to synchronize their minutely unequal beats. These factors point to a unique relationship that ideally exists between drummer and bassist. They must be more than excellent players; they also must be compatible musically if the music is to swing. Drummers and bassists sometimes speak of their relationship as a marriage. It is an apt analogy. In the early 1940s, Jimmy Blanton of the Ellington band was the bassist best served by recording engineers; in fact, he was better served than was his rhythm partner, drummer Sonny Greer. Notable bassists during this time were Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, Percy Heath, Red Mitchell, Paul Chambers.

Keywords: bassist; drummer; music; swing; Jimmy Blanton; Sonny Greer; Charles Mingus; Ray Brown; Percy Heath; Red Mitchell

Chapter.  9126 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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