how in the world did i miss this one?

rufusI’m well aware of the excellent Rufus Reid interview videos at, but was not aware of last month’s article at Rufus is a giant among bass players. His book, “The Evolving Bassist” taught countless jazz bassists how to fulfill their role in an ensemble.

If you study consistently and are thorough, you should know when you are in control. All members in the group desire a positive, confident and consistent posture by the bassist. The desired musician has what everyone wants and needs to make the ensemble the best.

I’ve heard Rufus say it in person, and he repeats it here: The bassist has the power to destroy an otherwise excellent ensemble.

When one says they are a jazz bassist, it is assumed they know how to ‘swing’, can play the ‘blues and rhythm changes’, know numerous standards and jazz tunes, can play fast, can play in any key well, etc. Those attributes become crystal clear rather quickly if they are, in fact, under control. Your musical savvy is known immediately or not.

mw and rrI’ve spent plenty of times fooling myself into thinking I possessed these qualities only to be called out for not having my “stuff” together. It’s humiliating and can be a real turning point is a musician’s career – it was in mine. I’m still working on getting it together and have appreciated direct help from Mr. Reid in doing so.

In the article, Reid outlines four important facets of effective jazz bass playing:


“The pulse is intangible to the touch but can be felt incredibly when executed properly.”

“When the bassist plays a song ‘a cappella’, one should be able to render the melody and harmony as suggested by the music. ”

“All bassists must be clear to one’s self before one can be truly clear to our listeners.”

“(It) is the player’s choice to respond or not, but actually hearing the event go by while you are doing what is expected of you is the important thing to establish a musical thread throughout the group.”

Please do youself a favor and read the whole article. In the meantime, I’ll include the videos here:

1 comment to how in the world did i miss this one?

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