Bass Around the World #26: Paul Jackson Grooves
Paul Jackson was a brilliant bass player known mainly from the Headhunters, which he founded together with jazz legend Herbie Hancock. As a sideman he worked with a wide variety of artists including Santana, the Pointer Sisters and saxophonists Stanley Turrentine and Sonny Rollins. Jackson's mix of fusion, sixteenth-note bass lines, chromatic escapades and especially his incredible avant-garde approach to playing jazz-funk bass lines had a great impact on my playing. Honestly, I think I've played the bass line from "Chameleon" maybe a thousand times, and it's still exciting to do so again and again.
In today's episode we’ll play variations of Paul Jackson’s groove from the song "Actual Proof."
Our main tonal material is the C minor pentatonic scale (C, Eb, F, G, Bb), which is enhanced with chromatic notes, mainly F# and B, for a more fluid feel.
Notice the impeccable timing and spacing between the phrases. Essentially it is a two-bar groove, so you’re playing four two-bar rounds with double-stops on every eighth bar (as a clue for the listener and it helps to divide the eight bar structure).
Pay attention to the correct placing of sixteenth-note breaks and the accuracy of your plucking hand, it is also great exercise for your pick technique. The most difficult part is opening a four-note pattern with Bb octaves. Work on your flow and lightness of touch for appropriate "funkiness" and vibes in this groove.
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