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Applegate, Erik

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Creating a walking bass line is one of the primary functions of the bassist in the rhythm section of a jazz ensemble. This study analyzes and compares walking bass lines performed by three bassists who are widely regarded as among the greatest in jazz: Sam Jones, Paul Chambers, and Ron Carter. Their performances on the same three jazz standards--Autumn Leaves,” “Oleo,” and “All The Things You Are” --are analyzed in terms of their choices regarding rhythm, harmony, and range. Complete transcriptions of their recordings of these three standard have been made to aid in analysis and to identify techniques used by each bassist. Aspects of their styles that were studied include (but are not limited to) rhythmic variations, horizontal motion, chord tone usage, passing tones, range selection, and the effect of using open strings. The comparison of the performances of three bassists and the analysis of the transcriptions offers much information about the unique choices each artist makes when playing a walking bass line, and reveals common elements and ideas that bassists can use in their own playing.


Bass, Jazz, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Sam Jones


138 pages

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