The Special A.K.A. - Nelson Mandela 1984 (by nuevaola801)
Julian Priester Quartet - Julian’s Tune
Album - Keep Swingin’
Nostalgia - Lee Morgan w/ Hank Mobley’s Quintet
Album - Introducing Lee Morgan
Are These the Ten Best Jazz Bassists Ever?
This Denver Westword Blog of the ten best jazz bassists of all time is obviously open to large disputes. Everyone on this list is unquestionably deserving, but should electric bassists like Jaco Pastorius and Victor Wooten be on a list of predominately acoustic jazz bassists? The approach and role of the electric bass in most forms of jazz is similar, but still quite different. And where’s Jimmy Blanton or Christian McBride? Anyway, it’s fun with great examples.
Yeah, I know that lists are all about opinions, but Victor Wooten? C’mon! It’s bad enough that he made the list, but above Paul Chambers? Victor Wooten beat Paul Chambers in a top 10 bassist list. Let that sink in.
If you’re reading this, when was the last time you played a Victor Wooten record? I challenge you to name 5 Victor Wooten songs. Can you do it? I doubt it. Hell, I doubt you can name 3 Victor Wooten albums. (Test yourself, don’t google it.)
It is also downright criminal to have a list on bassists that excludes players like Oscar Pettiford, Tommy Potter, Reggie Workman, Jimmy Garrison and Richard Davis.
The biggest error to me aside from Victor Wooten being here is that there is no mention of Slam Stewart. He made bowed bass playing a thing, and Paul Chambers followed his lead. Stewart has to make any bassist list just on that alone. He was an innovator.
Honorable mentions to Jymie Merritt, Bob Cranshaw, Doug Watkins, Wilbur Ware, Percy Heath, Sam Jones and Art Davis. Any of these men should be on this list before Victor Wooten.
Jon Solomon continues to show us how little he knows with his articles. How did he get a column writing about this music?
Okay I am out on a limb here…. Anyone who subscribes to lists like this one doesn’t really love jazz music. It’s a bit like asking which of your fingers you like the least or best. What’s more is everywhere I turn these days there seem to be all these patently inconsequential lists floating around - 12 worst mistakes…, 10 most important this…. or that it. It’s more than a bit tiresome to say the least.
If you really - I mean really - love jazz music. you would find such a list impossible to make about any musician or musician on a given instrument, not to mention a worthless exercise. What after all is the determining criteria? Is it technical? Is it a personal touch? Is it popularity? Is it a combination? In what degrees or percentage do you consider those things?
I understand that people can do whatever they want or express whatever opinion they wish. It’s all good. But I do come away with the opinion that such a person furnishing such a list is engaged in an exercise that say more about them than the musician-ship they seek to rank.
I am only weighing in here because my good friend Atane has taken the time to make observations of his own. The names he has trotted out are indeed esteemed and deserving of recognition (I can’t say listing, because I don’t believe in these lists). Even if I were to limit my thoughts to the ten names on the list, the arrangement to me is bothersome.
I love Ron Carter. Always have. No way on earth would Ron Carter bag a spot on a list ahead of Paul Chambers. The universe should not tolerate such a misstep. I like and have the utmost respect for Dave Holland, but he doesn’t even belong on the list. I would borrow heavily from the names offered by Atane in his post. I would add Gene Ramey and Curly Russell. I would even offer a sentimental favourite of mine John Kirby who made a transition from the tuba to the upright base at a pivotal time in the evolution of jazz music.
Victor who…??? The only Victor I see being considered for that list answers to Bailey not Wooten.
I saw a stupid list of drummers once…. but that’s a whole other story.