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What to do with pianist/good bass tone

EliPorterEliPorter New
in Bass Posts: 8
Hey I'm just getting into gypsy and me and a few friends wanna get to together and jam, There is a guitarist, pianist (also sings) and me on electric bass (also sings). I have 2 questions, since I don't play upright, what should I do to get the best bass sound for gypsy jazz, I know a few strategies for getting a tone similar to upright (https://goo.gl/SwM75s) (https://goo.gl/KM1UJD) I could also have the pianist do left hand bass with me which leads me to my next question. What should I pianist do? Would left hand bass and right hand melody might work. Since me and pianist both sing what should the right hand do when one of us is singing? Wouldn't standard comping get in the way of guitarist? Thanks in advance!
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  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 209
    A lot is going to depend on the pianist's taste and restraint. More than one gigging guitarist of my acquaintance has grumbled about pianists' tendency to fill the entire harmonic space, stepping all over the guitarist--and one pianist I know is valued partly because he knows how to share space with others.

    I would think that an experienced keyboardist knows how to stay out of the way of the bass and knows how to comp behind a vocalist. I would also think that in a band with multiple potential singers, the sensible approach is for whoever's not singing to take over the comping role--though a singing bass player really can't abandon the bass, unless the keyboardist has a really solid left hand. (I've played with two singing bass players, and it's a non-trivial accomplishment.)

    In a trio environment these roles can evolve naturally or be worked out explicitly without too much drama. (Otherwise, why be playing together?)

    dm7b5
  • dm7b5dm7b5
    Posts: 21
    “They got all those keys and they are louder.. Always defer to the piano player.” - Joe Pass
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    Posts: 62
    It really depends on what the pianist can do. If they can play like Teddy Wilson, sky is the limit. If not, these examples may provide some ideas:






  • EliPorterEliPorter New
    Posts: 8
    So from what I'm getting from these responses, gypsy jazz piano is stride (ragtime) piano but the only difference being the pianist needs to get out of the way of the rest of the band. Researching ragtime piano will get more results than gypsy jazz piano. This'll really help! I'm also digging Distraction that @Pompier sent. I found a transcription and am hoping the others want to play it too. Thanks for the help!
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    edited July 2018 Posts: 62
    Terminologically, ragtime is a name for music that appeared before the 20s, and then there was a boom of stride piano in Harlem even a few years before the start of the swing era (notably James P. Johnson and Willie Smith). Musically, Django's Hot Club recordings are closest to swing era music, where stride was used as a piano technique, but with an updated feel.

    If you can't find a second guitar to play rhythm for the first, then stride would be the closest straightforward approximation to la pompe, though the feel is rather different. There are more varied and subtle ways of piano backing for swing. To my ears Teddy Wilson was an unsurpassed master of finding imaginative ways to fit the piano into all kinds of swing bands.

    Alternatively, the piano could play a modern-style accompaniment, like Peter Beets is playing in that clip before the rhythm guitar comes in, although it doesn't really have "that swing" without something percussive to mark beats 2 and 4 (the bass in this case). If there's a guitar playing rhythm, then I think the piano should definitely lay off the stride and do modern comping like Beets does later.
    Buco
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    Posts: 62
    Here's an example of difference between Harlem stride piano and swing piano with stride accompaniment.


  • Posts: 2,403
    EliPorter wrote: »
    So from what I'm getting from these responses, gypsy jazz piano is stride (ragtime) piano but the only difference being the pianist needs to get out of the way of the rest of the band. Researching ragtime piano will get more results than gypsy jazz piano. This'll really help! I'm also digging Distraction that @Pompier sent. I found a transcription and am hoping the others want to play it too. Thanks for the help!

    Maybe, but make that your basic starting point guide line only. Why get bound by formula? One of my favorite albums in this genre features a piano in a Cuban/Latin style. It's genius, a masterpiece, I never get tired listening to this album:




    Pompier
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 209
    Don't know why this didn't occur to me immediately: Fats Waller and His Rhythm (usually with Al Casey on guitar) occupies the same historical/musical/repertory space as early QHCF. Fats comes out of stride but his outfit swings just fine. And, yeah, Teddy Wilson. And Earl Hines. And you can hear it in Ellington's playing as well. And Monk, for that matter, though that might sort strangely with Hot Club material.

    To my ear, the center of swing remains dance. If you can imagine dancers, you've got the pulse. I can feel it here:



    Wim GlennBuco
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    edited July 2018 Posts: 62
    The OP may not be looking here anymore, but it occurred to me that we have all made a glaring omission. Guitar, bass, piano, and vocals is precisely the format pioneered by Nat King Cole in the early trio recordings (one anthology of which runs to 16+ hours of playing time). To my mind Nat King Cole is perhaps the single most underrated pianist in jazz history. He's best known for playing simple things that sound great, but behind that understated perfection there was a truly formidable technique. Anyway, this aside aside, combining their general approach with elements of GJ could lead to something worthwhile.

    Buco
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,311
    Some great suggestions here... and let's not forget Count Basie's All American rhythm section featuring the great Freddie Green on guitar... just ignore the drums!

    But full disclosure: Russell had me at "Fats Waller and his Rhythm"... what a great outfit that was!

    ************

    Eli, if this piano-bass-guitar format works out for you, you are a lucky guy, because that's the combination I've long yearned for... but our bass-guitar-clarinet/sax trio could never seem to find the right pianist.

    Good ones who like to play in this archaic style seem to be as scarce as rocking horse shit!
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
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