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CHAPTER 11-1 PLAYING WITH A “BROKEN” FEEL Sometimes the music calls for a “broken” feel from the bass, particularly in modem jazz contexts. A broken feel in a bass line generally refers to a feel that is rhythmically loos- er than conventional “2” and “4” style bass playing. It is important to understand that throughout the history of jazz, the music has evolved, and so has the role of the bassist. In the 1960's bassist Scott LaFaro found a way of playing part functionally, and part “conversationally” in the Bill Evans Trio. Before him, other bassists like Charlie ‘Mingus had already begun moving away from the conventional bassist’s role of play- ing 2 or 4 notes per bar and providing roots for the chords, Since then, many great jazz bbassists have played bass lines which “break up" the time. This chapter looks at some ‘examples of playing this way. Important note: Playing with a broken feel should never be done randomly. The notes and rhythms you choose as a bass player must relate to the musical whole. In other words, don’t use these (or any) ideas arbitrarily, but listen to how your bass part fits in with everything else that is happening in the group. Here is an example of a bass line which still provides roots to all of the chords, but dif fers thythmically from a walking bass line ("4") or playing in “2": Ee Ars cr Fv FT Bb7 Eba ABT In the following example the roots of the chords fall on beats other than beat 1. Notice the use of a dominant pedal in bars five and six: E@ A7b9 c-7 F7 Fa Bb7 Ebs AT 139 Playing With a “Broken” Feel This next example extends the idea of using dominant pedals. The pedals slow down the listener's perception of harmonic rhythm, giving the harmony a more open, expan- sive feeling: Ee Ard oe 7 = f 5 pete: ~ SS tj_t SS 7 3 Ba a7 Here is a bass line on I Hear a Rhapsody as played by Don Thompson, from a live trio recording with Jim Hall. The bass line is a beautiful counter melody to the improvised guitar melody (solo). It provides a mixture of eighth note lines with functional root motion: FT Bb799 & pe G79 FT B79 & Ae p79 140 Playing With a “Broken” Feel Bos F7 be G79 ft By7°9 & pe g7i9 ‘This next example is Larry Grenadier’s bass line on Monk's Dream. To understand how this (and each of the transcribed bass lines in this book) fits in with the rest of what is happening in the group, I recommend following along with the recording. Recordings are listed in the “transcription reference" at the back of this book, and are commercial- ly available. ‘The bass line in the second eight bar section is a “2” feel, but the rest is intentionally looser. c Bo? c Bb? c Bb? c Bb7 c ‘7 Be Bb? Arts Agbs G75 141