Monday, April 6, 2009

Bass photo of the week (April 6)

Here's a great photo of Paul Chambers playing with the Miles Davis group (of whom he was a member from 1955 to 1963). The photo is from the Life Magazine archives. Chambers has always been one of my favorite bassists and I love his bowed solos (many of which are transcribed by Jim Stinnett).

A couple of interesting things about the photo. First, note the carved scroll on the bass he is playing. I'm not sure what type of bass he played (he probably had several over his career; cf. Scott Lafaro and his Prescott bass). Secondly, notice there is a second bass in the corner. On my last trip home I visited my grandmother who lives in an assisted-living community. There I met a friend of hers, Julius Gill, who played piano for some really biggies on the West Coast in the 50's and 60's. When I told him I was thinking about tuning my bass in fifths (more on this in another post) he mentioned that there was a time when many jazz players were experimenting with alternate tunings. I wonder if the second bass in the corner is a spare, someone else's or perhaps an alternate tuning. One can only conjecture.

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