Avishai Cohen alongside Christian McBride is my favorite contemporary upright
bassist. Unlike McBride, he has developed a very particular sound and approach
to music, mixing modern Jazz with Latin and middle eastern influences. In the
past, he became famous being the bass player for the Chick Corea band but since
then made a huge impact with his own group and trio work.
Calm is a song from Cohen’s Continuo album featuring Sam Barsh playing keys
(coincidently, he also appears on Anderson .Paak’s Malibu) and Mark
Guiliana on drums. Compared to most other tracks, Calm has a relatively
simple bassline and is driven mostly by arpeggios played by the piano.
José James and this particular track was one of those gems that I found in my
weekly discovery list on Spotify. Thanks Spotify! Anyway, José James is a former
Jazz singer who turned to a more RnB and Neo-Soul style with his Blue Note debut
record No Beginning No End which contains also features the track Trouble.
To get an idea about the entire record and James’ past as well, I highly
recommend you to check out the review Pursuing Many Paths to Find His Own in
the New York Times.
I have no verification, but the bass on this track might come from the venerable
Pino Palladino. The track features a J Dillaesque laid back rhythm during the
main riff that is played by drums and bass. In the verse the rhythm becomes a
bit more straight while the chorus incorporates nice eighth note anticipations.
Unlike most RnB and Soul which tends to be harmonically simple, Trouble
features an interesting almost Jazz-like chord progression over four different
Last year I started adding transcriptions and few words about them in my main
blog but after a while I had the impression that this is
not the best way to id. So, I decided to split the content and move all bassline
transcriptions and other bits concerning music to this place here.
With this very first post, I want to start with a musical discovery I made last
year: Anderson .Paak (born Brandon Paak
Anderson) and his second album called Malibu. The entire album draws a lot
from classic funky and electronic music while his vocals are a refreshing
different from typical RnB singers you can hear on the radio. Even though he’s
on the scene for a while now, he became most famous known for collaborating with
Dr. Dre on Compton.
Compared to the rest of the songs, Celebrate is a bit different. Whereas most
songs feature the laid back drum and bass grooves that – with the help of
drummer Questlove and bassist Pino Palladino – made
D’Angelo’s neo-soul style famous, Celebrate sounds
like a reminiscence to soul and R&B songs from the 60s with a hint of Gospel.
Together with drums and piano, there is a strong emphasis on the one of the beat
and occasional eighth note syncopations. Even though these could be the
ingredients for a funky beat, it is actually way more relaxed due to the slow
tempo and the way the bass plays slightly behind the beat. So my tip to getting
this one right: listen to the record!