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Swing 42 - bass solo!?

June 8, 2020


I've loved the music of Django Reinhardt since I became aware of him as a keen jazz beginner in the summer of 2005.  His cheeky style captured my musical imagination and I still play his records if I need cheering up.


Don't be fooled though - Django is a guitarist of fearsome technique.  He's not much of a 'scale player' and he prefers to outline changes with arpeggios.  He also uses 'outside ideas' that tend to work through repetition and sequence (see bar 25).  The A# in bar 20 seems to suggest that Django thought of this chord as a secondary dominant (or he just liked the clash of major and minor thirds together for a 7#9 sound).  We'll never really know but once you dive into his playing, you'll find that like many jazz musicians, Django likes to use familiar shapes and phrases over fast moving changes.


This solo is tough for guitarists and arguably even tougher for bassists!  When played on our instrument, we end up in Jaco territory - the triplets in the B section are particularly reminiscent of Pastorius' infamous recording of Donna Lee.


It's given me a fantastic workout over the last few days and it's rejuvenated my practice regime.  I think I'll learn some more jazz guitar solos.  They take some adapting for bass but if you pick the right ones, you'll find them to be extremely rewarding.


Stay safe!

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Copyright 2020 - Gregory Harper                                                                                                                        All photographs & logo design by Derren Lee Poole