Live Janek Gwizdala Webcast tomorrow at 9 AM US PST

All the details here -


You need to sign up to view, (free) and then you can submit questions. 

Daily Licking 036: Jeff Berlin's Part on Valse Nobles et Sentimentales


And now for something completely, completely different.

Classical music for the electric bass? What? Sacrilege! Blasphemy! An amplified fretted instrument? Why, it just isn't done, my good man!

Oh yea?

Electric bass players have been playing classical stuff, oh, excuse me, *ahem*, etudes for quite a while. Various solo cello parts, Bach inventions and string quartet parts have all been adapted by those with profundo ridiculoso to be playable on bass. Jaco and John Pattituci have done it, not to mention countless other really great players that no one knows up on the YouTube.

Enter Mr. Jeff Berlin. He is easily in the top 5 of those who learned their way around the monkey wrench of an instrument that is the electric bass, and Mr. Berlin is no stranger to music written by dead foreigners from Euro-pia. He busted out an arrangement of a Bach prelude on one of his previous records, and even doubled-down on the sacrilege by putting a solo section smack dab in the middle of it. AND it had an electric guitar solo too.

On his most recent album, "Higher Standards" Mr. Berlin sets his musical wayback machine to only the beginning of the 20th century this time and plays a movement from a collection of waltzes "Valses nobles et sentimentales" by Maurice Ravel. Mr. Berlin plays the role of the bass player in a duet with Richard Drexler on piano, and himself on the electrified, fretified bass guitar.

This piece is less baroque and much more lush and romantic compared to his previous Bach renditions and the movement he plays, Number IV, is both pretty and delicate yet also ominous and spooky all at the same time.

Here are some versions of it on piano, one even by Maurice Ravel himself, who was recorded using the state of the art (in 1913) new-fangled technology of the player piano.

Here are some recorded versions of it with just piano. It is not the entire suite, only Number IV that you want.

The Bass Part
The good news: This is the easiest thing to play on his latest record.

The bad news: This is the easiest thing to play on his latest record.

And it is not easy.

Here are a few places you can hear snippets of Jeff's version online:



This is one that is going to take repeated listening and lots of slow, and I do mean  s l o w   practicing to get it together.

Even though this is for bass, it has some serious finger twisters in it, fingerings that are not going to feel very familiar at all. This ain't "Mustang Sally". In some measures it changes between e flats and e naturals, b flats, and b naturals and g flat and g naturals. When you work out the fingerings for this, prepare yourself for saying "You have got to be kidding me" a lot.

Rhythmically, they do it very rubato-y in places. But just when you think they are going to break tempo, they really don't, but it is very rolling and fluid. Don't play this like a sequencer part, it has to have some lilt in it and it has to breathe in certain places.

You can also see a full score version written out if you want at the ISLMP site. There is both an orchestral version and one for just piano as well.


As far as I could tell, Mr. Berlin's part is a mixture of the left and right hand.

And if anyone finds any mystery notes, let me know. There may be a few in there, my fingers and eyes were blurring after a while. 

Good luck!


"Pent-Up House" Recorded On This Day!

Or so says PassionForJazz on twitter. So there ya go, you can play the same thing Clifford Brown did today if you want.


Join yours truly on the twitter here - http://twitter.com/BassoRidiculoso


Daily Licking 035: Chorus 2 of Clifford Brown on "Pent-Up House"

The second chorus of the ii-v-I fest from Mr. Brown today. It just keeps getting better.

Some patterns are developing:
  1. Starting off sparsely. Just like in the first chorus, the first 4 measures of this chorus are much more sparse rhythmically compared to the rest of the chorus. Leaves him room to take it somewhere.
  2. Not starting on the root of the chord. Again, he doesn't do this very often, he does in two places he hasn't done it before, but usually he saves it for the G Maj, when the ii-v resolves. Maybe this gives the 1 chord a extra sense of resolution? Interesting. The rest of the time he starts on 3rds, 7ths, 5ths and other juicy chord tones.
  3. Outlining chords with arpeggios. All over the place, going up from the third, fifth and other strong chord tones straight up the arpeggio, just not starting on the root. He does chordal type lines, much more than scalar type lines.
The middle of this chorus is one grosso ridiculoso 9 measure long phrase of continuous 8th notes which go through a classic run-down of bebop altered licks. It is a thing to behold. So take a listen below, and behold it. But be warned, with all those half-steps in there, this one is another chorus where there are not going to be a nice, bass-centric, familiar box patterns for your fingers to fall into. This one is going to get your fingers thinking. All of these solos that come from non-bass sources are going to really get your fingers out of any lazy habits that they have developed. It sure has made me have to think. And we all know how exhausting that can be.

Pent-Up House - Clifford Browns Solo Chorus 2
bass lick 4/4 tempo 200 | Gmaj r2 e8 g b8 r8 | Amin7 a2 a2 | D7 a8 r8 r4 d-8 g b4 | GMaj g2 g2 | GMaj g8 r r4 r8 b c ab | Amin7 b a e g gb a c d | D7 [f8 e eb] d c db e d c | GMaj b c d e gb a ab gb | Gmaj g d b c d e f e | Dmin7 d c b a g gb f a | G7 e+ d c a b- d f a | Cmin7 g eb d c b g bb g | F7 a c eb g d c f e | Amin7 eb e g e f g a c | D7 r2 c8 db8 e db | Gmaj d bb b r r gb [bb a gb] | Gmaj g8 d r4 r2 |


Marcus Miller Clinic Video

Marcus is the Man.

Never heard him use a mooger-fooger type effect before, but he goes all Bootzilla, baby, at this clinic at Stax Music Academy.