Friday, July 22, 2011

Fat Friday Feature: Jack Bruce

Imma tell you something shocking - you ready?
I could probably count on one hand the number of bass solos I actually like.  In fact, I'd say as a general rule nothing bores me more than a bass solo.  (Except a drum solo.)  It's funny - I love the bass.  I love the sound.  I love the looks of various uprights and bass guitars.  I love how the fat strings feel under my fingers.  I love that it makes you work so hard, particularly the upright - I like the physicality of it.  I've never seriously been interested in another instrument.  But in my wildest bass-related fantasies (which may or may not involve assless chaps) I have never fantasized about a soloing.

Let's face it:  bass solos are so awful.  Jaco Pastorious?  Please.  No one would deny that he's an amazing technician of the bass.  I even like some of the bass lines he does.  But his soloing is bass wanking pure and simple.  There is zero regard for the groove.  And if you point me to any bassist that does solos with two handed tapping, you lose.

But there are good solos.  It might be unhip to say so, but the solo in "My Generation" was not only groundbreaking and brilliantly executed, it still sounds good.  And there's this beauty from Jack Bruce.  It's interesting without being ejaculatory.  It slithers around without sacrificing the groove.  It is both technical and accessible.  It never wears out it's welcome - Bruce steps back when Zappa begins to solo, but he never loses my attention.  And most importantly, it's dirty.  I love that the bass is distorted.  It gives the solo teeth; it's like leaving a scratch on the paint job of your Ferrari.  In short, it sounds good.  So crank this one up!  (Solo starts at the :16 mark.)

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