Friday, September 23, 2011

Fat Friday Feature: Bakithi Kumalo On "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes"

Each Friday, I feature a bass player or bass part that is freaking amazing.  Today, dig on Bakithi Kumalo.

Bakithi Kumalo, in addition to having a cool sounding name, is an incredibly underrated but very technical bass player.  I'm not sure he's ever been on the cover of "Bass Player" magazine.  I'm guessing there's only a little chatter about him in bass player forums.  I'm also sure that young, aspiring bass players aren't writing his name all over their Trapper Keepers.  There is no flash in his gear (the first time I saw video of him playing, he was playing a Washburn Force 4 bass, which also happens to be my first bass) or wardrobe; it's in his tone, his precision, and silky smooth playing.

I was shocked at the number of highly entertaining videos that Bakithi has on You Tube.  For example, dig him playing the awesome Kala U-Bass (a bass ukulele), which will likely be the topic of a future blog entry.  The video embedded below is mesmerizing to me (though I'd recommend you listen to the tune he is breaking down first) because he is slowing down the bass line from "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" and it is no less fascinating.

If you're not already familiar with it, listen to Paul Simon's "Graceland" in its entirety.  Bakithi's runs smother the all of tunes like sweet, sweet maple syrup.

UPDATE:  It looks like he's showing how to do multiple songs from the "Graceland" album.  I was so blown away by the "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" demo that I didn't go any further.  So it looks like Friday just got a lot fatter for all of us!


  1. He definitely has a distinct sound and style. Good listen.

  2. Good point, Paul. His playing IS very distinct - lots of sliding, very original, very creative. He "goes off" when you least expect it, which is cool. Yet, he also knows when to stay in the pocket.