Listening and Reading for Jazz Double Bass

Please log in to view tutor details
Jazz Double Bass By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Double Bass » Jazz Double Bass
Last updated: 20/02/2018
Tags: listening, rhythmic development

When I first became passionate about playing the Double bass/bass guitar in my early teenage years, it was the music that I listened to outside of my initial formal education that inspired me to really explore my instrument and deepen my understanding of its role in all types of music. As I progressed technically and theoretically and discovered more styles of bass playing, through listening to more genres, my understanding of how the 'maths' of music related to the final product became more apparent, making me enjoy the learning process even more.

As a student I found the theoretical aspects difficult to grasp before I truly understood how they related to the music/sounds I could create from my instrument; I had to make this connection for myself before what I was being taught made sense. As a result of this, I understand that each pupil is different and will need to find their own ways of understanding these connections in their own time. This is why simply going through the grade system teaching a pupil how to play something without them necessarily understanding it (like learning answers to an exam paper without understanding the reasoning behind it) is detrimental to their development.

Developing a strong sense of pulse (often called time feel) is incredibly important for any musician, especially a bass player! It doesn't necessarily matter what notes you play, if you don't play them with a good rhythmic feel it won't sound good. Learning how subdivisions can help grounding a pulse, and understanding particular feels and their origins, are equally as important as learning the notes (harmony) for any musician, and is something often neglected in 'classical' specific teaching. Practising with a metronome is one of the best ways to start to assimilate this rhythmic stability into a student's playing and will be explored in lessons, along with technique, sound projection, harmony and reading music.

Another integral part of developing as a musician is listening (the easy part!) In lessons the student will listen to (and study) music that they are interested in as well as everything I can expose them to  - from Rock, Jazz, Electronic, Pop, Funk, Hip Hop, Classical, Soul, RnB, etc - in order to show that despite the never ending amount of sub-genres, it's all essentially the same language - Music! 


Here are some bass players and albums (from various styles and periods) that are worth checking out!

Double Bass

Night Train-Oscar Peterson (bass player-Ray Brown)               

Hank Mobley-Soul Station (Paul Chambers)

Milestones-Miles Davis (Paul Chambers)                              

Mingus Ah Um-Charles Mingus (Charles Mingus)

Go!-Dexter Gordon (Butch Warren)                                           

John Coltrane-Blue Train (Paul Chambers)

Complete Works-Duke Ellington (Jimmy Blanton)                     

Now He Sings, Now He Sobs-Chick Corea (Miroslav Vitous)

Life Between the Exit Signs-Keith Jarrett (Charlie Haden)          

In My Element-Robert Glasper (Vicente Archer)

When the Heart Emerges Glistening-Ambrose Akinmusire (Harish Ragavhan)

Ornette Coleman-The Shape of Jazz to come (Charlie Haden)

and many many other albums featuring some of these players: Jimmy Garrison, Ron Carter, Eddie Gomez, John Pattituci, Matt Penman, Michael Janisch, Scott Lafaro, Christian McBride, Niels Henning Orsted Pederson, Reggie Workman, Milt Hinton, Sam Jones etc.

Bass Guitar

Here are a few bass guitarists that have influenced me and are worth checking out. 

James Jamerson(Motown!), Paul Jackson(Herbie Hancock), George Porter Jr(The Meters), Meshell Ndegeocello, Derick Hodge, Bootsy Collins(Parliament-Funkadelic, James Brown), Robert Lewis (Snoop Dogg), Willie Weeks (Stevie Wonder), Bobby Watson (Michael Jackson) , Jaco Pastorius, Pino Palladino (D'Angelo, The Who, Adele, Jeff Beck), Squarepusher.

Suggested Reading.

-Improvisers Bass Method-Chuck Sher

-Inner Game of Music-Timothy Galloway

-Charlie Parker Omnibook

-Mark Levine Jazz Theory Book


Fergus Ireland Jazz Double Bass Teacher (South East London)

About The Author

In demand London based Performer and tutor.

Tutors Wanted

  • Tin whistle teacher Southend on Sea Essex for a beginner
  • Piano Tutor - home visits SW London 4-8pm Tues/Weds DBS.
  • Piano Tutor to join team SW London 1-1, home visits, beginners, 6-8hrs/week
  • trumpet tutor Richmond, London (TW9) dbs, experience rqd
  • piano tutor Ilford DBS check, previous exp rqd
  • harp tutor sw15 6ad DBS check, experience
View tutor jobs
Tutors: Download your free e-book!