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Re: Date of First String Bass

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  • Michael
    I don t know exactly what you mean by the first question and you have already received an answer going back to the 16th century. We recently had a discussion
    Message 1 of 38 , Jul 26, 2010
      I don't know exactly what you mean by the first question and you have already received an answer going back to the 16th century. We recently had a discussion on string basses in New Orleans where they were originally more common than other bass instruments. If it's recordings you're thinking about, we have also discussed this before so you had best refer to the group archives. If I remember correctly, we identified early bass playing on recordings by Joan Sawyer which are dance music predating jazz proper. There are probably string basses to be heard by listeners with good ears on the Kid Ory sides I mentioned recently, but also on sides by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. While the former can be heard on CD, the latter are said to be audible only on 78 originals. The earliest well-recorded bass playing is by Steve Brown on "Dinah" by Jean Goldkette's Orchestra, recorded by Victor on January 28 1926.

      As for your second question - it was dominant in New Orleans in the times before recording but took a back seat for a while since the brass bass or tuba came through better on recordings. It gradually came back from about 1926 on. After 1930, there were few bands with brass bass, although some used it until well into the 1930s.

      Michael Rader

      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Gerry <222ggg@...> wrote:
      >
      > I'm looking for a "first date ever" for playing acoustic bass. But a bigger question is when did effectively come to dominate?
      >
      > I'm having a heck of a time finding either date readily. Any aid appreciated.
      >
      > -- Gerry
      >
    • David Weiner
      ... Don t forget, Gerry, that many bands had tuba and string bass side by side at the same time - this is readily apparent in many of the Vitaphone shorts of
      Message 38 of 38 , Jul 26, 2010
        >
        > So now limiting the discussion to "big band/large ensemble" and avoiding
        > string-bands, quartets/quintets: I had always assume that this
        > setting--for recordings--generally had tuba. As such I was looking for who
        > began using string bass as a replacement for tuba, if it concentrated in
        > one or a few individual groups.
        >
        > .
        >
        > -- Gerry
        >
        >
        Don't forget, Gerry, that many bands had tuba and string bass side by side
        at the same time - this is readily apparent in many of the Vitaphone shorts
        of 1927-30 - often, a band also had a banjoist and a guitarist playing
        simultaneously, too. There are numerous records - like Gus Arnheim's "One
        More Time," from 1931, where tuba is in use on the first half of the disc,
        with a switchover to string bass for the "hot" final choruses to add an
        extra measure of excitement to the performance.

        Dave Weiner
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