Groove of The Week #36: Vulfpeck – ‘The Birdwatcher’

Time Mismanagement – Joe Dart’s ‘Birdwatcher’ bass part – How I Spent My Summer

This post features the bass-wrangling of Vulpeck’s Joe Dart. If you’re not familiar with Vulfpeck (or Joe), I suggest taking a break from this blog immediately and listening to this.

More on that later. For those who are just joining us for post 36 in the ‘Groove of The Week’ series (or those who have followed from the start and are wondering if there’s an end in sight) here’s the concept:

At the start of 2015, I had the bright idea to upload a video of one of my favourite bass grooves each week and simultaneously blog about it on this site with an accompanying transcription. Easy, right?

For most people, maybe. Fast forward to late October 2016 and I still haven’t finished the damn thing. Not only that but the posting of videos and transcriptions is wildly out of sync.

Why? In a word, life. I’ll do my best to steam through the rest of the series as best I can.

Anyway, here’s one of my favourites. Better late than never:

This is definitely one of the silliest bass lines in this series, and many people might not view it as a groove in the traditional sense – it doesn’t feature any regularly repeating phrases at all and uses almost the entire range of the instrument.

Whilst it doesn’t provide the typical bass ostinato that underpins the other songs from the Groove of The Week posts it does show what you can do with a run-of-the-mill I7-IV7 chord progression (if you’re Joe Dart, that is).

Here’s the transcription of the bass part to ‘The Birdwatcher’:


Most of the part is standard R’n’B bass vocabulary, just played at a challenging tempo; exactly what Jaco made a career from.

Speaking of Jaco, last week Vulfpeck unleashed this video of them playing a new track entitled ‘Dean Town’. Sound familiar, anyone?

Dis. Gust. Ing. One to put on the transcription list, for sure.


How I Spent My Summer, Part 1

In July I got the chance to work with guitarist and arranger Andy Little on his personal project, a horn-led 9 piece jazz/funk outfit called ‘Mr Little’s Noisy Band’.

Here’s a video from a live studio session that we did at Masterlink Productions near Guildford. The rhythm section had rehearsed prior to the recording but this was the first time that we’d all had a chance to play in the same room together. For those who are interested in gear, I did the whole thing with just a bass and a D.I. box straight into Pro Tools.

It seems that I DO have a sight reading face after all:



  1. Hey, Tom,

    one of my fellow bass colleagues/teachers, Stijn Deldaele, who is teaching at Bruges’ Conservatory, sent me the DEAN TOWN video by Wulfpeck.
    He also did put it on his ‘to transcribe’ list. I’ll keep you informed when it’s ready. Or maybe, we culd all be working on it together?
    Great piece, for sure!.

    Thanks for the great blog, articles, thoughts, transcriptions & video’s. You’re doing a wonderful job!

    1. Hi Maarten,

      Thanks for the kind words on the blog, glad that you’re enjoying it!

      As for the ‘Dean Town’ transcription, it seems that there are already some transcriptions up online. There’s one here which I haven’t had the chance to check but it might be useful.

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