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Tag: pino palladino

Groove Of The Week #17: Omar – ‘There’s Nothing Like This’

Apologies for the serious time lag between posts – the last fortnight involved moving house and a series of gigs that included learning an entire set of Wayne Shorter tunes…

Apologies for the serious time lag between posts – the last fortnight involved moving house and a series of gigs that included learning an entire set of Wayne Shorter tunes at short notice.

Anyway, time to clear the Groove Of The Week backlog. This one comes courtesy of British soul singer Omar (who also played most of the instruments on the track, including the standout bass line). ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ remains the best example that I’ve ever heard of how to convert something as mundane as a major 7 arpeggio into a musical idea that really grooves.

Omar - There's Nothing Like This

Omar recently re-recorded this classic track, and who played bass? None other than Pino Palladino:

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Groove Of The Week #5 – D’Angelo ‘The Charade’

Regular readers of this blog will have gathered that I’m something of a D’Angelo fanboy, so imagine my excitement when he suddenly reappeared with Black Messiah, his first studio album…

Regular readers of this blog will have gathered that I’m something of a D’Angelo fanboy, so imagine my excitement when he suddenly reappeared with Black Messiah, his first studio album in 14 years. I’d got hooked by the grooves on Voodoo, mainly because they were anchored by one of my favourite bassists, the great Pino Palladino.

Here’s what Questlove had to say about Pino’s involvement in Black Messiah:

“We MUST take our hats off to Pino Palladino, his pocket and precision and carefully chosen notes on this record is an absolute tutorial in bass playing.”

High praise indeed from someone who has drummed on and produced some of the most groove-laden albums of the past 20 years…

Pino announces his arrival on ‘The Charade’ with an ear-grabbing melodic fill before descending into the main groove of the verse section:

This entire line is built on ascending triads that outline the harmony – a great lesson in how to turn something that is traditionally seen as a rather boring exercise into real music.

D'Angelo - The Charade

As always, listen out for the articulation as you take the notes off the page – much of the magic lies not in what the notes are but how you play them.

 

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Fret less, Say More

Last year I got a call to play some bass on some tracks for Records On Ribs artist Talk Less Say More. The plan was to make a record with…

Last year I got a call to play some bass on some tracks for Records On Ribs artist Talk Less Say More. The plan was to make a record with a decidedly 80s feel, which meant that I got to stretch out and take some risks doing things that I don’t usually do as part of my ‘day job’. I seem to remember the conversation going something like this:

“It’d be great to have some fretless bass. Do you have a fretless bass?”

“No…”

“Oh ok… Do you play fretless at all?”

“Sorry, I’ve never played fretless…”

“Ok no problem, we’ll hire you a fretless. It’ll be fine.”

In almost 15 years of playing this was the first time I’d had someone ask for fretless. So, the night before the session I take delivery of an unlined Fender P/J and do my best to get my fingers (and ears) around it.

 

 

On the day I tried to channel the spirit of Pino Palladino/Jaco/Bakithi Kumalo and other fretless players that I’d grown up listening to. Here’s how some of it turned out:

 

 

 

 

So, did the experience persuade me to take the plunge and go fretless? In a word, no.

In spite of the fact that I really enjoyed the session I don’t feel that fretless fits with my ‘voice’ as a bassist – although I’m heavily influenced by fretless players I’m sure if I made the switch then I’d end up sounding even more like a sub-par Jaco or Pino clone.

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Lick Recycling, Pt.2

Continuing the previously aired topic of lick recycling, here’s another borrowed lick that gets a workout from two great fretless players, Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino. The phrase in question…

Continuing the previously aired topic of lick recycling, here’s another borrowed lick that gets a workout from two great fretless players, Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino.

The phrase in question originates in Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, composed in 1913. Listen to the opening line played by the bassoon:

 

Fast forward to 1977, and Jaco’s phenomenal solo on Weather Report’s ‘Havona’. Listen out for the third phrase of Jaco’s solo (at 2:51) and you’ll hear the Stravinsky lick:

 

 

Another Jaco recording from the same year shows him borrowing the same lick from Stravinsky again, this time on Joni Mitchell’s ‘Talk To Me’. The third phrase of Jaco’s intro melody should be recognisable by now…

 

 

The next link is slightly more tenuous as it’s not a direct note-for-note insertion of the ‘Rite of Spring’ melody, but whenever I hear Pino Palladino’s opening melody on Paul Young’s ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ I can’t help but be reminded of the Stravinsky/Jaco phrase:

 

Here’s the transcription of the phrase in question, first Jaco’s lick from ‘Talk to Me’ (the line has been written down an octave for ease of reading):

 

Pino’s part from ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ shows similarities in both note choice and phrasing:

In fact, Pino admits the Stravinsky quote in this interview. I love his reaction to hearing the tune on the radio for the first time:

All the examples mentioned feature the lick in the context of a major chord, where it outlines a major 7 sound. It could be applied in other areas – play the lick in C against an F major chord and you’re instantly implying a Lydian (major 7#11) tonality.

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