Hey Mr. Willis
I am from India. I am 21yrs old. I have been playing bass for around 7 years. I wanted to ask you how would you look at playing bass in an ensemble like John McLaughlin’s Shakti? And also I have been trying really hard to get out of the 4/4 or 6/8 frame but sadly I cannot solo over meters other than these. I can play grooves on random meters but when i have to solo i cant think of the harmonic aspect and time aspect simultaeneously.Please help!!! Im looking for a solution to this for a really long period of time. Thanks a lot for this site. It has helped me a lot in the understanding of music. I started listening to Tribal Tech after Scott Kinsey, Kirk Covington and Matt Garrison played a gig here in my city, Kolkata. I really hope to see you and Scott Henderson play here someday. Thanks for your guidance!!!
Dammit! You just blew my ages ole excuse for not being very good at odd-time music: I’m from East Texas. But then again, If you’re from India and having problems, what chance do I have? At least you can play grooves on random meters. I think my inner clock can go up to 7 but it starts to get shaky after that.
One thing that makes me not very good at odd time music is that I simply don’t like it very much. It doesn’t fascinate me and when I hear it, I spend most of my time counting and trying to keep up with when the bars start over. I can guarantee that I would be the wrong guy to occupy the bass chair in a band like Shakti.
If you have the ability to solo in 4/4, 6/8 then transferring that vocabulary to odd time is really just a measure of how bad do you want to do it? If you really want to do it, then you I recommend creating a lot of background play-along odd-time sequences so that you can get used to playing your solo ideas freely and develop the sensation that the music will go on even if you don’t outline the start and end of the bars and phrases. This is something that has to be done as a soloist over even time signatures as well. In this way you develop some independence from the melody (your soloing) and the accompaniment.
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