I’m an American bassist living in Germany for nearly 40 years. I teach here at the Mannheim Music school. One question: When you’re playing random (sounding) lines on funk grooves, how would you describe the process of making your note/dead-note & rhythmical choices. Do you think a lot in terms of odd rhythmical patterns or do you just try to play as random as possible (using no patterns)? This might seem like a weird question but for me this is the main element of your playing style that sets you apart from most other bassists.
Thanks for qualifying the word “random” with the word “(sounding)” ;-). Otherwise I might be tempted to become defensive 😉
One important part of your question is “Do you think a lot . . . ” and the answer is no. When I’m comfortable with my playing and creativity it means I’m not thinking and letting my conscious brain second-guess my instincts. On the other hand, over the years I’ve critically evaluated and edited my vocabulary so that my instincts are directed to avoiding the predictable. So if you mean that you hear me playing in an unpredictable way then yes that’s always been my goal. The process involves developing an acute awareness of your own vocabulary and when you sense yourself falling into the predictable trap – don’t. Try to create your way out of it by imagining a different idea or moving the predictable idea to a different beat.
Still it’s a balancing act because the definition of something that grooves is its repetitive nature. Since I’ve tried to guide my instincts to react to and develop ideas, that repetition helps maintain the sensation that something is being repeated and is “groovy” – just not in the place you would expect it.
So finally, no it’s not really based on some kind of computer/brain random algorithm but years of making minute choices that expand whats possible.