“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” is a phrase we use often in society when describing many things in life: bad fashion, bad world politics, bad cooking, but not when it comes to music. In music, repeating history isn’t always a bad thing.
As an arranger, I occasionally get to revisit music styles of the past. I love the nuance of stylistic study, remembering the players who first blazed these trails enables us to pick up where they left off.
As musicians, we function in part as historians. We preserve the musical past, melding it into new styles, and then passing it on to others. Like Today’s lesson that comes from 1978 courtesy of Mr. Bob Glaub, studio bassist extraordinaire.
The story goes that this particular bass part was written out “note-for-note” for the Donna Summer session. My transcription pictured here below notates Bob’s stylistic highlights and leaves the rest to the discretion of the bassist. Ahh…Disco at its finest…I can just see the big mirror ball starting to spin.
Stylistic studies help us to understand why a piece of music ‘feels’ like it does. It gives us the ablilty to see its “roots.” For example, slow this track down, play a little behind the beat and this line works as a Motown feel- thus History repeating itself in a fresh new way.
Music of the past can be a launching platform for new music of the future. So to all of my bass playing friends out there, enjoy the memory of this “piece” of history (played on a Fender Precision of course) A piece from the time when the studios of LA were buzzing and top session players were doing 2-3 sessions per day. You know, sometimes, I really do miss the old days…
The full chart can be downloaded at:
Listen to a clip of it here: