Every once and a while, I look to taking a lesson by one of "the greats". For me, this means sitting down with a recording and doing some deep listening or transcribing. Some times I turn to YouTube and watch how some of these great play and try to get into their technique and style.

With the latter in mind, here is a video of Ray Brown giving a masterclass. A couple of things stick out to me from this video. One is his pizzicato technique: most of his playing is with one finger. He has a dexterity, speed and tone that is amazing. Secondly, emphasis on left hand technique and sustaining notes for their full duration is something I think I (and other bass players) need to be reminded of form time to time. For example, with the first student he reminds her about sustaining the note it transforms her playing to a much fuller piece. A similar reminder for bassist is his discussion of "playing with an amplifier and not letting the amplifier play you." Finally, his discussion of playing solo (i.e., unaccompanied) and choosing a song with sufficient "holes" is great. He plays "The Very Thought of You" with such a deep understanding of harmony and rhythm that he conveys everything about the song a beautiful solo performance. 





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