Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Dee Curtis talks on how to pick a Bass Player for your band
By Mark Grove
This is a 9 year old article I brought of out hiding and dusted off a bit so players,actually frontmen can use to hire their next bass players. Whether it's for the studio,live or even just jamming.
Dee Curtis knows his shit,and he tells it like it is so all you players understand how to recruit sidemen. You talk about anything in music,or ask a question to Dee, he knows the answer.
This is a recent conversation with Detroit based bluesman Dee Curtis. I talked about a recent article I read in Guitar World's (Bass Player Mag) about Gov't Mule Bass Player Andy Hess. It said he spends a lot of time looking over charts, studying and practicing material.
He also stated, that sometimes doesn't matter on stage if you're trying to get a certain feel. The charts and playing note for note can sometimes get in the way. Those are my words folks.
Dee Curtis: Some of it does matter. Sitting down and runnin' scales and loosening your fingers up to warm up. It could be different for Bass Players. Once I'm on stage I try to be inspired or reach deep inside to pull out the vocals and the music. I know players who think about the next chord before they play it, and that takes away from the natural feeling of it.
It's more of a spiritual feeling when you let go and go to the next level and let it flow. If you've played a song enough times and know the next riff is a certain note you can just play. From there once you get to that point you should be able to improvise to some degree. This is because you can automatically know where the music is going. You should be able to stretch it out at a -certain point to go up a level.
Some of the Bass Players you've played with over the years, do you find
some are more suited to live, session work or other types of Music?
Why is that?
Dee Curtis : I use different bass players for different things. In the Dee Curtis Trio, I use two bass players. One guy's a singing bass player who's very adept at R&B. Over the last couple of years he's adapted to the styles and dynamics of my music.
My other Bass Player does a lot of church material, and is a cousin of mine. And we've played so much over the years that no matter what I'm doing he can come in and mold to the style I'm playing at that particular moment.
He plays a 6 string bass which I really like because he can cover a lot of territory, and can play a lot of chords and improvisational riffs.
He's a bass player that I prefer. The drummer I use is my Brother Paris. he also plays keyboards. Currently he's doing quite a bit of sequencing and drum programming along with producing.
I also use a guy named Rudy who's a Jazz Fusion drummer which I love which is closer to rock drumming--and that's something closer to what I'm used to. My drummer in Canada, Carlos LaTorre was and is a rock drummer.
He had a lot of jazz elements in his playing, and could play funk as well as fusion. This made him more of an all around percussionist. I look for players of that calibre.
I also look for guys who can change the tempo and feeling of a tune on the fly in subtle ways. One of my next cuts on an upcoming demo will be a Blues-Latin mix.
In ending, Dee is always looking for solid backing in his side men. The Dee Curtis Trio is currently playing in Detroit. So look for Dee up here in Canada next year at a blues club or bar near you.
Mark Grove -- CGP
Dee Curtis -- Recording Artist and Consultant to CGPM
This is a back catalog article that bass players and front men should read.