Here are four great interviews with all-time great bassist and bandleader Ray Brown from the JazzProfessional website. In this excerpt he talks about his bass sound and the difference between bass sounds in his early days and in 1980 (when this interview was conducted):
“There is a definite difference between bass players now and bass players in my early days. Growing up in the ‘thirties and ‘forties, you were more involved in sound, basically. You couldn’t afford to get too involved in technique, because you didn’t have any amplification. There was one microphone in front of the whole orchestra, and the bass player was always at the back. Unless you were with Ellington—then you were up front. But it was very difficult to project; the faster you played, the harder it was hear what you were playing. It was a physical problem in those days. That’s one of the reasons the instrument wasn’t played as well—certainly not as fast.
A guy who’s twenty–five years old, at fifteen he started out with amplifiers, so he didn’t have to bother specifically with getting a sound—he never had a problem of being heard. Not having to jump that hurdle—it’s good in one way, and probably bad in another. It prevents them from working out that part of playing which involves projection. The classical players are still involved in that, but the jazz players, by and large, are not.”
The four interviews are:
A widening scope—1979
Fusions and phases in jazz—1980
Sound and the bass—1980
Click here to read Four Ray Brown Interviews