Fifty-one years since being discovered by Miles Davis, Holland’s global influence cutting across a swathe of post-bop styles remains immense. The beating heart of In a Silent Way. Pick out his work with Kenny Wheeler for later thrills. Still a force to be reckoned with especially on 2018’s UnchartedTerritories and the brand new Good Hope with Zakir Hussain and Chris Potter.
2 Esperanza Spalding Breakthrough bassist/vocalist Spalding has rewritten the rulebook in terms of what a 21st century bassist can do.
3 Marcus Miller Fusing jazz, soul, and African music Miller’s sound whether heard as far back as Tutu with Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, or more recently on Laid Black is instantly recognisable.
4 John Patitucci With a solo reputation for leading his own bands and making his own records nonetheless it’s for his role in the Wayne Shorter quartet that has defined the technically accomplished US bassist’s career over many years now.
5 Reid Anderson As a member of one of the leading small groups in contemporary jazz in The Bad Plus bassist Anderson has an eclectic approach influenced by jazz, rock and classical approaches that appeals to a new generation exploring jazz often for the first time.
6 Larry Grenadier Best known for his work with Brad Mehldau and the Fly trio Grenadier thrives on a riff, his impossibly woody sound cornering tricksy rhythms with consummate ease.
7 Arild Andersen Playing Cork this autumn. Was part of the history making Triptykon.
8 Ron Carter Elegant and refined, the heir in some ways to Ray Brown, Carter was the bassist in the Miles Davis “second great quintet” fact enough to be included in this list. He is still leading bands to this day, and is a regular visitor to Ronnie Scott’s.
9 Stanley Clarke Hugely influential from Return to Forever and George Duke days and in demand as a movie composer.
10 Cecil McBee The Forest Flower bassist. Need I go on? OK, yep McBee is on the title track of Journey in Satchidananda too.
11 Richard Bona The Cameroonian with the jaw-dropping bass guitar technique and unique vocal style, jazz, African music and a sense of improvisational adventure all roll into one.
12 Reuben Rogers The Charles Lloyd and Joshua Redman bassist has some of the best chops in jazz as at ease with free-jazz as straightahead.
13 Gary Peacock Avant gardist by reputation and also the ultimate standards bassist for many years with Keith Jarrett.
14 Linda May Han Oh Adventurous chamber-jazz stylist globally known through touring with Pat Metheny, already with a formidable track record of achievement on her own genre-busting records.
15 Dan Berglund He reached a huge global fanbase with EST and now leads his own group Tonbruket. Look out for Rymden.
16 Thomas Morgan Big toned US bassist known for his work with Tomasz Stańko, he’s a revelation with Jakob Bro.
17 Richard Davis As well known as an educator as for his appearance on some classic records Richard Davis’ big sound has decorated albums as influential in very different ways as Astral Weeks and Out to Lunch.
18 Christian McBride Straightahead heaven from the Oscar Pettiford influenced James Brown loving Philadelphian.
19 Avishai Cohen Hugely athletic bassist Cohen thrives on leading from the back. Bassist, and occasionally vocalist, as showman par excellence.
20 Henry Grimes Avant god. Ayler, Cecil Taylor, another time, another place. Lost now found.
Encounter Babelfish for the first time and you will be intrigued.
Landing somewhere in a jazz, folk, experimental space topped by the adventurous voice of Brigitte Beraha this is their third and most mature album.
Vocal jazz clichés there are none but their jazz roots are strong and Beraha gets great support from the Ian Shaw pianist Barry Green, veteran Chris Laurence on double bass and Paul Clarvis on drums.
Beraha has a big range of extra sounds, whether sighs, laughter or elaborate ornamentation that she dresses her lyrics with. Her style lands in the Norma Winstone heritage and like Winstone can stop you in your tracks with her quiet but devastating intent in the most unexpected places. Includes lots of originals plus a great version of the Ellington/Strayhorn standard ‘Pretty Girl (Star Crossed Lovers)’. SG Babelfish, left to right above: Barry Green, Brigitte Beraha, Paul Clarvis, Chris Laurence. Babelfish launch the album at Kings Place, London on 29 June.