Bass 20 living greats

1 Dave Holland The Englishman’s global influence cutting across a swathe of post-bop styles remains immense. 2 Esperanza Spalding Breakthrough bassist/vocalist Spalding has rewritten the rulebook in terms of what...

Published: 8 Nov 2019. Updated: 3 days.


1 Dave Holland The Englishman’s global influence cutting across a swathe of post-bop styles remains immense.

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 or more recently Afrodeezia 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 Palle Danielsson The Keith Jarrett Belonging band bassist has a tonally rugged heart-on-sleeve reputation. No wonder he is seen as the cornerstone of the modern Scandinavian jazz sound.

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 Stephan Crump The Vijay Iyer trio bassist, also making a name for himself with the Rosetta trio, Memphisian Crump has a tonally rich Melodic sensibility as attuned to avant jazz as it is more Americana-aimed material

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, the ultimate standards bassist for many years with Keith Jarrett.

14 Lars Danielsson Tonally strong, compositionally varied in his interests, the Swede is one of northern Europe’s most influential players

15 Dan Berglund He reached a huge global fanbase with EST and now leads his own group Tonbruket. Berglund harnesses electronics as well as rock and metal influences in the interests of his own highly distinctive sound.

16 Thomas Morgan Big toned US bassist known for his work with Tomasz Stańko, he’s a revelation on Jakob Bro’s Gefion.

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 Arild Andersen Contributed to European jazz history on Afric Pepperbird (1970).

Tags: The Greats