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Discussion Starter #1
How do you think a sax and bass jazz duo would work out? As far as sound issues: Would it be too "bare" or "thin" sounding?
Any ideas on some tunes that would work well in this type of duo?
Any success with this type of duo?

A friend of mine and myself are thinking about getting together every now and then and jamming at a local coffee shop, but I don't want to do it if the instrumentation just doesn't work. I know that a sax and guitar duo would work, but I'm not sure about sax and bass.

Any input would be awesome. :)
 

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I think it could sound nice, would it be a 'chilled out' sort of jam at the coffee shop or more of a performance? Either way could be good, sometimes I think that the guitar can take over a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all of the input.
I checked out some red mitchell duos and they sounded great.
I have never played the blues or any standards with just myself and a bass player.
I am thinking something more laid back. Just relaxing and playing some standards and maybe something funky like Chameleon or a darker sounding version of Slam.
It looks like there a bunch of possibilities with just sax and bass.
Any input on using an electric bass over the double bass?
 

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+1 on Warne Marsh and Red Mitchell. Listening to these recordings make me want to find a bass player to try duo stuff with;-)
 

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I played duo once with Red Mitchell. He was just incredible, and a really nice guy too. His bass was tuned in fifths like a cello, rather than fourths. That made it possible for him to play all kinds of lines and chords that would not be possible on a conventionally tuned bass.

Yeah, bass and saxophone is great fun.
 

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Yes sax and bass great fun. It's a lot of work, but like Neff said, harmonically freeing. Still it's easier than play solo.

The trick for me seems to be finding a bass player. It seems like any bass players around here that have an axe and can tune it are playing in three different groups. The first question is always, How much does the gig pay? Rehearse? NO. If you can get a gig that pays, you can get any of the baddest bass players in town to play with you. Guess i need to keep shedding.

Last summer I met a young drummer that was taking lessons and was learning to play the jazz style. The kid had chops and listened. I played with him every Sunday for three months. It was really great for both of us to work out stuff out. The whole summer we tried to find a bass player but just struck out. When school started he joined a gigging rock band and now he is in two rock bands and too busy to play with me. Talk about harmonically free...

A couple years ago, my wife's client gave her a gift certificate for a nice little restaurant. We didn't make reservations and the hostess said I can seat you by the musicians, so we sat in the back corner of the place next to a bass and sax player. i had my back to them so I didn't see them. They started playing Trane's Equinox with the bass player using double stops to play the intro. In like seconds, I had a smile on my face. I turn around to look and it was Dave Friesen and a tenor player named John Gross I think. They were like four feet from us and it wasn't too loud. The place was full, but nobody seemed to even be aware they were there. After the first solo we clapped and people looked at us like, what's that about?

I was thinking, here is a world class cat who I have been seeing in all kinds of situations and venues for 25 years, playing in the corner of a restaurant. Usually when I hear people play, it just makes me itchy to want to play too, but they totally sucked me into the music. I loved it.

Later I had the thought, well they would probably be shedding or rehearsing somewhere anyway why not make a couple bucks to do what they do anyway. It's a short commute. Not like having to go to Europe, Japan or New York for a gig.

 

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Any input on using an electric bass over the double bass?
upright has so much character and nuance, but a fretless electric could go a long way in that regard. But you know, it just really depends on the player. If it's "thump thump thump" on the tonic, then it won't sound good regardless of the setup.
 

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Idaniel27,

I played a couple of times in a sax and a hollow body electric guitar duo at a coffee house. One night the sound attracted a violinist dressed in a tuxedo asking if he could "sit in." He said he had just finished his gig playing solo in a very expensive local restaurant. Sax and bass might work well depending on the venue and what both your skill levels permt. Go for it.
 

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Check out the Ornette Coleman/Charlie Haden duo album "Soapsuds, Soapsuds" (if you can find it.) It's exactly how a sax/bass duo should sound.
 

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There's a great duet between Joe Henderson and Christian McBride on Joe Henderson's album "Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn" on Isfahan. Sorry to revive another dead thread, but I just started performing with a bassist and we're trying to figure it out.
 
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