Book Review - Bass Players to Know - Ryan Madora

TLDR; Excellent introduction to a wide range of bass players you may not have heard of (but probably should have). For each it a brief bio is provided and Ryan then describes their style and lists three example recordings. Available on Amazon or autographed direct from the book's website.

The following was submitted as an review but has not yet appeared

To be honest, this is a perfect book for me on two levels. Ever since my teenage years, I've been deeply interested in musicians and would read sleeve notes to find the artists involved and thus discover other works and collaborations to share with my mates. More recently, as an adult learner of the Bass I'm interested in how bassists do what they do in the hope to introduce cool new techniques into my playing.

In this small approachable book, Ryan has selected an eclectic mix of 35-odd bass players and for each has provided a brief bio, style notes and three selected recordings. Just what I want at this stage of being an early intermediate player who loves a wide range of music. For example, I enjoy Tina Weymouth's work in Talking Heads and Tom Tom club. I even chose her debut piece with talking Heads "Psycho Killer" for my Grade 1 exam. So, I enjoyed reading more about her work and style.

Interestingly, while Ryan states this is a book for those "inclined to venture beyond the beaten path" of the well known "bass greats", a handful are bassists I think of as very well known. Perhaps that's just me. Sure, like any reader, there are many artists I would have liked to have seen included (eg Kaye, Squire, Levin, Khan, Palladino, Flowers, Jones, Sinclair, Haslip, maybe even Bolder) but as Ryan says "it will likely require second, third and fourth volumes". I look forward to reading those too :)

Recently, I've become more aware of the importance of "active listening". The style notes and example tracks provided for each artist are a great resource for diving into this highly enjoyable skill.

A final benefit of this readable book is the delightful unearthing of new factoids - like which of the Brothers Johnson played bass on Strawberry Letter #23.

Recommend reading for anyone interested in or playing the low end, or even just loves music in a slightly nerdy way. The only downside I found is that my "stuff to listen to" list has grown massively.

← Home