I transcribed this from an old Coleman Hawkins record featuring Oscar Pettiford on bass. I sometimes show it to students of mine because it’s a nice example of how to compose an effective walking bassline. Oscar uses a few simple ideas to give motion and color to the harmony, and his timing is impeccable. The bass solo shows off Oscar’s dexterity and motivic development, as well as presaging the solo style of the next generation of greats like Paul Chambers. Soon I’ll add a new page to this site that digs deeper into some instructive playing by important bassists, so stay tuned for that.
Ahmad Jamal’s trio with Israel Crosby and Vernel Fournier was one of the tightest in jazz history. Using a system of hand signals, Jamal could cue new sections, tempos and feels without saying a word, leading to recordings that make the band sound almost telepathic.
Stompin’ at the Savoy comes from Ahmad’s Blues, recorded live in Washington, D.C. It highlights Israel Crosby’s great melodic bass playing: Ahmad leaves so much open space, the tune is almost a bass solo. I’ve written out the head they play and also Crosby’s bassline on two choruses of piano solo. Click the links for full .pdf versions.