It’s Friday nite and time for one of my favorite electric bassists. Jeff Berlin is a legend. Simply put, I consider him to be the finest electric bass player in the world. While he’s noted for his fluid lyrical playing, he is also a pioneer of slap bass when he brought this percussive-style bass playing in 1979 to a new audience on the tune called 5G, which you can hear below. Jeff also pioneered two handed tapping when he performed the tune Motherlode from his 1985 release of his first solo album called “Champion” (hear it below). With his incisive playing, Jeff has been a major innovator through recordings and performances for the last thirty years. Jaco Pastorius regarded Jeff as a better soloist than he was. Geddy Lee referred to Jeff as the “greatest bass player on the planet”. Marcus Miller told people that he wanted to be the “Black Jeff Berlin”.
In 1998, when his son was diagnosed with cancer, he quit touring and founded The Players School of Music in Clearwater, Florida. Since then, Jeff has also been at the forefront of music education for almost 30 years. His columns in Guitar Player and Bass Player magazines were the most read columns due to their controversial content emphasizing music education over more popular learning concepts aimed at technique-type instruction.
His son has recovered and he’s now back touring and recording with his band that has features ex. Pat Metheny drummers Danny Gottlieb and Paul Wertico, steel drummer Othello Molineaux, trumpet player Randy Brecker and pianist/bassist Richard Drexler. He also toured with BX3, a bass conglomeration that includes the great bass players Stuart Hamm and Billy Sheehan.
Personally, I have never heard anyone play the bass guitar with Jeff’s melodic fluidity. He is simply the best. Enjoy!
Jammin at NAMM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxTYlFM8BxE&feature=related
Tears in heaven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86GgVpf4cRo&feature=related
With Frank Gambale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6at4jSG3cUc
Chachagua Festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNv7XHqpVCo&feature=related
Manos de Piedra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpLaU2RgqlQ&feature=related
Footprints with Mike Pachelli: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiGL3vcZ9Zw&feature=related
With Pat Martino: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW-AlfnpClw&feature=related
With John McLaughlin & Trilok Gurtu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_ErjXeeNFU&feature=related
Namm 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukMX2ptVCcw&feature=related
Liebman on a jet plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J3612JOoes&feature=related
20,000 Prayers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scTO2a4fvmw&feature=related
It’s chilly in Nebraska tonight. That coupled with the heft of bass guitar music calls for a nice red, namely a Novelty Hill Cabernet ($20.00). The wine is a rich purple with dark berries and spice on the nose. The flavors are intense with blackberry, cherry, and red currants that persist in a long finish. Subtle hints of vanilla and silky tannins linger in the mouth. Excellent for curling up with a good book in front of a fire and listening to the innovative music of Jeff Berlin.