I've been banging away on my bass today -- more than usual. Working out some bugs in a simple piece of music which, like so many simple pieces, is easy to play but damnably hard to play well. (The Beatles' "Come Together" if you're interested. Easy piece, but getting those slides and hammer-ons just right; getting that tone fat enough -- well, remember, Paul is a much better bassist than he is given credit for.)
In essence, really, that is the bass in microcosm.
Oh, I adore Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey. Like every bassist, I worship at the altar of Clarke. I study Jamerson and Radle and could (and do) listen to Jaco's recordings for hours. I stand in awe of Gary Willis. But Lee Sklar is my hero. Perfect notes, perfect tone, at the perfect time. There is a reason he's on over 2,500 albums. He just plain makes the music better.
I remember when I truly fell in love with the bass. I was just a kid -- very early teens -- but already committed to the drums, when I heard Paul Chambers playing with Miles. "Someday My Prince Will Come". Chambers was playing bloody whole notes, for goodness sakes, and I thought I had never heard such expression and beauty in any music ever.
Anyway, got to thinking about the "Boys from Liverpool" as I was playing their music. About how good they were together. And that got me to thinking about how they broke up. And that got me to thinking about The Button.
Somewhere pushing (good Lord!) 20 years ago, my little girl was living in Portland, OR, as was I. She was working in some funky little shop, in Southeast I think, and came across -- and gave me -- the button you see above. I immediately declared it the most perfect button in all of the history of the world and knew I would have it, close, for the rest of my life.
It is, in fact, at this moment sitting where it always does -- right under the monitor of this computer.
The Button is perfect on several levels. Naturally, as my daughter gave it to me, it is precious (heck, I still have the collection of rocks, in its entirety, she picked up and gave me on a Christmas hike of the Grand Canyon when she was 6 or so). But, The Button is also cooler than cool and may just very well contain not only the Great Truth but the reason for all the worlds ills as well.
Think about it. Yoko doesn't mess up John's head -- well, anymore than it was already messed up at that time -- and maybe, just maybe, the Boys stay together. I mean, who knows what they might have come up with?
Yup, the way I see it, if it wasn't for Yoko Ono, we might not have global (sic) warming, would have solved hunger and quite possibly have achieved world peace.
Ah, well, on that note, time to get back to the music (a pun worthy of Takei?).
But not to worry, kids, the more I play, the more I'll remember that I'm