Best Bass Players

Written by on June 12, 2015

best bass players

Deep Jams Edition: Best Bass Players

Sadly, most bassists are not front and center during a performance, or a recording for that matter.  Aside from the occasional bass solo that blows the mind of the audience, the job of a bass player is to keep the tempo while playing a catchy, rhythmic tune.  DeepJams.net would like to take the time to identify some of the best bass players of blues, rock, and jam music from the past, present, and future.

One of the best bass players is a founding member of the Grateful Dead, and master of many instruments.  Phil Lesh has made an incredible impact on the musical world through his work with the Grateful Dead as well as his own band Phil Lesh and Friends, as well as the opening of his performance venue, Terrapin Crossroads.  Though Lesh was not a bass player from the start, he is certainly a legend in the realm of bassists today.

Jorgen Carlsson is another bass player who has left an impact on rock music.  Thanks to the help of Warren Haynes, Carlsson came to the states from his native home of Sweden to showcase his talents for Haynes who believed that Carlsson could be the next bassist for Gov’t Mule.  Haynes was pleased with what Jorgen Carlsson brought to the table and saw that he might be a good fit.  Carlsson is currently working with Govt. Mule and his group, Planet of The Abts, of which he is a founding member.

Stanley Clarke was introduced to the bass at a young age.  His prose with an acoustic bass translated nicely to an electric bass guitar, while also providing Clarke with his unique strumming style.  For a period of time, Clarke moved away from his roots in Jazz fusion to focus on composing and producing pieces for television and film.  In the past decade, Stanley Clarke has released three successful albums and won a Grammy for best contemporary jazz album.

One of the greatest American bassists and a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, Berry Oakley was a master of the Fender Jazz Bass.  As one of the best bass players of his time, Oakley’s untimely and tragic death caused massive ripples throughout the world of rock.  Oakley was not only a talented bassist, but also helped establish unity within The Allman Brothers Band and its extended family.

In the next generation of great bassists is Tal Wilkenfeld.  Tal solidified herself as one of the best bassists of recent history when she released her debut solo album at the age of twenty, while performing as a musical guest for The Allman Brothers Band.  Wilkenfeld has also traveled with Jeff Beck throughout Australia and Japan until returning to the states and collaborating with an alternative country singer on her latest work.

No matter the age, style, or instrument of choice, each one of these bassists has been a piece of musical history and will be remembered for a long time to come.  With each new song or collaboration, these musicians inspire those that will come next, and leave the mark of their generation on the canvas that is jazz, rock, and jam music.

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Reader's opinions
  1. Rob   On   July 5, 2015 at 11:40 am

    There were some good choices here and obviously there are many different opinions of great bass players.
    Here are some of my picks:

    Jaco Pastorius
    Jack Bruce
    Marcus Miller
    Geddy Lee
    John Entwistle
    Geezer Butler
    Steve Harris
    Chris Squier
    James Jamerson
    Pino Palladino

  2. Donald   On   July 9, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Jaco Pastorius
    Stanley Clarke
    Charles Mingus
    James Jameson
    Phil Lynott
    Gaddy Lee
    John Entwistle
    Chris Squire

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