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Artist’s Choice: Michael Formanek on 1964-65 Bass Highlights

When Mingus, Carter, Peacock and Garrison ruled the world

Charles Mingus, 1964

The years 1964 and 1965 produced a staggering number of influential modern jazz recordings. In almost every case, the bassists who played on these essential albums were on more than one of them. With the exception of Charles Mingus, the majority of these bassists came of age at a time when the instrument had been liberated from the well-defined walking lines of the 1950s to the more interactive approach of the post-Scott LaFaro era.

More important, the music as a whole had changed significantly by the early 1960s, and these guys at the forefront were among the most creative and individual voices in jazz-bass history. I apologize for those bassists I needed to leave out due to space constraints: Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow, Henry Grimes, David Izenzon, Cecil McBee and Reggie Workman were all on my original list, and should be heard in the context of the great recordings of 1964-65.

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