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The Root of It All

Together with his younger brother, drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett, Fams created and established much of the hypnotic pulse and infectious vibe that characterizes reggae rhythms.

Photo by Martin Raggio/Wiki Commons

As a member of Bob Marley and the Wailers, he was one of reggae’s original creators.

Bass is about connection—within the music, among the players, and between the musicians and the listener. Even if you can only hear a song’s bass line, say, in a noisy, crowded room, or through an adjoining wall, you might be able to recognize the song—and conjure up all the memories and emotions of how that song speaks to you. Simply through bass. In the musical conversation between rhythm and harmony, bass bridges the gap, gluing everything together. And chances are, as the bass player in your band, you’re not only providing that musical groove glue, but you may also be holding the band together practically and interpersonally. And the whole time, you’re making everyone and everything feel and sound good.

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Slash onstage with Guns N’ Roses, backed by a fleet of glowing Magnatone M-80 amps, the inspiration for his current signature model, the SL-100.

Photo by CQPhotographer

The guitar icon revisits his roots with a feral 6-string rager featuring guests Billy Gibbons, Gary Clark Jr., Chris Stapleton, Brian Johnson, Steven Tyler, Beth Hart, Demi Lovato, and others. His guests onstage for the accompanying S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival tour will be a rotating cast of the Warren Haynes Band, Keb’ Mo’, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Robert Randolph, Larkin Poe, Eric Gales, ZZ Ward, Samantha Fish, and Jackie Venson.

Many of us have been transfixed by Jimi Hendrix’s acoustic 12-string performance of “Hear My Train A Comin’,” in the 1973 documentary A Film About Jimi Hendrix. Including Slash. But Slash, being Slash, took it a step further.

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How we listen to music has been changing for more than a century, but since the rise of streaming, musicians are being left behind.

The music industry is leaving brilliant artists high and dry. What do we stand to lose?

Great jazz drummer Milford Graves was an innovator in every sense of the word. The definition of a polymath, he did so many things, from botany to computer science, at such a high level that it was hard for those in the know to think of him as any one thing. However, one little-known thing is that young Milford was also an early pioneer of independent records, meaning he was one of the first musicians to record, press, and release his own. Even lesser known is that he was responsible for introducing John Coltrane, one of the biggest of the jazz names within the major label pantheon, to this idea near the end of Coltrane’s life.

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The Akai MPC2000.

The use of samples by hip-hop producers is part of a much longer tradition that goes back to the roots of jazz.

A lot has been made of the fact that a large portion of early hip-hop was based on “taking” pre-existing songs and recordings, created decades before, and presenting them in a new, different light. This process was known as sampling, named for the sampler, which could literally record chunks of time as digital audio and allow users to manipulate it at will via keyboards or drum pads.

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How the funk pioneer and his intrepid band changed musical culture.

Would you believe that I once auditioned for the J.B.’s … on organ!? Unfortunately, it happened. In 1992, my manager at the time somehow convinced me to accept a studio session and failed to mention that this session was on Hammond organ, with the J.B.’s! Needless to say, it didn’t go well, and thus, I continued to admire James Brown’s music, on bass, from afar.

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