In this jazz bass masterclass, professional bassist Neal Miner discusses and demonstrates some essential concepts for the working jazz bass player. Neal breaks down the important elements of playing the upright bass in a jazz context, including time feel, playing with a drummer, intonation, standard forms, walking lines, soloing, professionalism and more.
Topics Covered: The blues form, common chord substitutions, playing in two, using rhythms to add forward motion, switching between two and four feels, soloing, playing in four, creating simple but effective lines, the bass and drummer relationship, improvising, leaving space, building the tune, composing, leading the band, intonation, tuning the bass, playing scales, shifting between notes, professionalism tips, getting gigs, keeping gigs and more.
Neal Miner was introduced to the world of jazz by his first teacher – his father Bill Miner, a respected jazz record collector and discographer. Bill’s love of jazz kindled a passion in his son from an early age. Bill shared the music of his vast record collection, took Neal to clubs and concerts, and ensured he received the best musical instruction.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Neal received his high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy, and attended the Manhattan School of Music. Most notable of his private teachers were classical bassist, Orin O’Brien of the New York Philharmonic, and jazz bassist, John Webber.
Since the age of 19, Neal has been a solid fixture on the New York City jazz scene and is a favored bassist to a host of musicians, both rising jazz stars (Larry Goldings, Harry Allen, Russell Malone, Peter Bernstein, David Hazeltine, Dena DeRose, Ann Hampton Callaway, Loston Harris), and jazz legends (James Moody, Frank Wess, David Allyn, Eddie Locke, Etta Jones, Bob Dorough, Warren Vaché). Neal has toured and recorded with Jon Hendricks since 1998, and has been backing Annie Ross steadily since 2005 at her weekly engagement at the Metropolitan Room in New York City. In 2007, Neal joined Jane Monheit’s band with which he has been performing at major festivals, jazz clubs and concert halls around the world. Neal has written arrangements for and plays on Jane’s last two albums, The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me, and Home.
Neal has four CD releases as a leader that showcase his compositions and arrangements. In 2000, his debut CD, The Real Neal, was released on the Juniper Records label. In 2006, The Evening Sound, was released on the Smalls Records label. In 2009, Neal released his CD, Happy Hour, on the Gut String Records label. In 2011 Neal’s lastest release, Sweet Tooth, is on the Gut String Records label. “Miner’s uncontrived projection of this lexicon’s spirit raises the music appreciably above the generic.” —Bill Shoemaker, Downbeat