Ear-Tickler: “To Begin”

Here’s an early entry for you guys.

One of my favourite musical discoveries as of late is British bassist Janek Gwizdala (now residing in NY). His tone and feel reminds me a lot of Rich Brown’s, he plays with some great modern guys (including Mark Guiliana and Jojo Mayer), he has a ton of great interviews and instructional videos on youtube and a great business sense to boot.

The opening track to his 2010 album The Space in Between, “To Begin”, features a really cool, laid-back bass solo. Check out my transcription here.

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While the harmony is fairly straight forward (2 bars of Cm7, 2 bars of Gm7), he keeps things interesting with some really lyrical melodies, some interesting rhythmic ideas and the occasional 16th-note burst of playing out. The first example of this happens at measure 24:

To Begin1

This is all over Gm7 and he starts off playing straight G aeolian, then steps out with some side-stepping pentatonics (in this case fo F#m) before coming back to Gm on 3 of 25. This approach comes back again at bar 45 for a super hip run over Cm7 (46/47):

To Begin3

We start the side-stepping in G#m pentatonic, then moving further out to a line that mostly stems from the E Major bop scale, then back into Gm in 48. Super cool.

Lastly, I just need to point out the crazy run at 31 which involves a lot of string skipping (entirely in 17th and 19th position) and a whole lot of chops in general.

To Begin2

If you’re into what you hear, I would recommend checking out the full album (as well as his others) which can be found here. For bonus incentive, all of his records are currently PWYC on Bandcamp, so you can effectively get all of them for free if you so choose.

Happy listening.