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Bass Transcription: Dominique di Piazza’s Bass Solo on John McLaughlin’s “Belo Horizonte”

Dominique di Piazza

This month, the transcription is dedicated to French bass virtuoso Dominique di Piazza.

I think Dominique deserves more recognition in the bass world. Ask any bassist today – Hadrien Feraud, Matthew Garrison, Adam Nitti, and many more – and they will swear that di Piazza has had a profound influence on their bass playing.

His solo piece “Marie,” has opened a new door for a new generation of bass players who look for a different approach to the instrument. It’s like the “Portrait of Tracy” of the ’90s.

Musical Analysis

In the first part of the solo (the A and B sections in 3/4), di Piazza uses a lot of diatonic material, resolving in the third of the chord as a chord tone. He also uses the harmonic minor scale and the 3-♭9 resolution that we found in the bebop era. For the dominant chords, he often he uses some diminished arpeggios with the ♯9, ♭9, and ♯5 as tensions for his lines.

Letter C turns to 4/4. In this long E mixolydian section, he uses the E half step/whole step diminished scale mixed with the E mixolydian scale. He plays some superimposed arpeggios over E, like D♭, B♭ (♭9), G (♭9), and E (♭9), which are all from the diminished scale a little bit like Jaco Pastorius’s “Opus Pocus”.

Definitely, Di Piazza is one of the greatest.

Follow along with the transcription and the video below.