Steve Uccello and Billy Jones: Thursday’s Theme

Steve Uccello sent us his latest video, which is a bass ensemble version of Benny Golson’s “Thursday’s Theme” from his 1958 album Benny and the Philadelphians. Along with drummer Billy Jones, the bassist covers all parts of the song with two double basses and a resophonic contrabass guitar made by Paul Beard.

Uccello comps chords, bows, and plays slide for the melody, and walks the bass line. That’s worth triple pay in our books.

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  1. Sarah

    This is really cool! I wonder how he built the arrangement for the recording? Did he start with the walking line and then add drums, then the bowed part and then guitar? Very cool stuff!

    • Thanks Sarah, so glad you liked the vid! The arrangement is almost identical to the original Benny Golson one. The first thing was to spend a lot of time learning it and writing it out in Sibelius (btw-pdf’s are available in the description). Then for the recording process, it started out in sort of a round about way. I started with a “scratch” part playing just the chords on the resophonic contrabass guitar to a click track that was a hi hat on 2 & 4. That way I had something to pitch (or tune) to for the upright bass part. Then I played the walking bass part including the solo. After that I went back and played a chordal part again just more sparsely, leaving more space for all the other stuff as well as being a bit more interactive to the walking bass/bass solo. The arco bass melody came next as that is the sax/main melody part. Honestly, it took a few tries to get the first really high part to a satisfactory level. Since this was all filmed I couldn’t really “piece meal” it, and though I did a few very minor fixes to a note or two here a there, it had to be a good performance from start to finish all on the same take. The last part was the “trumpet” slide harmony part (though really melody/harmony are kind of trading off throughout). Once I had my parts all set I sent an MP3 over to the drummer, Billy Jones, and he filmed himself playing it and sent it back over to me. The final step was learning how to put it all into Final Cut pro, which I am still really new to. It was a lot of fun to build it up and I am currently working on a few new vids that will, hopefully, be out soon. Thanks again!!