From the Bottom: Wilton Felder – The Greatest Bass Doubler (You Probably Don’t Know)

Please help us welcome our newest contributor, Paul Thompson! Paul is kicking off a new series today on No Treble. From the Bottom explores the work of the great bassists in history.

What if I told you that one of the great jazz saxophonists in the 1970s just so happened to be one of the most notable and in-demand bassists of the 1970s?!

In this episode, I trace the double-life of the late, great Wilton Felder, how he started playing bass, how he broke into the L.A. recording scene, and digging into five of my favorite recorded bass lines to identify his ubiquitous style on the instrument.

Paul Thompson has been playing bass professionally for over 30 years, including recording and touring stints with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. Recent playing credits include Bob Reynolds, John Pizzarelli, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and Bob James, among others. Currently, he can be seen playing in and around the Pittsburgh, PA area with the THOTH Trio, the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, and many other musicians in the city's rich Jazz community. An educator of over 25 years, Paul currently teaches Jazz Bass at Duquesne University, West Virginia University, and his alma mater, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 Performing Arts School.

Connect with Paul on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and his website.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Jim Malina

    Excellent! Years ago I studied w/a bassist who orginally played sax/flute, & then learned upright. -Had that wonderful linear style of single note knowledge. I was in awe of the way he played & connected changes. Thanx Paul!

  2. Dave Clark

    Thank You Mr.Thompson, All your work is very important and necessary! You always do an excellent and thorough job! I was very excited to see this interview and homage to the great Wilton Felder! As a kid I listened to a lot of gospel tracks by ‘Andrae Crouch and the Disciples’ and tried to study the fabulous bass playing of Mr. Felder. His playing greatly influenced me and my lifelong journey in studying music on the bass guitar! Thank You, Dave Clark