Lorenzo Feliciati: Five Bass Lines You Should Know
Lorenzo Feliciati is one of my favorite players because he has total control of the instrument with exciting creativity that really draws you into his music. His style is broad, with flavors of jazz, progressive rock, and fusion, but his voice on the instrument is unique.
He’s collaborated with everyone from Yellowjackets saxophonist Bob Mintzer to King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto to Frank Zappa drummer Chad Wackerman. (Bassists take note of his Twinscapes project with Colin Edwin.) Most recently, he’s featured on the Richard Hallebeek Project’s Live in Zoetemeer, which is out now. While he’s happy to support the guitarist’s music, he also gets to shine on songs like “(About) Forever and a Half.”
With such a varied palette, we picked Feliciati’s brain about the essential bass lines that everyone should know, plus one of his own songs to share.
1. “September” – Earth, Wind, & Fire
I can pick each song from Earth, Wind, & Fire’s repertoire, and I will start to dance! And every bassline is composed and played with such great taste and power. I saw them live two times, and it’s been an incredibly groovy experience.
2. “Dazed & Confused” – Led Zeppelin
They are one of my favorite bands, and the first one, my older brother asked me to play on bass. (Actually, I was playing the lower strings on my guitar… a classic.) This one was one of the first songs I spent hours practicing, not just finding the notes but trying to understand the groove and feel. John Paul Jones created something unique and still unsurpassed. Truly one of the essential bass lines.
3. “Night Passage” – Weather Report
My favorite song from my favorite album of my favorite band, with my favorite rhythm section. Still, something I study frequently, trying to capture the many magical things Jaco and Erskine did together.
4. “Tokyo Dream” – Allan Holdsworth
I love Holdsworth’s music, and of course, Jeff Berlin is one of my reference players from the golden era of jazz/rock and Fusion. This one is a great example of Holdsworth’s approach to composition and of Berlin’s unbelievable ability to create complex basslines that are so melodic and remarkable.
5. “What is Hip” – Tower of Power
The best soul-funk band on the planet and one of their classic songs is driven by a powerful bassline with some of the truly most funky 16th notes in the history of the instrument. Another classic example of a bass line that you’ll never stop to discover amazing details every time you study it.
Bonus: “Thief Like Me” – Lorenzo Feliciati
This one is one of those songs I love to play live, no matter the lineup of the band. It’s funny and interesting that every time you approach a song of yours together with different players, you discover a new, different way to play it. The bassline is not very complex, but the main riff doesn’t start on the downbeat, and that can be tricky sometimes.