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THE BASSIST 1. The bassist is arguably the most important element in the rhythm section. 2. The bass has the dual function of providing a rhythmic and harmonic foundation simultaneously. 3. The ability to execute a stedy walking bass line (throughout the practical range of the instrument) is the top priority for most jazz bass players. 4. The basist is the "glue" that keeps the rest of the rhythm section and the band together. 5. Groove and time are of the utmost importance. 6. The bassist's lines should be relatively simple, concise, clear, and acessible, optimizing groove, time, and feel.Walking lines should consist of predominantly long, sustained quarter notes the outline the root movement(roots are usually placed on the downbeat of each sucessive chord change) and harmony (correct thirds, sevenths, alterations, etc.) 7. The bassist must exercise "peripheral hearing" listening to the bass, the drummer(particularly the ride cymbal), the rest of the rhythm section, the rest of the band, and the soloist simultaneously. 8. The bassist, for the most part, is an accompanist(rather than a soloist) and must approach most jazz situations with an attitude that reflects support ("anything to make the band sound better") 9. The sound should be appropriate for the bag(warm, long notes for straight-ahead jazz.


1. The drummer's primary function is to lay down a great feel, accompanying and complimenting the rest of the fhythm section, band, and soloist. 2. The drummer's volume should be balanced throughout the set. The dynamic level of the ride should be slightly lower than the bassist's volume level. 3. The drummer should delineate form via fills. 4. The drummer must exercise "peripheral hearing", listening to the drums, the bass, the rest of the section, the rest of the band, and the soloist simultaneously.


1. The pianist's primary responsibility is the comping of chords in an accompanying and compimentary fashion. 2. The pianist, when soloing, will generally improvise in the right hand while comping with his/her left. 3. The pianist is often responsible for improvising introductions (usually four to eight bars in length). 4. The pianist must exercise "peripheral hearing, as noted above.


1. The guitarist's primary responsiblitiy is the comping of chords in an accompanying and complimentary fashion. 2. The guitarist and piano should not comp in the same register at the same time. Pianists and guitarists often take turns comping. 3. For the most part, the guitarist should avoid using the low E string while comping. 4. The guitarist must exercise "peripheral hearing". 5. The sound should be appropriate for the bag (warm for straight-ahead jazz).