Singled Out: Jeff Berlin

05/30/2013
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Today legendary bass player Jeff Berlin tells us about the song "ESP" from his brand new album "Low Standards". He has recorded and played with Eddie Van Halen, Yes, Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, and more. He actually turned down the gig with Van Halen when they first formed. Here is the story:

ESP represented for me a challenge on the bass. The harmony of this great Wayne Shorter composition doesn't follow what might be considered a "normal" progression.

To solo on this tune, I had to practice a long time to figure out various melodic lines that normally aren't available on a bass guitar. By "available", I mean that because the bass is tuned symmetrically, in fourths, ESP is anything but traditional in its harmonic motion through the chord changes.

This is why I chose to play this tune. I was forced to look at the bass guitar differently because the song required a special approach in order to play through it. Plus, I took the tune in an up-tempo manner which presented more difficulties for me. Sometimes it is great fun to just play simple bass parts. But as a band leader, I have found that people expect me to present interesting bass playing. ESP is an example of something that I wished to make interesting and technically exciting for the listeners.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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