Saturday, April 21, 2007

Greatest Bassists - Part 1 - Willie Weeks - Giving the Bass Guitar a Life

This weekend I'm starting a section which I'd love to get your feedback. Every week I'll cover a different bassist that I admire and inspires me on their playing. Although James Jamerson would be the ultimate Number 1 for me, I'm still gathering more data to write that one up.

This week the spotlight is on Willie Weeks:

Born in Salemburg, North Carolina, Weeks grew up working in the fields and listening to country, pop, and R&B on the radio. At age 12 he started singing and then playing guitar in a gospel group—learning on a homemade axe strung with fishing line—and when the group began performing alongside big-time acts, he got his first glimpse of an electric bass. “It was a Fender Precision,” Weeks recalled in a May ’90 Guitar Player interview. “I said, ‘Man, that’s it!’”
In the 30 years between Donny Hathaway’s Live and John Scofield’s That’s What I Say, Willie Weeks has played on more than 200 albums. Here’s a partial list of artists whose tracks his grooves have graced: Billy Joel, Chaka Khan, Michael McDonald, Buddy Guy, Aretha Franklin and so many others.
Currently his is touring with Eric Clapton. The snippet below that I took from Clapton's last performance in Detroit on April 5th, illustrates a little bit what Willie is able to do with the bass.

Check out these other two great links:
+ Willie Weeks does it all (Bass Guitar Magazine Interview)
+ Willie Weeks unforgettable bass solo on “Voices Inside (Everything is Everything) from Donny Hathaway’s Live album

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