The Bass player on
"Get off the Ground (The Bottom End)"
Jamie Faunt is the mystery bass player that was featured on "The Bottom
End." He is actually the only musician from the track that I was already
very familiar with. This was through his work with the legendary pianist Chick
Corea on albums such as "Tap Step", and "The Mad Hatter".
On "Tap Step," Jamie played Piccolo Bass on "The
Slide," which was huge on the UK jazz dance scene. This "dark"
samba featured jazz giants Airto Moreira (Cuica), and Don Alias (Iya Drums).
Chick Corea's "Mad Hatter Rhapsody" was another tune that was popular
on the jazz dancers club scene, as well as "Dear Alice" that was taken from the same album (The Mad Hatter). What made it so special was Herbie Hancock's collaboration
with Corea, as the two giants of the keyboards are rarely featured together
on tracks like this. The bass player Bunny Brunel's "Latin", was another great track that was played for the dancers, featuring Hancock and Corea, many years ago in the jazz clubs.
Incidentally, "The Mad Hatter Rhapsody" always reminded me of the
"Get off the Ground", as there are similarities in the arrangements.
There are long keyboards solos before Gayle Moran comes in at the end unexpectedly
on vocals, singing the story in a sweet melancholic way that is similar to Valli
Scavelli's "breakdown" on the "Get off the Ground". Chick
Corea's other composition "The Musician," also has a similar arrangement
where the drummer plays a Latin rhythm that switches into a straight-ahead tempo.
After many solos, and a lengthy "jam," Gayle Moran comes in again
unexpectedly, as her vocals tell a story.
The "Get off the Ground" was the earliest of these recordings, and
was revolutionary for its time. Obviously the fact that it was recorded Direct
to Disc during the period when M&K Sound were first producing audiophile
records using this concept, created a uniqueness within the sound itself, let
alone its musical content. When I listened to the track over the years, I always
said that there was something very "Chick Corea" about the tune, so
when Don Baaska told me that Jamie Faunt was the bass player, this confirmed
why I had that notion.
Faunt has a very special way of playing the bass, and this is a sound that Chick
has incorporated in his music for many years, through various bass players.
Jamie has a uniqueness within his playing that was utilized on the "Get
off the Ground." He had met Don and Valli in California, and played with
them a few times, and was also working with Chick Corea during this period.
Don Baaska gave him a lead sheet of "Get off the Ground" as a reference,
before they jammed to "get used to the changes." Baaska said, "Jamie
had no trouble keeping up."
It is very rare to hear a tune where all the musicians made an equal contribution
to the track. For some people it is Valli's vocals that make the track so special,
for others it is Ken's drumming or Baaska's keyboards, and then there are those
who talk about Jamie's bass playing. For me, what makes Jamie's performance
so special is the character within his playing.
The very first notes in the introduction of his solo show such confidence, as he takes control of the tune.
This in itself is admirable considering the fact that he is playing the tune
for the very first time. His crowning moment is when he takes the songs "main
theme" (or vamp), and plays with it in such a cheeky, child-like manner,
revealing his personality.
The collaboration between Jamie Faunt and Ken Park on drums during the bass solo
is very dynamic, with great background support from Baaska. The electric bass
accompanied by Fender Rhodes and drums, gave the tune a very unique, and raw
sound. Faunt is also very proficient on acoustic bass. I was more familiar hearing
him on acoustic bass than electric, so this was very special.
On the "Get off the Ground", he plays the electric bass with the characteristics
of an acoustic. Valli Scavelli had said, " I don't remember anything intellectual
about the M&K "Get off the Ground" session." This is evident
in Jamie, and the rest of the bands playing, for they are very relaxed and free.
As Valli said to me, "We were just having fun!"
Since "The Bottom End" Test Disc was made to demonstrate M&K
Sound's new Direct-to-Disc recording technology, as well as the latest "Bottom
End" speakers, the bass playing on "Get off the Ground" was ideal
for displaying the subwoofers. Jamie Faunt is not just a renowned bassist, for
he is an accomplished composer, as well as a pianist and session leader. Jamie
is also the founder of "The Faunt School Of Creative Music" which
he formed in 1975. He is the author of all the courses that take place within
As a music educator, it has been said that Jamie Faunt is quite exceptional, as he
has a great ability to communicate the most complex musical theories in a way
where any student (including beginners) can learn, and apply within their own
development of playing. His professional career is one that any musician would be proud of. He has worked with many other artists that have contributed to
the dance floors of our English jazz scene. These include; Stanley Clarke, John Klemmer, Paul
Horn, Michael Brecker, Gato Barbieri, Dave Holland, Bunny Brunel, Larry Coryell,
John McLaughlin, Don Ellis, and Al Jarreau.
Jamie has also played in symphony orchestras, and performed or recorded with
The Paul Winter Consort, Charles Lloyd, Benny Molson, The Flying Burrito Brothers,
Mac Davis, Tim Weisberg, Lightnin' Hopkins The Dells, Donny Osmond, Liza Minnelli,
and many other well known artists. Like all the remarkable musicians who were
part of the famous "Bottom End" recording, Jamie Faunt's contribution
In a strange way, I was glad that Baaska and Scavelli were artists
that I was not familiar with, because this made so much sense why "The
Bottom End" was such a mystery for so many years. However, in the case
of Jamie Faunt it was actually good to discover that the unknown bass player
on "Get off the Ground," was already connected to our scene.
Jamie Faunt is an exceptional bass player. He continues to share his passion,
and knowledge of music with those that wish to learn from "The Faunt,"
within his school of Creative Music. Many students have benefited from his teachings,
as there are countless testimonies from those who have attended his school,
and have incorporated his theories, enabling them to develop, and excel in music.
For those of us who embraced "The Bottom End/Get off the Ground" on the dance floor,
we applaud Jamie Faunt, for he communicated something very special to us through
his outstanding playing. Thank you Jamie Faunt, for putting "THE BOTTOM END" in
The Bottom End.
Copyright 2006 © Seymour Nurse