The Best Jazz Bass Guitar Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best jazz bass guitar music? Look no further than our list of top 10 tracks. From Miles Davis to John Coltrane, these are the tracks that any jazz bass fan needs in their collection.


Jazz bass guitar is a widely popular genre that combines the traditional sounds of jazz with the modern styles of bass guitar. While the exact origins of jazz bass guitar are difficult to trace, the genre has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in part to the popularity of contemporary artists such as Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten.

If you’re new to the world of jazz bass guitar, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best jazz bass guitarists in the world and provide you with a starting point for exploring this exciting genre.

The Best Jazz Bass Guitarists

There are many great jazz bass guitarists out there, but who are the best? In this article, we will take a look at some of the best jazz bass guitarists around. We will discuss their playing style, their technique, and what makes them great.

Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius was born in 1952 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and was a self-taught musician. He played the guitar and drums before taking up the bass at the age of 18. He quickly developed his own style of playing, which combined jazz, funk, rock, and R&B. He became one of the most influential bass players of all time, and his distinctive approach has been emulated by bassists all over the world.

Pastorius joined Weather Report in 1976, and his playing on the band’s albums Heavy Weather and Mr. Gone brought him to international attention. He also released a number of solo albums, including his debut self-titled album in 1976 and The Claudine Longet Album in 1977. In 1981, he formed his own band, Word of Mouth, which released two albums before he tragically died in 1987 at the age of 35.

Despite his short career, Jaco Pastorius had a profound impact on the world of jazz bass guitarists. His innovative style paved the way for future generations of players, and his music continues to inspire bassists all over the world.

Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke is one of the best known and most respected bass guitarists in jazz. He started out playing the acoustic upright bass, but later switched to electric bass. He is known for his virtuoso playing style and his ability to improvise complex solos. Clarke has played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea. He has also been a member of the rock band Journey.

Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller (born June 14, 1959) is an American jazz composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a bass guitarist. He has worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Herbie Hancock, singer Luther Vandross, and drummer Billy Cobham. Miller began his career as a sideman in 1981 and has released 17 solo albums. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Master Musicians Award, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music in 2010. He is also a husband and father.

Marcus Miller was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to an African-American father and Italian-American mother. His father was an upholsterer and his mother was a schoolteacher. Miller’s musical talents were recognized early on. At the age of nine he began playing the clarinet; at around the same time he also started learning how to play the electric bass by ear by listening to his brothers’ records. In high school he played in a band called Darkness with Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis.

Miller spent two years at the University of South Carolina before transferring to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1977 he joined Mingus Dynasty, led by musicians associated with jazz bassist Charlie Mingus; this experience helped him hone his skills as both a bassist and a bandleader. After graduation he moved to New York City and began working as a sideman for rock musician George Benson (with whom he won a Grammy Award in 1980), bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, funk band The Brothers Johnson, jazz flutist Bobbi Humphrey and soul singer Luther Vandross (with whom he won another Grammy Award in 1987).

In 1986 Miller released his first solo album Marcus Miller. The album’s first single “Rush Over” reached number one on the Billboard Jazz charts; the album itself reached number five on the Billboard Gospel charts. In 1988 he released Tutu, an album that pays tribute to Miles Davis; it won Miller his first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. His next album Mr Jaws followed in 1990; it included the hit single “Jazzmatazz”, which featured rapper Stevie Wonder on vocals.

In 1991 Miller released The Sun Don’t Lie, which reached number one on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart; this was followed by 1992’s Blue Note years – Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (a live album recorded with saxophonist Wayne Shorter), 1999’s Concerto for Violin, Strings & Harp (a classical composition featuring violinist Eugene Friesen), 2001’s M2 (a duet album featuring pianist Mulgrew Miller) and 2003’s A Night in Monte Carlo (a live concert recording featuring pianist McCoy Tyner).

In addition to his work as a solo artist, Miller has also composed film scores (such as for Spike Lee’s 1996 film Get on the Bus) and television theme songs (such as for US sitcoms Will & Grace and Malcolm & Eddie). He has produced albums for artists such as Miles Davis (“Tutu”, “Amandla”), D’Angelo (“Brown Sugar”, “Voodoo”), Snoop Dogg (“Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told”), David Sanborn (“Here & Gone”), Derek Bailey (“Plays Standards”),Stanton Moore (“Flyin’ the Koop”)and Pete Escovedo (“Live from Stern Grove”).

The Best Jazz Bass Guitar Songs

Jazz bass guitar music can be some of the most enjoyable and relaxing music to listen to. It is perfect for any occasion, whether you are wanting to wind down after a long day or you are looking for some background music to set the mood. Jazz bass guitar music can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

“The Chicken”

One of the most popular and well-known jazz bass guitar songs is “The Chicken” by Jaco Pastorius. This tune is a great example of how the bass can be used as a lead instrument, and it’s also a lot of fun to play. If you’re looking for a challenge, try learning the solo from this song.

“Come Together”

The Beatles’ “Come Together” is a perfect example of how a great song can be made even better with a killer bass line. Paul McCartney wrote the song, and it was originally released on the Abbey Road album in 1969. The bass line is iconic and has been covered by everyone from Victor Wooten to Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones.

“A Night in Tunisia”

Few basslines are more iconic than Ray Brown’s on “A Night in Tunisia.” The opening line is deceptively simple, but it swings hard and sets the stage for one of the most memorable bass solos in jazz history.


In conclusion, the best jazz bass guitar music is a matter of personal opinion. However, there are some definite standouts that remain popular among bassists and jazz lovers alike. These include Miles Davis’ “So What,” Charlie Haden’s “Liberation Music Orchestra,” Jaco Pastorius’ “The Chicken” and Marcus Miller’s “Tutu.” While there are many other great songs and albums out there, these four selections represent some of the best jazz bass guitar music available.

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