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Who Are the Emerging Talents in Bass Guitar? Discovering New Voices

Emerging Bass Talents

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Great bass playing never ended. In fact, great bass playing never stopped. It’s still all around us. We’ve become so enamored with the people who helped to shape the instrument, but we haven’t taken the time to look forward and admire all the new, flourishing bass guitar talent out there right in front of us.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are numerous emerging talents in bass guitar who are reshaping the music industry.
  • Artists like Thundercat, Michael League, and Jesse Keeler are pushing the boundaries of bass playing.
  • These musicians showcase the versatility and creative potential of the bass guitar.
  • Great bass playing is still alive and well, with new talents emerging all the time.
  • Exciting developments in bass playing await music enthusiasts.

Thundercat: A New Generation of Jazz Bass Playing

When it comes to jazz bass playing, Thundercat, also known as Stephen Bruner, has emerged as a true force to be reckoned with in the beat music and new jazz scene. This talented bass player has made a big splash in recent years, captivating audiences with his unique style and musicality.

Hailing from a musical family, Thundercat has been heavily influenced by jazz, funk, and R&B. His innovative approach to bass playing draws inspiration from the likes of Flea and Les Claypool, revolutionizing the genre much like his predecessors did in the 90s.

“Jazz bass playing has always been about pushing boundaries and exploring new sounds. Thundercat represents the new generation of musicians who are redefining the art form,”

Collaborating with renowned artists such as Flying Lotus, Thundercat has expanded the horizons of jazz bass playing, infusing it with fresh elements from beat music and new jazz. His albums, “The Golden Age of Apocalypse” and “Apocalypse,” serve as testaments to his bass-centric approach and his seamless fusion of jazz and funk.

With Thundercat’s virtuosic skills and unique musical vision, he has paved the way for a new era of jazz bass playing, captivating both traditional jazz enthusiasts and a younger audience. His innovative approach and genre-bending compositions have breathed new life into the jazz bass landscape, ensuring that the future of this instrument remains bright.

jazz bass playing

The Fusion of Jazz and Beat Music

Thundercat’s music embodies the fusion of jazz and beat music, creating a harmonious blend of intricate melodies and rhythmic grooves. His bass lines provide a solid foundation for his compositions while also taking center stage, showcasing his technical prowess and improvisational skills.

Whether he is collaborating with other artists or working on his solo projects, Thundercat continues to push the boundaries of jazz bass playing, continually expanding the sonic possibilities of the instrument.

Key Elements of Thundercat’s Jazz Bass Playing Description
Virtuosic Technique Thundercat’s impeccable technique allows him to execute intricate bass lines with ease, showcasing his technical mastery.
Innovative Melodic Approach His unique melodic approach to bass playing adds a fresh new dimension to his compositions, captivating listeners with unexpected twists and turns.
Rhythmic Grooves Thundercat’s bass lines are infused with infectious grooves and rhythm, ensuring that his music is not only intellectually stimulating but also immensely danceable.
Genre Fusion By seamlessly fusing elements of jazz, funk, and beat music, Thundercat creates a genre-bending sound that transcends traditional labels and captivates a wide range of listeners.

With his innovative approach to jazz bass playing, Thundercat has solidified his place as one of the leading figures in the new generation of musicians reshaping the genre. His influence continues to expand, inspiring aspiring bass players to push boundaries and explore new horizons in their own musical journeys.

Michael League and the Fusion Sounds of Snarky Puppy

When it comes to combining jazz fusion and instrumental jazz, Michael League and his band Snarky Puppy are at the forefront of the genre. As the bassist and leader of Snarky Puppy, League brings his intricate bass playing and composition skills to create a unique and captivating sound.

Snarky Puppy is known for their winding, intricately prepared musical themes that seamlessly blend with tasteful improvisation. Their albums serve as a testament to their fusion of jazz and funky instrumental jazz, pushing the boundaries of the genre.

League’s bass playing in Snarky Puppy serves as the foundation for the band’s complex arrangements. His functional and complementary style allows the other musicians to shine, while providing a solid backbone for the band’s compositions.

In addition to his work with Snarky Puppy, League has collaborated with other notable musicians such as Roy Hargrove and Robert Glasper. These collaborations showcase his versatility and ability to adapt to different musical styles, further establishing his place in the world of jazz fusion.

With their innovative approach to jazz fusion and instrumental jazz, Michael League and Snarky Puppy continue to push the boundaries of what is possible within the genre. Their intricate compositions and masterful musicianship have earned them a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim.

Michael League’s bass playing in Snarky Puppy serves as the foundation for the band’s complex arrangements.

The Fusion of Jazz and Funk

One of the defining characteristics of Snarky Puppy’s sound is the fusion of jazz and funk influences. This unique blend creates a vibrant and energetic musical experience that sets them apart from other jazz fusion bands.

The band’s intricate compositions often feature syncopated rhythms and infectious grooves that are reminiscent of funk music. These elements, combined with the improvisation and jazz sensibility, result in a fusion of genres that appeals to a wide range of listeners.

Snarky Puppy’s fusion of jazz and funk has garnered them a wide fan base and international acclaim. Their music transcends traditional genre boundaries and continues to challenge the conventions of jazz fusion and instrumental jazz.

The Collaborative Spirit

Snarky Puppy’s success can be attributed in part to their collaborative approach to music-making. The band is known for featuring a rotating cast of musicians who bring their own unique styles and musical backgrounds to the table.

This collaborative spirit extends beyond the band itself, with many of their albums featuring guest musicians from various genres. These collaborations have resulted in exciting and unexpected musical moments that further enhance the fusion sounds of Snarky Puppy.

Snarky Puppy’s commitment to collaboration not only allows for fresh and innovative musical ideas, but it also fosters a sense of community within the music industry. Through their collaborations, they have created a network of artists who push each other to reach new heights.

The Visual Appeal of Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy live performance

Snarky Puppy’s performances are not only a treat for the ears but also a visual spectacle. The band members’ energy and passion are evident on stage, captivating audiences with their infectious enthusiasm and skillful musicianship.

Whether it’s the synchronized movements of the horn section or the intricate interplay between the rhythm section, Snarky Puppy’s live performances are a feast for the eyes. The band’s ability to connect with the audience on both a sonic and visual level creates an immersive and unforgettable experience.

As the leader of Snarky Puppy, Michael League’s stage presence and charisma add an extra layer of excitement to their live performances. His commanding presence and virtuosic bass playing are a sight to behold, leaving audiences in awe of his talent.

Innovation in Jazz Fusion

Snarky Puppy’s fusion sounds, led by Michael League, have breathed new life into the world of jazz fusion and instrumental jazz. Their ability to seamlessly blend different genres and styles has garnered them a dedicated following and critical acclaim.

Through their intricate compositions, tasteful improvisation, and collaborative spirit, Snarky Puppy continues to redefine what is possible within the genre. Michael League’s bass playing serves as the foundation for their musical explorations, anchoring their complex arrangements and allowing their unique sound to flourish.

As Snarky Puppy and Michael League continue to push the boundaries of jazz fusion, they pave the way for a new generation of musicians to explore and innovate within the genre. Their fusion sounds will undoubtedly continue to captivate audiences and inspire future generations of jazz fusion enthusiasts.

Jesse Keeler and the Bass-Driven Sounds of Death From Above 1979

Jesse Keeler, the bassist of Death From Above 1979, is a true force to be reckoned with in the world of bass guitar. Known for his catchy hooks and danceable beats, Keeler brings a unique energy to the band’s sound. His mastery of the Rickenbacker 4001 bass is evident in the distinctive fuzzed-out tone that complements the band’s raw and energetic style.

As a bassist, Keeler is more than just a rhythm keeper. He is an active ‘riff maker’ within the band, contributing to the composition and arrangement of their songs. His bass playing style is heavily influenced by punk rock and alternative music, which adds a rebellious edge to their music.

Death From Above 1979’s discography is a testament to Keeler’s skill and creativity as a bassist. Songs like “Romantic Rights” and “Trainwreck 1979” showcase his ability to create infectious bass lines that drive the band’s sound forward. By layering catchy bass melodies over Sebastien Grainger’s powerful drumming, Keeler builds a solid foundation for their explosive live performances.

“We’re a bass and drum band first and foremost. Our sound is all about the interplay between the bass and the drums, creating a powerful and danceable groove. It’s what sets us apart.”

In addition to his work with Death From Above 1979, Keeler has also made waves as part of the electronic music duo MSTRKRFT. The project explores a different side of his musical repertoire, incorporating electronic elements into his bass-driven sound.

The Bass-Driven Sound of Death From Above 1979:

Album Year Notable Tracks
You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine 2004 “Romantic Rights,” “Turn It Out,” “Black History Month”
The Physical World 2014 “Trainwreck 1979,” “White Is Red,” “Government Trash”
Outrage! Is Now 2017 “Nomad,” “Freeze Me,” “Moonlight”

Jesse Keeler’s contribution to Death From Above 1979 and the larger bass guitar community cannot be overstated. His catchy bass lines and danceable beats continue to inspire a new generation of bassists. Whether he’s rocking out on stage or laying down solid grooves in the studio, Keeler’s passion for the bass guitar shines through in every note he plays.

Jesse Keeler playing the bass


In conclusion, the bass guitar scene is brimming with emerging talents who are revolutionizing the future of music. Artists such as Thundercat, Michael League, and Jesse Keeler are pushing the boundaries of bass playing, introducing innovative sounds that captivate audiences around the world.

These remarkable musicians showcase the versatility and extraordinary creative potential of the bass guitar, proving that great bass playing is far from being obsolete. With their unique styles and groundbreaking approaches, they continue to reinvent the instrument and inspire a new generation of bass players.

As we eagerly look forward to the future of music, we can anticipate being enthralled by the evolving bass guitar scene. The realm of bass playing is constantly evolving, and emerging talents are the driving force behind this exciting transformation. Their fresh perspectives and artistic contributions ensure that the bass guitar remains an integral part of innovative music genres.

So let us celebrate the emerging bass talents who boldly shape the future of music. Their mastery of the instrument demonstrates that the bass guitar is an instrument of limitless possibilities. With each new generation of talented bassists, the future of music becomes brighter, more vibrant, and more unforgettable.


Who are some emerging talents in bass guitar?

Some emerging talents in bass guitar include Thundercat, Michael League, and Jesse Keeler.

What is Thundercat known for in the music scene?

Thundercat is known for his contribution to the beat music/new jazz scene and his fusion of jazz and funk music.

How has Michael League influenced the music industry?

Michael League has influenced the music industry through his intricate bass playing and composition skills, as well as his fusion sounds with Snarky Puppy.

What is Jesse Keeler’s unique style as a bassist?

Jesse Keeler’s unique style as a bassist includes catchy hooks, danceable beats, and a distinctive fuzzed-out tone.

How are these emerging talents shaping the future of music?

These emerging talents are pushing the boundaries of bass playing, showcasing the versatility and creative potential of the bass guitar.

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Bass Punch is curated by a group of passionate guitarists and bassists, offering a wealth of informational content. This collective of experts shares their insights, techniques, and knowledge with readers, aiming to educate and inspire enthusiasts across all levels of proficiency. The blog serves as a hub for those seeking to deepen their understanding of bass and guitar, providing valuable resources and guidance from seasoned professionals in the field.