Bassist Walter Page's Influence on Freddie Green
Jazz historian Loren Schoenberg provides insight on Freddie's style of rhythm guitar.
Publication: Liner notes for "Count Basie - The Columbia
Years" (4 CD Set)
Editor's Preface: Perhaps the most unique aspect of Freddie
Green's rhythm guitar style is his creation of a moving melodic line on
the 4th string. This melodic line created a counterpoint to the bass line.
The excerpt below sheds light on where this concept likely originated.
"The Basie band's rhythm section was simply one of the best in the entire history of jazz. The man truly responsible for the concept that led to this era of musical miracles was neither the leader [Count Basie] nor the band's resident genius, Lester Young. It was the bassist Walter Page (1900-1957) who had developed a unique approach that managed to sustain the spontaneity of a jazz small group within the confines of a larger ensemble."
"In 1918, shortly after graduating [high school], the young bassist joined pianist Bennie Moten's orchestra and during five years there continued formal studies of piano, voice, violin, saxophone, composition, and arranging at the University of Kansas in Lawrence."
"The spark for the whole concept [employed by the Basie rhythm section] came from the bassist. Indeed, the other members of Basie's famous rhythm section - guitarist Freddie Green, drummer Jo Jones, and the pianist himself - all have credited Page with teaching them how they should play their instruments in order to realize what he was hearing in his head. It began with bringing the volume down and intensity up, giving them the space in which to create the meshing of timbres that resulted in one organic, indivisible whole. Later there would be the pacing of the performance, and the counterpoint of the bass lines, as well as the way the rhythm section made it sound as if they were breathing the beat..."
"Not content to maintain one pattern throughout an entire performance, Page taught Basie and Jones (and later guitarist Freddie Green) to think orchestrally and in terms of counterpoint."