Fifty-one years since being discovered by Miles Davis, Holland’s global influence cutting across a swathe of post-bop styles remains immense. The beating heart of In a Silent Way. Pick out his work with Kenny Wheeler for later thrills. Still a force to be reckoned with especially on 2018’s UnchartedTerritories and the brand new Good Hope with Zakir Hussain and Chris Potter.
2 Esperanza Spalding Breakthrough bassist/vocalist Spalding has rewritten the rulebook in terms of what a 21st century bassist can do.
3 Marcus Miller Fusing jazz, soul, and African music Miller’s sound whether heard as far back as Tutu with Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, or more recently on Laid Black is instantly recognisable.
4 John Patitucci With a solo reputation for leading his own bands and making his own records nonetheless it’s for his role in the Wayne Shorter quartet that has defined the technically accomplished US bassist’s career over many years now.
5 Reid Anderson As a member of one of the leading small groups in contemporary jazz in The Bad Plus bassist Anderson has an eclectic approach influenced by jazz, rock and classical approaches that appeals to a new generation exploring jazz often for the first time.
6 Larry Grenadier Best known for his work with Brad Mehldau and the Fly trio Grenadier thrives on a riff, his impossibly woody sound cornering tricksy rhythms with consummate ease.
7 Arild Andersen Playing Cork this autumn. Was part of the history making Triptykon.
8 Ron Carter Elegant and refined, the heir in some ways to Ray Brown, Carter was the bassist in the Miles Davis “second great quintet” fact enough to be included in this list. He is still leading bands to this day, and is a regular visitor to Ronnie Scott’s.
9 Stanley Clarke Hugely influential from Return to Forever and George Duke days and in demand as a movie composer.
10 Cecil McBee The Forest Flower bassist. Need I go on? OK, yep McBee is on the title track of Journey in Satchidananda too.
11 Richard Bona The Cameroonian with the jaw-dropping bass guitar technique and unique vocal style, jazz, African music and a sense of improvisational adventure all roll into one.
12 Reuben Rogers The Charles Lloyd and Joshua Redman bassist has some of the best chops in jazz as at ease with free-jazz as straightahead.
13 Gary Peacock Avant gardist by reputation and also the ultimate standards bassist for many years with Keith Jarrett.
14 Linda May Han Oh Adventurous chamber-jazz stylist globally known through touring with Pat Metheny, already with a formidable track record of achievement on her own genre-busting records.
15 Dan Berglund He reached a huge global fanbase with EST and now leads his own group Tonbruket. Look out for Rymden.
16 Thomas Morgan Big toned US bassist known for his work with Tomasz Stańko, he’s a revelation with Jakob Bro.
17 Richard Davis As well known as an educator as for his appearance on some classic records Richard Davis’ big sound has decorated albums as influential in very different ways as Astral Weeks and Out to Lunch.
18 Christian McBride Straightahead heaven from the Oscar Pettiford influenced James Brown loving Philadelphian.
19 Avishai Cohen Hugely athletic bassist Cohen thrives on leading from the back. Bassist, and occasionally vocalist, as showman par excellence.
20 Henry Grimes Avant god. Ayler, Cecil Taylor, another time, another place. Lost now found.
Scott Flanigan to release Clouded Lines
“The album,” the Belfast scene pianist, composer and organist Scott Flanigan, pictured above second from right, says, asked about his latest plans “will be called Clouded Lines, and it’s named after the suite of music co-commissioned by Moving On Music and the PRS Foundation. After a successful tour of Ireland in March, it’s now ready to be recorded. The suite, in three parts, was written with guitarist Ant Law in mind, and reflects an interest in hard swinging jazz… with a few noisier tunes in there too. The rest of the band includes two of Ireland’s finest rhythm section players: Dave Redmond on the bass and Kevin Brady on the drums.”