While watching some YouTube clips of one of the greatest guitarists ever – Wes Montgomery – I became aware of the band’s bass player: Arthur Harper, unknown to me until watching this footage, taken at Wes’ concert tour in 1965 in Europe. But not knowing his name is probably just my fault: he played with the Charlie Parker All Stars, vocalist Betty Carter, pianist Bud Powell, and was part of J.J. Johnson’s world-traveling sextet for many years. He passed away in 2004.
His playing is very interesting, so I really wonder why his name lacks wider recognition.
But the first thing that attracted my attention was Harper’s weird left arm position. His left forearm is almost parallel to the neck at the beginning of his solo – something that is widely considered as a very bad habit. He also stands very close to the bass, leaning over it while keeping his back upright.
Probably, I should have listened to him first, rather than watching him. I really dig his playing, and the whole band is just amazing.