Transcription: Slam Stewart “I Got Rhythm”

by Hannah Dexter, bass

Slam Stewart is often forgotten when we think of virtuosic bass players. Although he came to prominence at the same time, Jimmy Blanton is credited with changing the way bass players solo, maybe due to how difficult Stewart’s classically trained style is to emulate. Although he spent one year at Boston Conservatory, studying orchestra repertoire under Jean Lemaire of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, his tone, intonation, and agility on the upright burns through countless classical players’ technique. No one can make tremolos and trills sound as tense and uplifting as this man.

Keep in Mind

1) Play this singing and bowing, at the same time, all the time.

2) Tear apart each phrase and practice them isolated. At nauseam.

3) Try playing it with someone comping ¼ notes. It’s insane.

4) Play with joy. Slam Stewart does not have a sad sound in his bass or in his voice.

5) The recording of this song is tuned a little high. It’s been verified that the original key is Bb.

Download the PDF here: Slam Stewart I Got Rhythm – Bass

Swing sisters, swing!
– The Jazz Girls