Jamie Faunt

In memory of Jamie Faunt (1949-2013)

Love & appreciation for your inspiring Bass playing and for putting the exquisite
Bottom End in "The Bottom End" (Get Off The Ground)".
Magical journeys to you Jamie....***

The Bass player on "Get off the Ground"
(The Bottom End)

Jamie Faunt is the mystery bass player that was featured on "The Bottom End." He is actually the only musician from the track that I was already very familiar with. This was through his work with the legendary pianist Chick Corea on albums such as "Tap Step", and "The Mad Hatter".

On "Tap Step," Jamie played Piccolo Bass on "The Slide," which was huge on the UK jazz dance scene. This "dark" samba featured jazz giants Airto Moreira (Cuica), and Don Alias (Iya Drums).

Chick Corea's "Mad Hatter Rhapsody" was another tune that was popular on the jazz dancers club scene, as well as "Dear Alice" that was taken from the same album (The Mad Hatter). What made it so special was Herbie Hancock's collaboration with Corea, as the two giants of the keyboards are rarely featured together on tracks like this. The bass player Bunny Brunel's "Latin", was another great track that was played for the dancers, featuring Hancock and Corea, many years ago in the jazz clubs.

Incidentally, "The Mad Hatter Rhapsody" always reminded me of the "Get off the Ground", as there are similarities in the arrangements. There are long keyboards solos before Gayle Moran comes in at the end unexpectedly on vocals, singing the story in a sweet melancholic way that is similar to Valli Scavelli's "breakdown" on the "Get off the Ground". Chick Corea's other composition "The Musician," also has a similar arrangement where the drummer plays a Latin rhythm that switches into a straight-ahead tempo. After many solos, and a lengthy "jam," Gayle Moran comes in again unexpectedly, as her vocals tell a story.

The "Get off the Ground" was the earliest of these recordings, and was revolutionary for its time. Obviously the fact that it was recorded Direct to Disc during the period when M&K Sound were first producing audiophile records using this concept, created a uniqueness within the sound itself, let alone its musical content. When I listened to the track over the years, I always said that there was something very "Chick Corea" about the tune, so when Don Baaska told me that Jamie Faunt was the bass player, this confirmed why I had that notion.

Faunt has a very special way of playing the bass, and this is a sound that Chick has incorporated in his music for many years, through various bass players. Jamie has a uniqueness within his playing that was utilized on the "Get off the Ground." He had met Don and Valli in California, and played with them a few times, and was also working with Chick Corea during this period. Don Baaska gave him a lead sheet of "Get off the Ground" as a reference, before they jammed to "get used to the changes." Baaska said, "Jamie had no trouble keeping up."

It is very rare to hear a tune where all the musicians made an equal contribution to the track. For some people it is Valli's vocals that make the track so special, for others it is Ken's drumming or Baaska's keyboards, and then there are those who talk about Jamie's bass playing. For me, what makes Jamie's performance so special is the character within his playing.

The very first notes in the introduction of his solo show such confidence, as he takes control of the tune. This in itself is admirable considering the fact that he is playing the tune for the very first time. His crowning moment is when he takes the songs "main theme" (or vamp), and plays with it in such a cheeky, child-like manner, revealing his personality.

The collaboration between Jamie Faunt and Ken Park on drums during the bass solo is very dynamic, with great background support from Baaska. The electric bass accompanied by Fender Rhodes and drums, gave the tune a very unique, and raw sound. Faunt is also very proficient on acoustic bass. I was more familiar hearing him on acoustic bass than electric, so this was very special.

On the "Get off the Ground", he plays the electric bass with the characteristics of an acoustic. Valli Scavelli had said, " I don't remember anything intellectual about the M&K "Get off the Ground" session." This is evident in Jamie, and the rest of the bands playing, for they are very relaxed and free. As Valli said to me, "We were just having fun!"

Since "The Bottom End" Test Disc was made to demonstrate M&K Sound's new Direct-to-Disc recording technology, as well as the latest "Bottom End" speakers, the bass playing on "Get off the Ground" was ideal for displaying the subwoofers. Jamie Faunt is not just a renowned bassist, for he is an accomplished composer, as well as a pianist and session leader. Jamie is also the founder of "The Faunt School Of Creative Music" which he formed in 1975. He is the author of all the courses that take place within its establishment.

As a music educator, it has been said that Jamie Faunt is quite exceptional, as he has a great ability to communicate the most complex musical theories in a way where any student (including beginners) can learn, and apply within their own development of playing. His professional career is one that any musician would be proud of. He has worked with many other artists that have contributed to the dance floors of our English jazz scene. These include; Stanley Clarke, John Klemmer, Paul Horn, Michael Brecker, Gato Barbieri, Dave Holland, Bunny Brunel, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Don Ellis, and Al Jarreau.

Jamie has also played in symphony orchestras, and performed or recorded with The Paul Winter Consort, Charles Lloyd, Benny Molson, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Mac Davis, Tim Weisberg, Lightnin' Hopkins The Dells, Donny Osmond, Liza Minnelli, and many other well known artists. Like all the remarkable musicians who were part of the famous "Bottom End" recording, Jamie Faunt's contribution was priceless.

In a strange way, I was glad that Baaska and Scavelli were artists that I was not familiar with, because this made so much sense why "The Bottom End" was such a mystery for so many years. However, in the case of Jamie Faunt it was actually good to discover that the unknown bass player on "Get off the Ground," was already connected to our scene.

Jamie Faunt is an exceptional bass player. He continues to share his passion, and knowledge of music with those that wish to learn from "The Faunt," within his school of Creative Music. Many students have benefited from his teachings, as there are countless testimonies from those who have attended his school, and have incorporated his theories, enabling them to develop, and excel in music. For those of us who embraced "The Bottom End/Get off the Ground" on the dance floor, we applaud Jamie Faunt, for he communicated something very special to us through his outstanding playing. Thank you Jamie Faunt, for putting "THE BOTTOM END" in The Bottom End.


Copyright 2006 © Seymour Nurse