he’s continued to be very supportive of me.
I’ve been very fortunate to play on a couple
of his solo projects.
Bruce slides way up high on his signature Warwick Rio Rosewood Thumb NT during a Spectrum
Road jam early this year at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in
Oakland. Photo by Jerome Brunet
What would you say are each other’s
Reid: Jack brings an extraordinary passion
to things, and he’s able to access the entire
stylistic range of the bass, because he’s just
so incredibly knowledgeable. I love his take
on “There Comes a Time.” The interplay
between how he sings that and plays the
bass, and the way that allows space to open
up for my playing is just so lyrical.
He also has a great ability to reharmonize things and to create bass motion that
emerges as a distinct voice. In fact, the key
thing I always learn from my heroes—and
this certainly applies to Jack—is to stay
away from the “licks mentality,” where
it’s all about this lick and that lick, as if a
player is basically the sum of his licks.
I really prefer to think in terms of
the voice of these great players. With
the Lifetime stuff, I’ve found it useful to
think about playing things similar to the
original guys, but not the same things. The
reason I got into guitar to begin with was
that Carlos Santana’s guitar sounded like
a totally individual voice to me. It wasn’t
a collection of scales and licks—it had a
singularity, if you will. And sure, that sin-
gularity, as with all players, can be broken
down into its component parts—certain
tonalities and techniques.
Warwick Jack Bruce Rio Rose-
wood Thumb NT, Warwick Jack
Bruce JB3 Survivor, Gibson EB- 1
Hartke HA3500C head, Hartke
410XL and 115XL cabinets
SIT Rock Brights Nickel Medium
sets (.050–. 105)
because it’s going about 40 times faster than
anything human, you know? He’s definitely
not human, but he’s great!
Have there been any instances where you
guys surprised each other, musically?
Reid: Man, Jack just swings really hard. I
mean, in “Blues for Tillman”—one of the
originals on the record—he swings the doors
off! He’s got that amazing, behind-the-beat
swing. But the biggest surprise for me was
when he first sang in Scottish Gaelic on the
traditional song “An t-Eilean Muileach.” I
mean, that was a jaw-dropping and indelible
moment. I was totally gobsmacked.
Bruce: The very first time I played with
Vernon, we did a song of mine called “Life
and Earth,” and he was playing these bebop