Last night I got an invite to see Leonard Cohen at the O2 arena in London. He might be in his mid 70’s, but he still gave a performance with more standing ovations than I could count. He had a great band behind him, but obviously I was watching the bassist carefully.
Roscoe Beck played on electric bass, fretless and upright. I’d not heard Roscoe before, for which I was roundly scolded by the fellow musician with me. Roscoe Beck has produced a number of tutorial videos, including: Blues Foundations, Beginning Blues Bass, Volumes 1 & 2, and has been a regular contributor to Bass Player magazine. He’s even had two signature Fender basses created for him, the Roscoe Beck Signature Five-String Bass and the Roscoe Beck Signature Four-String.
OK, so I had heard of his name. As well as Leonard Cohen, he has recorded with Robben Ford, Jennifer Warnes, and played with Joe Satriani and (stand back while the thin-stringed guys stream). That gives you an idea of his high level of talent on the bass.
He has played on or co-produced at total of five Cohen albums to date, and is the musical director for Cohen’s current tour, as well as bassist and vocalist. He held down a solid bottom end through the 3 hour concert, with some very eloquent fretless playing, and rock solid fretted playing. One thing I noticed was that the upright Roscoe played on a few of the songs looked like an Upright Bass with a lined fretboard. Not see one of those before.
When he is not on the road, Roscoe appears most Tuesday nights at the legendary blues nightclub Antone’s, as bass player in the famed Antone’s house band. A talented bassist very worth checking out.