John Morton

My first instrument is a 1979 Wal fretless strung with with 20-year-old half-rounds, held together with string and chewing-gum; my second, an unhygenically filthy 1979 fretted Music Man strung with slightly newer roundwounds; my third, a rather more recent (sadly) and cleaner (also sadly) Fender Precision, set up according to the James Jamerson prescription with LaBella flatwounds and a chunk of foam under the pickup cover. I use Eden amplification. I hate effects, though I do use a Mu-tron with the Music Man if things are heading in that direction.

Can't read/won't read - so I improvise a lot. But I don't keep you waiting while I flip through The Fake Book trying to find a version of 'Blue Bossa' with the wrong chords. I reckon I must know about seven thousand tunes ranging from trad, swing and bebop through the so-called 'jazz' standards to soul (I know a hell of a lot of Motown tunes) and funk. I think in relative pitch rather than absolute, so odd keys (for singers) are okay.

I write a lot too - next to none of it, quite deliberately, in the style of 'jazz' , because I think that jazz is a verb and it's the performers' job to make any sort of music into jazz through their performance. It's a bit of a swiz if you, the writer, do that for them. I live in Bristol, but I currently play mainly in Cardiff - because electric bass is still considered illegitimate by the Jazz Mafia in Bristol - with Ben Thomas (tpt) and James Chadwick (gtr), Greg Evans (drums), Chloe Heywood (vocs) and Jim Barber (pno), Dave Jones (pno), and the maestro, Antonio Amaral (pno), amongst others. Also my old mate, violinist Graham Clark (see under: 'violin') when he's around.

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