John Entwistle's flamboyant playing redefined the role of the bass player in a rock band. Weaving contrapuntal lines and virtuosic fluorishes while providing a solid foundation became an Entwistle hallmark.
Born 9th October 1944, Entwistle and childhood friend Pete Townshend started playing in bands together while both were in their teens. A chance meeting with Roger Daltrey as Entwistle was carrying his home-made bass in the street eventually led to the inception of The Detours, with Townshend and drummer Keith Moon. The band later re-named themselves The Who, and another chapter in the history of rock was created.
In this vid, Entwistle's Alembic bass is on an isolated track. And while this is not a solo per se, certainly the sheer inventiveness of his playing is immediately apparent, with every whoop, slide and 16th note fluorish perfectly in place. It was almost like Entwistle approached his role in The Who from the perspective of a second soloist, providing the perfect counterpoint to Pete Townshend's percussive rhythm guitar.
But what I find really amazing is how great his time is, despite this being an isolated bass track and an onstage live recording.
This reminds me of the eye-opening revelation that was Mitch Mitchell's drumming when Hendrix's material was first re-mastered in 1997 -- his kickdrum footwork, previously buried in the mix, came to the fore in all its extraordinary complexity and precision.
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