The ten best jazz bassists of all time

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7. Charlie Haden An integral part of Ornette Coleman's early groups, Charlie Haden played an important role in the development of free jazz, while also being an extremely competent and intuitive player. While his playing and writing with the large ensemble Liberation Music Orchestra, as well as his output with Keith Jarrett's group is stellar, his duo recordings are great, as well, namely Beyond the Missouri Sky with guitarist Pat Metheny and Nightfall with pianist John Taylor.

6. Scott LaFaro Just 25 when he died in a car accident in 1961, Scott LaFaro showed an early proficiency on the bass after taking it up at the age of 18, just before starting at Ithaca College. A weeks into his sophomore year, LaFaro hit the road with Buddy Morrow, but left the band in Los Angeles, and then went on to play with Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, Cal Tjader and Ornette Coleman. LaFaro is probably best known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio over the last few years of the bassist's life. His playing on Evans's Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby is just remarkable.

5. Victor Wooten While Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke were major innovators in the electric bass, Victor Wooten has been a vital pace-setter on the instrument with his virtuosic playing and his two-handed approach. From his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones in the early '90s to his solo releases over the last seventeen years, Wooten has shown he's clearly huge force in the electric bass. His outstanding 1996 debut, A Show of Hands, is just one document of just how far Wooten can take the bass.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon