Bill Banwell reveals the album that’s helped shape his career.

Album: Erykah Badu Live
Artist: Erykah Badu
Label: Kedar, Universal
Released: 1997
Standout Track: Otherwise of the Game

Currently performing with Rag’n’Bone Man in support of his upcoming debut album, Bill Banwell has been a busy man over the past few years while establishing himself on the UK and international bass scene with acts ranging from Kelis to The Hoosiers. So what album does he chart among his favourite bass performances?

“This album is one of my all-time favourites, and it’s a live album! I first heard it 10 years ago and I was totally stunned by how tight the bass player sat with the drummer. The bass is pushed right up to the top of the mix, so you can hear every single note, including all the subtleties. It’s a complete lesson in groove (the rhythm section is Hubert Eaves IV on bass and Poogie Bell on kit) and it oozes pocket, space and feel. Take the song “Tyrone” for example, every beat on the kick drum is perfectly matched by a note on the bass. It just sounds so incredibly tight. The space they leave creates just as much impact.”

“The whole record had a huge influence on my playing. Everything from my overall feel, how I dial in my tone and how I go about locking in with a drummer came from this album. Plus things like note choice, note length and how to use slides. Hubert switches between slap and fingerstyle on “Stay” and the consistency in volume is noticeably strong, which is rare to hear. I find myself going back to this record on a weekly basis just to try and get to grips with this level of musicianship and soul. I urge every bassist (and drummer!) to give it a listen.”

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