“40 minutes of bass solos just ain’t going to work for me”: Meshell Ndgeocello on why she could never be as solo-orientated as Jaco Pastorius

Meshell Ndegeocello performs during the Festival Jazz A La Villette 2011 at Cite de la Musique on September 3, 2011 in Paris, France.
(Image credit: Photo by Samuel Dietz/Redferns)

Meshell Ndegeocello has written, recorded and collaborated on music that crosses all genres – among them hip-hop, jazz, psychedelia and heart-on-sleeve rock. From the breakthrough success of her 1993 debut, Plantation Lullabies, to her latest release for Blue Note Records, her skills as a multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer come to the fore in each of her one-person productions. Yet in the studio the bass guitar remains her first port of call.

”I always get the bass and the drums together first and then slowly add things in,” Ndegeocello told BP. "I feel if the bass and drums aren’t working well together then anything you put on top won’t even matter. People want to hear the groove, and the bass is both the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of that.”

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.