"After it was tuned up, he started a drone, with the small E string ringing against thirds and fifths of the B and G. Every fourth measure he would throw in a flatted seventh, giving it just enough dissonance to make it sound mean. I picked up the bass, turned up the volume, and felt my way into it. I started out pumping muted eighth notes on the root, then picked up on the flatted sevenths, noticing a nice effect when I played a ninth on top of KC’s fifths, and threw that in every other bar. The guitarist gave no clue that he had noticed my contribution, but I knew he had. He expected it. I was his bass player."
One of the very nice things Sublett does is describe music — not necessarily the Lester Bangs critical description of a song and its subjective reception — but instead the technical, mechanical interplay of working musicians. There are very few novelistic descriptions like this, really; most come in books about jazz players, and most very quickly become flowery or abstract. Sublett’s character instead knows his very small world very well, and is able to describe it in the terms of that world, the rhythm and blues he plays and the world of clubs and rehearsal halls he plays in.
Bantam Dell 04.89 (and very out-of-print)