Rufus Philpot’s pioneering fusion of jazz and instrumental rock has made him a bass great. We find out how he did it.
Used to describe a myriad of different styles and notoriously difficult to play, it’s fair to say that the term ‘jazz fusion’ has garnered its fair share of bad press over the years. Nevertheless, the genre has presented a number of bass players with an opportunity to develop a more virtuosic and technically progressive approach to how the instrument is traditionally played. And in case anybody still thought that there was an ‘easy’ route into such specialised music, then any amount of corporate brick walls built right across your intended plans should convince you otherwise, even if you possess the ridiculous amount of talent and experience of fusionist supreme Rufus Philpot.
Luckily, like all the best modern players, Rufus takes his influences from a wide range of musical genres. “If you can dig Andy Fraser’s bass playing as well as Jaco or Anthony Jackson, then I think you’re going to get more out of music and be a better bass player than if you were just an Anthony Jackson fanatic.”
Whether laying down complex grooves or playing over expansive chord sequences, Rufus maintains the same mindset with his bass playing. “I genuinely love to play different styles of music,” he tells us. “I could probably just play jazz licks in some bands, but I want to really play the music and try to be authentic.”