Larry Graham Jr.

larry Graham.jpg

 He takes us all higher and higher by way of a method he simply refers to as “thumping ‘n’ plucking!” No player has invented and cultivated a bass technique that is as beloved and, unfortunately oft reviled due to its gross misuse over the years, as Larry Graham Jr. – the supreme and almighty creator of “slapping.”

Necessity is the mother of all popping – and as the ensemble that young Larry was working in with his mom, Dell Graham, lacked a proper percussionist, his thumb became a de-facto kick drum and his index finger assumed the role of the snare.

And the rest, as they say, is history as heard in Mr. Graham’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame tenure with the equally groundbreaking Sly & the Family Stone, and later as leader of his extraordinary solo vehicle Graham Central Station.

 Graham’s profound influence on soul, funk, disco and all the permutations thereof is incalculable – all of his work with Sly is unquestionably essential – and I highly recommend any compilation of GCS.

Larry, who is also a gifted songwriter, vocalist, showman, and traditional finger-player, yet his technique served the song first and foremost! Larry’s lines sing and dance – as do the generations who have heard since A Whole New Thing hit record stores in 1967.

Scores of bass “stars” pop faster and more furious – but to my ears, none slap superior, or more soulful than the originator – Larry Graham Jr.