WHEN YOU HEAR a good jazz bass player and then one who isn't so good, part of the difference can be to do with projection and precision. The good one may make a bigger sound, but it isn't just about volume – it's as if each note is sharpened to a point, so it seems to have more of a cutting edge, and its pitch is clear and true. This is essential to give the bass a strong rhythmic role, but also in order that its lower notes don't lose definition and sound muddy and blurred – a big problem with plucked, or pizzicato, playing on the instrument.
Larry Bartley uses a fingering technique that adds a rhythmic emphasis to the way he sounds a note. It's particularly useful in situations where he's playing in a duet with a soloist, without the help of a drummer's rhythmic punch.