Willie Weeks’ Transcription – “What’s Goin On”

Donny Hathaway’s Live album which features Willie Weeks on bass has been a favourite of mine ever since I heard it. Weeks’ performance on this album is a masterclass in funk and soul bass playing. Reminiscent of the great James Jamerson, his bass lines flow with creativity and rhythmic sophistication. Weeks’ link to Jamerson is heightened even further with the bands version of What’s Goin On, which of course contains Jamerson’s now famous bass line. Week’s expands upon Jamerson’s original motifs and makes the bass line his own. Willie Weeks is truly a master. 

This project took many many months to complete. The transcription has been through many edits and with each one it got closer to the original. I found this transcription very difficult and time consuming, but ultimately very rewarding. I have attached a play-along track recorded for the purpose of learning this bass line, as I find playing along with the actual recording can sometimes cover up mistakes in your playing. I found this to be true when recording the play-along. Getting every single 16th note passage to swing hard without rushing proved very difficult. 

Feel free to contact me if you would like a pdf of the transcription or a copy of the play-along track. I hope you get as much enjoyment from this bass line as I do. Willie Week's Bassline to What's Goin On from Donny Hathaway LIVE_0001Willie Week's Bassline to What's Goin On from Donny Hathaway LIVE_0002Willie Week's Bassline to What's Goin On from Donny Hathaway LIVE_0003   Here is the play-along track I recorded on my Jazz bass strung with flats (yes i know I should have used a p bass!!!)

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