I don't think I'm selling Marcus short. He's incredible...just not AS incredible as Jaco and Wooten in that genre. Victor is a genius IMO, and does things that nobody else would try, or even THINK to try. I saw him on television recently playing (solo) Amazing Grace...harmonically syncopating, filling, and chording...it WAS amazing.
See, this is interesting, since you're like Marcus fan #1 I know lol. I personally don't think Wooten's style is as distinctive as Marcus's, and that counts for a lot in my mind. Not counting soloing here, since anyone can be super creative with soloing if they think about it enough. (And to be fair Wooten has indeed done more for the art of bass soloing than anyone in a long long time, and deserves a hell of a lot of credit for that)
I was supporting Macca for top ten back in the days when hardly anyone here saw him that high.
Oh, I remember those days! Wack times
That said...his exposure as a Beatle has a lot to do with his popularity. Check out songwriting lists and forums and you'll find tons of people naming John Lennon as the GREATEST songwriter who ever lived. George Harrison is believed by a lot of folks as the MOST significant lead guitarist of all time. Even Ringo gets credit likely far beyond his actual proficiency on drums when technically compared to others. Being a Beatle automatically gets you points in impact and influence since so many people have been exposed to the music...admittedly great stuff...but the fine line between popularity and actual musical influence and impact can blur at times. Sit Macca down in a room with Tony Levin, Freddie Washington, and Victor Wooten...count off 1-2-3-4 on some shit and just let them all play and I seriously doubt that Macca will come out on top in virtually anybodys opinion, so long as the judges are blindfolded.
Thing is tho, Macca innovated and invented a new approach to bass, period. He was the starter of the 'subtle melodic touches' thing, that whole school of playing. Him being in the Beatles has nothing to do with that. He also was one of the very first creative rock bassists ever. He's oft imitated never replicated playing wise. He's one of the most distinctive bassists ever.
What you're saying about improv ability isn't relevant very much to the list imo. Actually I'm continually amazed at how unintuitive chord changes in Beatle music is. He also has displayed he can do walking lines with songs like All My Loving. I reckon he's among the most capable of the famous rock guys EVER in terms of knowing the different intervals in the different keys, etc on bass, by heart with his hands.
Speaking of McCartney...
When rating bassists you have to compare them to their peers. Compared to other bassists of the 60"s McCartney compares favorably with only Jamerson, Bogert and possibly Bruce coming out ahead. The more modern bassists have their predecessors to build off of. Wooten is a genius but again he built off of what Jaco did who of course learned from those that came before him. I consider Jaco a greater bass player than Wooten not because he was a better or more skilled player, he wasn't, but because compared to his contemporaries and those who came before he was stylistically and creatively far more advanced than Wooten is compared to his contemporaries. As far as advancing the art of playing bass and the impact he had on those that followed Jaco is IMO equal to Jamerson. In interviews by players from Wooten, Will Lee, Geddy Lee, Marcus Miller, Steve Bailey, and several others I've read they admire Jaco as a Bass God.
I would say Macca and Jamerson are tied. Macca beats Bruce as good as that dude is. Don't know Bogert well enough yet but my impression was that he was inferior to Macca, though still absolutely brilliant. (Saying someone is inferior creativity wise to Macca is hardly a dig!)
I do not consider Wooten a genius -- highly creative in terms of unaccompanied playing, an innovator, yes. But I really reserve the term 'genius' for a small group!
I keep wondering whether Jaco should be #1 on the eventual all genre bassists list on this subforum (a list I'm not concerned with working on right now, fwiw...this list is more important right now). It's a painful thing to think about
I suppose my point is that we really didn't know a LOT of bassists in the 60's in rock when compared to lead singers, guitarists, and even some drummers. It was post Jamerson (and few even knew his name back then since he wasn't in a known band) when bassists started getting noted for their musical contributions to the bands and ensembles after breaking out of the strictly supporting role in rock...since a lot of the bassists in 60's bands were often nothing more than the worst guitar player in the band who were assigned the role of "trying" to hold down the bottom. Entwistle is one of those who (pardon the pun), people began to recognise as contributing to the importance of the bass as an intregal part of the ensemble when given the opportunity to stretch and perform, and that began in the 60's...with My Generation being the fuse to many people.
I wasn't around back then obviously, but...
I agree - you've proven rather thoroughly and respectably, going back to the 2005 incarnation of the DDD forum - that Jamerson was the 'Big Bang' for creative rock bass playing, period. That's the reason he'll ALWAYS be #1 on this list, btw.
'My Generation' was no doubt one of the HUGE evolutionary steps in rock bass but 'tis the only thing John did in the 60s decade on that level, I think, in terms of being a big deal. He absolutely exploded in '70, '71 though. But ehh another part of me says that he already was innovating a lot in the 60s, his style hadn't reached maturity yet but he was already playing, as early as the first Who album (the one with My Generation on it), a distinctive and original country/western/'twang'-influenced style.