Adolescent boys couldn't help noticing the name of this dependable bassist in the wake of James Bond becoming a superhero in the '60s.
did not drive an Aston-Martin, however; nor did he attend morning briefings on newly developed weaponry. When he attended a conference, it was no doubt to get a recording session started. The talk would have been about what key a song is in or how quickly it should move, hardly the stuff of international intrigue. But the main reason these aforementioned lads were noticing the Bond name in the first place was because this was a bassist who shifted his talents from the jazz bandstand to the recording studio, perhaps out of necessity but with great skill and subtlety nonetheless.
Bond started playing bass in junior high school in Philadelphia. While only so much interest can be generated with accounts of a player's high school days, in this case the details include jamming with the likes of Gene Ammons
and Charlie Parker
. Starting in the summer of 1955, the bassist was working with the extremely popular trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker
, a connection that by itself resulted in dozens of record releases. Still, this Baker
's rolls could be removed from the discographical oven and Bond would still have enough credits to fill the bread truck. He went on to backup the great jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald
in 1956 and 1957, but in the '60s he began to break away from what had seemed to be his genre of choice.
The Bond studio recordings of the '60s and '70s involved sessions with Randy Newman
, the Jazz Crusaders
, Phil Spector
, and Fred Neil
, among others. Bond was one of few studio players who shunned the electric bass and his studio involvements included many highly experimental moments. The bassist shows up on early Tim Buckley
recordings as well as Frank Zappa
's frightening Lumpy Gravy
album. But perhaps most experimental of all are the recordings with Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins
; the attempt to couple the latter artist's eccentric, irregular blues stanzas with Bond's delicate swing would make even the spy James Bond drive off the road. This bassist is at his best with performers for whom a combined jazz and blues feel is essential, including Jimmy Witherspoon
and Nina Simone