Berlin may not 'believe in' slapping as a rule, but he had no qualms about laying down one of the more famous slap-bass tracks in prog/fusion -- the magnificent 'Five G' off Bruford's 'One of a Kind' album.
I couldn't disagree more with the e-mailer who said it was a terrible show. It was probably one of the best. It was a warm summer night, out door ampi-theatre, San Diego State. The band was on fire. I'll admit I wanted to see Tony Levin, but as I recall, they got Jeff Berlin on the spur of the momment, and he played flawlessly- I mean note for note like the albums. The sound quality was the best I ever heard, before or since- not like those crappy stadiums. Jon was sounding great, but as usual, Rick stole the show- That guy can play! I'll write again with a review from Seattle 2002. Yes Rocks
Biffy the Elephant Shrew
At the San Diego show, my friends and I were asking one another: "Is that Jeff Berlin? That looks like Jeff Berlin!"...but only got confirmation by reading a newspaper review the next day.
My wife Carla and I and another couple Jay and Joanne started our ABWH vacation in San Diego at the amphitheater on the either San Diego State or UCSD campus not sure. We were very shocked not to see Tony Levin and I would say it was the worst show I've seen the band do....understandably so.
Mahavishnu Chris Farley
Erdogan Kemal Slater couldn't recall the name of the famous jazz bassist who sat in on the ABWH tour for Tony Levin, who had fallen ill. Indeed, when it became obvious that Levin could not continue to tour, Bill Bruford phoned his long-time partner Jeff Berlin, who formed the other half of the monstrous rhythm section on all of Bruford's solo albums. Berlin, being one of the most arrogant bassists in the world (but RIGHTFULLY so), sat down and learned ABWH's entire set in a matter of hours. Most of the material he had never heard. The reason for the lack of a Bruford/Berlin jam, I suspect, is not because of Berlin's lack of competence, but his lack of desire. For a musician of such high ability, Jeff Berlin's bass style is remarkably subdued. He doesn't believe in slapping, plucking or otherwise abusing his instrument, and he certainly never uses a fretless bass. "Those are cheap ways a lot of bassists create a sound for themselves. I pride myself on technique," he says. Berlin's key is CHORDS, and he once rightfully boasted that "there is no bassist in the world who does what I do with chords."