Grant wrote:so here's the thing about phil's playing, and it's just my opinion, but this is how i see it
phil's playing style lends itself to making mistakes and getting away with it. i'm not discounting his proficiency, but he can get away with making mistakes where other players never could.
it's mainly because he knows that it's not the note you play, it's the note you play after it. there are many many recordings of phil where i think "he really didn't mean to go to that note", but then he resolves it and moves right along. it's particularly on important beats - lets say the one for example - where the whole band hits the root and he hits something else and the moves to the one on say the one-and.
now i realise this is part of his style, and phil is anything but one of those bass players that sticks to the root (and i like that), but i do think he covers up a lot more than we realise
I agree and disagree with this assessment. You can't, for example, get away with playing the V chord where the IV chord is supposed to be, or the IV instead of the I, and make it sound smooth or purposeful. On the other hand, you do have to be constantly searching for ways to connect the chords together or ornament them in interesting ways - and sometimes the interesting connections that you reach for do fall on their face.
So to me, Phil mistakes are more of the "I tried something new and it didn't work" variety than the "oh crap, what are the chords" variety, if that makes sense.