This depends on what you want to test about the bass. If you are looking for how well your system reproduces the sound of live, acoustic bass-register instruments, then a great thing to use is the opening of Wagner's opera, Das Rheingold.
"Night fight" from Crouching Tiger hidden Dragon. Wonderful test of dynamic range. The very deepest, tight, high impact bass from a tympany drum vs the hi pitch click of sticks that wiil make you jump and savor it at same time.
This is incredible for bass-testing or simply listening:
Artist: Anouar Brahen. Recording: The Astounding Eyes of Rita.
Anouar plays the oud; Klaus Gesing,bass clarinet; Björn Meyer, bass; Khaled Yassine, drums of various tpes. I stumbled across this via YouTube. Track #5 was playing in the background of a Rega turntable "ad". Thought it was just beautiful, sent a note to the audio shop. Best music/musician discovery in a long time for me.
Paula Cole, 1st song on This Fire album "Tiger". Soundtrack from the first Pirates of the Carribean movie. Better tack down mammas antiques when these two play. They both also hit both ends of the sonic spectrum and will put your system to the test. Have fun, John
Lots of great suggestions. I will need to look up some of these. If I remember correctly Sumiko recommends a Bob Wasserman CD/LP with Jennifer Warnes called Duets for setting up speakers but I think the Donald Fagen SCAD of " Morph the cat" may be my favorite.
Opera: Rigoletto, Act 1 scene 2, duet with Rigoletto and Sparafucile (the Baritone) "vecchio maledivami"
Pagliacci, End of act 1, the instrumental conclusion after the aria "Vesti la giubba". It ends on a low note, setting the tone for things to come in act II.
Jazz: Kind of Blue, blue in green, Paul Chambers concludes the track by playing the bass with a bow. This is only really evident on a system with tight bass.
Electronic: Shuttle, Tunnel, on Ninja Tune records. This is a slowed down drum and bass style (UK grime without the rapping) track.
Pop/Rock: Sarah Mclachlan, on the Album surfacing, the track "I love you". The baseline is very low and has tendency to come accross very muddled (if at all) on poorly set-up systems.
Blue Rodeo, 5 days in May. Featuring Sarah McLachlan on back-up vocals (not that this is relevant).
Hip-hop: Digable Planets, their second Album, the track "Cool Like That". There is a second baseline (accent) that only comes in at certain points, again it is low frequency and is not apparent on most systems. It plays over the main baseline, so it has tendancy to get lost if the system cannot provided sufficent low end definition (more of a room thing really).
Well those are my picks.
I can't wait to check out Learsfools Wagner suggestion.
"Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" Bela Fleck, I imagine is from the Fleck Tones which would feature Victor Wooten on Bass. I suggest any of Vic's own stuff. "Yin-Yang" is an excellent well rounded double album. He does an incredible version of Coltrane's Niama on his album "What Did He Say". I am a BIG fan and have his Fodera Bass.