Mike Montgomery first heard Stanley Clarke’s I Wanna Play For You and soon after heard Weather Report’s Heavy Weather (with Jaco Pastorius). That was all it took for him to want to switch from clarinet to bass. After a 15 year break from music, he stared up again.
Mike is No Treble’s reader in the spotlight for the week of April 27, 2015. Here’s his story.
My serious study began in jazz combo classes at Virginia Tech. I took some double bass lessons in college to get into the jazz band, a goal that I never achieved. After graduation, I took a 15 year hiatus from music before joining a jazz band masterclass program in Washington, D.C. It was through that program that I met other aspiring jazz musicians and within months, I landed a jazz brunch gig at a restaurant in Baltimore, MD. I had no band when I took the gig, but I quickly formed a quartet, which I kept together for approximately a year. I’ve since had the privilege of playing with some of D.C.’s best jazz musicians.
Retired police investigator now working as a Supervisory Criminal Investigator for the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer in Washington, D.C.
Bands & Gigs:
Besides freelancing in the Washington, D.C. area, I am a regular member of the Kash Wright Trio, a jazz piano trio; and I frequently play with D.C. area vocalist Sharon Raquel.
- Kolstein Travel bass
- Alter-Ego Basso EUB
- Shen upright
- Harvey Citron Swallow Prototype 5-string
- Groove Shoppe GS-5 5-string
- Adamovic Halo 5-string
- Markbass Big Bang Head
- Phil Jones Compact 4 cabinets
- Acoustic Image Contra Combo
Why I play the bass:
In 1979, my cousin Gregory, also a bass player, recommended that I listen to Stanley Clarke’s album, I Wanna Play For You. Shortly thereafter, I heard Weather Report’s Heavy Weather album. Stanley’s solo on “Blues for Mingus” and Jaco’s solo on “Havona” inspired me to switch from bass clarinet to the bass guitar.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
Playing bass with jazz saxophone legend Buck Hill before a packed house; or laying down a track for Victor Wooten’s Sword and Stone CD in Victor’s basement. Two very different experiences, but too close to call.
Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Jimmy Haslip, Christian McBride, Brian Bromberg.