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In Memoriam: Rob Wasserman

Rob Wasserman

Bassist Rob Wasserman, who played alongside some of the world’s greatest musicians, has passed away from an undisclosed illness. He was 64 years old.

Wasserman began as a violinist, switching to bass as a teenager. He studied bass at the San Francisco Conservatory as well as composition with John Adams. His early career included stints with Van Morrison, Oingo Boingo and the David Grisman Quintet. As his network grew, he began working with Lou Reed and Elvis Costello among other artists. He teamed up with Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir to form RatDog after the Dead split up in 1995.

Besides working on other artist’s projects, Wasserman was prolific in his own compositions. He began with 1983’s Solos, which won Downbeat Magazine’s Record of the Year. Duets and Trios saw the bassist collaborate with a who’s who of musicians including Bobby McFerrin, Rickie Lee Jones, Cheryl Bentyne, Lou Reed, Stéphane Grappelli, Jerry Garcia, Brian Wilson, Willie Dixon, Branford Marsalis, and Elvis Costello. He last album, Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound, was released in 2013.

Bob Weir posted about Wasserman’s passing on Facebook, saying “I’m devastated to pass along that Rob Wasserman lost his struggle today, and we have lost a beautiful friend and artist. I can still hear the sound of his bow playing those strings unamplified and pure. It’s one of the most glorious sounds I’ve ever heard, and the music and warmth he gave us will live on in the hearts of everyone he touched.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Rob Wasserman.