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  • A review of Damian Erskine’s “So To Speak”

    Wow, I love this record! Portland, Oregon resident and No Treble contributor Damian Erskine has produced an essential record that’s a real joy to listen to. So to Speak combines odd meters, Afro-Cuban percussion, passionate playing and carefully crafted arrangements to create a fine jazz fusion record. Damian composed all the tunes and his rich,... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Good Practice?

    Q: What is considered a “good” practice session?? Say, if I take an hour to practice, what should I be working on… doing warm-ups, running through set lists of songs I know, learning new material, listening and trying to imitate players I like, etc. Just trying to be as productive as possible with my time.... »

  • A review of William Parker and Giorgio Dini’s “Temporary”

    A top notch free jazz record featuring two improvising masters, Temporary is a great example of state of the art freely improvised upright bass. Both William Parker and Giorgio Dini play expressively and passionately and both are wonderfully skilled in the use of the bow. The record consists of five free improvisations that demonstrate Parker... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Upright Slap Bass (Rockabilly/Psychobilly etc.) – Intro: part 1 of 3

    In my opinion, one of the more interesting things you can do on the Upright these days is Slap it! Beyond it’s hipitude, it is a legitimate technique, just like arco (bow) and pizzicato (plucked), and it can make you more employable if you master it. So let’s take a look at the technique. What... »

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  • Ask Damian Erskine: Best way to Shine?

    Q: When you are presented with an opportunity to play with people you look up to, what is your approach? To you try and blow everyone away? A: Great question! The first thing I would say is to be yourself! Don’t try and play like this guy or that guy you’ve seen them with, don’t... »

  • A review of “Seabrook Power Plant”

    Brandon Seabrook’s Seabrook Power Plant is a brutal, take-no-prisoners record. The music sits between free jazz and Black Sabbath-influenced sounds but places the banjo firmly at the center of the music. It is quite engaging despite a forbidding exterior. For sure you will hear things in this record you have never heard before. Seabrook is... »

  • What’s Spinning for… John Goldsby

    I am doing a Mingus project in May with the WDR Big Band, so I have been checking out Mingus’s music recently. He has left such a legacy on several levels: his bass playing, his rhythm section playing, his band leading and his composing. All of those aspects of Mingus’s music are interconnected, and he... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Practicing in Your Head

    Q: So as I walked around the house, my wife asked me, “What are you doing, space cadet?” I guess I had a fairly blank look on my face and was walking around the house in circles. I replied, “Playing Bass… in my head.” She then said, “huh… you should write about that for the... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Three Requirements of Attainment: The Student

    Note: This is part 3 of 3 of Dr. D’s current series. See part 1 and part 2. The Student The most important ingredient needed to acquire a skill is not a good Method or a good Teacher, but rather a good Student. Even with the highest quality Method and Teacher, a poor quality Student... »

  • Bottoms Up: Melodies in Bass

    Bottoms Up: Melodies in Bass

    Hi, nice to meet all of you. I’m here to discuss melodies in the bass: bass lines as part of tunes and great melodies written by bass players, and maybe a few surprises thrown in. In this column I’ll be discussing one of the all time great bass players in history who also penned more... »