Reader Spotlight: Josh Hari

Josh Hari


Josh Hari is an upright and electric bassist from Oakland, California and Guadalajara, Mexico. He has performed in a professional setting and/or recorded with: Dianne Reeves, Terri Lyne Carrington, Lalah Hathaway, Goapele, Lyrics Born, Killah Priest, Richie Rich, Joe Louis Walker, John Ellis, Bobby Sparks, Gary Thomas, Nona Hendryx, Julian Lage, Greg Osby, Bicasso, Bobby Ozuna and many others.

He has been fortunate to perform at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Bonnaroo, the Anguilla, BeanTown, Fillmore, Jazz a Vienne Martinique, Monterey, Montreux, and Ouro Preto jazz festivals; and at the Blue Note NY, Dakota Jazz Club, and Yoshi’s. He’s currently in his last semester at Berklee College of Music.


Boston, MA USA

Day gig:

As of right now, I’m very happy to say its just playing/teaching music.

Years experience:

About 13 years

Bands & Gigs:

I’m in several. I often play in Terri Lyne Carrington’s band and occasionally with Dianne Reeves and other sideman jazz/R&B gigs. But i am most often working and recording with original projects. I’m in a rock trio called The Karma Exchange that just finished an album I’m really excited about. I also just recorded an EP with my dear friend Margaret Glaspy, who’s an amazing singer/songwriter with Julian Lage on guitar and Paul Q. Kolderie behind the board, who did some of Radiohead’s stuff. I also spend a lot of time in the studio when I’m back in Oakland with some of the great Hip-Hop producers out there, Bobby Ozuna, Bedrock, Dave Knott, Dan Lawrence.


  • 4 string Lakland Joe Osborn Skyline with DR High Beams
  • 1997 USA Fender Jazz Bass with La Bella Flatwounds
  • 50’s Kay Bass

Why I play the bass:

Originally i was just the first kid in the cello section tall enough to play double bass. But it was around the same time i started playing steel drums, and once i got comfortable on upright i decided to play electric in the steel drum band for my school. But actually I think I would of ended as a bassist no matter what; it suits my personality. We, as bassists, have so much control over a band but don’t have a problem being just out of the limelight. A lot of my favorite arrangers and producers are bassists too.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I like to think that I’m pretty versatile while still keeping my own “thang”. I play with so many different kinds of artists in so many different styles that I worry a lot about my sound becoming “watered down”, so I spend a lot of time studying the lineage of different styles of bass playing. It’s so important to really try to cop the feel and subtleties of a style of playing. The one I think people overlook a lot is key-bass. I’ve spent a lot of time working on different kinds of attack and phrasing to try to sound like Stevie Wonder’s left hand, or J-Dilla’s MPC.

My influences

Too many to really list completely…

But on electric bass I really dig Pino Palladino, Meshell Ndegeocello, Raphael Saadiq, James Jamerson, Aston Barrett, Bootsy, Larry Graham, Bakithi, Derrick Hodge, Eric Smith, and my homies DJ Guinyard and Louis Cato who will be on everyone’s list in a few years.

On upright I dig on Milt Hinton, Christian McBride, PC (Paul Chambers), OP (Oscar Pettiford), Rodney Whitaker, Reggie Veal, Cachao, James Genus…

But honestly most of my inspiration on the instrument comes from non bass players who wrote great parts for us, Stevie Wonder, D’angelo, Prince, JDilla, Ray Charles, Sly Stone, Shuggie Otis…

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  1. As a drummer it is always both refreshing and challenging to play with Josh. He is quite a gentle player, never overstated, yet his feel and time are organic and harmonious, and when I have had the pleasure to share a music space with him it has been extremely positive and inspiring. He is such a world class musician, but one who’s humility and musical grace is admirable and comparable to his creativity and musical choices. He is the perfect bassist to have on any kind of project I can imagine.