Photo by Heiti Kruusmaa
Meet Mai Jõgi, a bassist leaving in Sweden by way of Estonia who has an impressive resume and counts her experience on bass in days, not years (2,920 days at the time she shared her story with us). Mai is our player in the spotlight for the week of September 25, 2012.
Estonian female bass player Mai Jõgi is said to be a rising star of the bass guitar world. She has attracted the attention with her versatility, musicality and power in different music genres: jazz, pop and rock bands, sharing the stage with top Estonian musicians (KERLI, Tiit Paulus, Ain Agan, Riho Sibul, Jaak Johanson, Teele Viira etc).
Mai was born in Kuressaare, on an island Saaremaa, Estonia. She played the violin for eight years and first touched the bass at the age of 16. It was a moment of recognition.
Estonian “Jazz King” Tiit Paulus became her new teacher in 2004 and they played together in a band 2+2=5. Mai started playing with the great masters in an early age since Tiit often invited his friends to play with 2+2=5: Ain Agan, Lembit Saarsalu, Jaak Sooäär and others.
Mai continued her studies in Georg Ots Tallinn Music School where Raul Vaigla became her teacher. He had been Mai’s favorite musician for years (he still is!) so these years with Mr. Vaigla were extremely inspiring. He has stayed by her side as a good friend and a teacher.
Mai graduated in spring 2010 and after that moved to Sweden and studied one year at one of the best jazz schools in Scandinavia – Skurups Folkhögskola where her main instrument teacher was well known upright bass player Daniel Franck. At the moment, Mai is studying at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm under the supervision of a bass guru Robert Sundin, who has become her main guiding light in music and life. In April 2010 she won the best instrumentalist prize on Uno Naissoo Compositions Contest.
Tallinn, Estonia/Stockholm, Sweden
Studying jazz music and improvisation, electric bass as main instrument at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm
Bands & Gigs:
I’m the leader of my own Estonian-Swedish band, MaiGroup, with whom I play my original compositions. It’s a mixture of different music styles: jazz, rock, pop… Story-telling melodies, beautifully crooked harmonies, hip grooves, gripping beats and a lot of improvisation. It’s a search for inner freedom and happiness.
I’m also a member of Again Group (led by Estonian jazz legend Ain Agan), Aces of Basses (they say it’s the four best Estonian bass players on stage at once), The Fusion Bag (trio with Swedish guitarist Calle Stålenbring and drummer Jonathan Lundberg), pop star KERLI’s European band, Teele Viira band among many other projects. I’m open to everything that makes me feel good :)
- Custom made beauty by Margus Alviste
- Ibanez Musician MC940 DS Fretless 1981
- Cort Curbow 5-string Fretless
- Markbass Traveler 2×10
- Markbass Little Mark III Bass Amplifier Head
- Boss RE-20 Roland Space Echo
- Boss CEB-3: Bass Chorus
- Korg Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner
- Dunlop M-88 MXR Bass Octave
Why I play the bass:
The bass player left our band so I impulsively said: “Okay, I’ll take it.” It has become the rightest decision I’ve ever made in my life.
My bass superpower/claim to fame
Music for me is a deeper conversation with the audience, and I am humbled by it as well as honored by it’s gift to me. This way of thinking has taken me to a beautiful musical journey and to a place where I am right now. Hopefully it will take me even further.
- Raul Vaigla
- Robert Sundin
- Tal Wilkenfeld
- Gary Willis
- Jimmy Johnson
- Jaco Pastorius
- Joni Mitchell
- Jeff Beck
- Wayne Krantz
- Allan Holdsworth
- Vinnie Colaiuta
- & you reading this!