Reader Spotlight: Taylor Lee
Meet bassist Taylor Lee, who has a lot of great stories to tell, including how he got his gig, who gave him his main bass and how he switched from guitar to bass as soon as he heard Jaco’s debut.
Taylor is the player in the spotlight for the week of March 18, 2013.
In 2008 Taylor received a scholarship and attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he studied and performed with the likes of Lincoln Goines, Mark Whitfield and Kim Plainfield. During his time at Berklee, Taylor also achieved the Outstanding Bassist Award handed to him by the entire bass faculty and was placed into Mark Whitfield’s scholarship ensemble in which Mark Whitfield Jr. was playing drums. Since attending Berklee, Taylor has been the bassist in the Jeff Sipes Trio alongside guitarist Mike Seal. Taylor got to fill the bass role in 2011 with Bela Fleck and Bill Evans at Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. He also now holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from The University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Wilmington, NC USA
My day job is teaching local bassists and guitarists out of my house. I also have been doing some skype lessons which has been fun.
Bands & Gigs:
My main gig is The Jeff Sipe Trio. The trio consists of the legendary Jeff Sipe (drummer for Aquarium Rescue Unit, Leftover Salmon) on drums, a rising star of the guitar, Mike Seal and myself holding down the low end. It’s a cool story how I got the gig: when I was 18, I went to see Jeff and Mike (before I knew them) play a gig with another bassist, Vince. I asked if I could get a lesson from their bassist. The next day I went to the house they were staying at and got the lesson. While we were shedding, Sipe heard me playing and asked if I wanted to do a gig with them next time they were in town. We had a great connection the next time they were around and since then we have been out touring as the Jeff Sipe Trio.
Outside of the trio I have recently been doing alot of studio work for singer songwriters.
- My main axe is a Modulus Quantum 6 that Oteil Burbridge gave me
- Roscoe Skb 3006 Fretless
- Epifani Ul 502 head
- SWR Goliath
- Epifani 310
Why I play the bass:
In the beginning of my musical journey I was strictly an acoustic guitar player. I was a purist and only interested in playing acoustic, strumming chords, learning classical etudes etc. However, when I was thirteen that Christmas I got Jaco Pastorius’ debut album and an Ibanez starter bass and amp. I wasn’t very happy with either one at first. I think I actually was hoping for a Pokemon card. However, when I put that CD in my stereo, I will never forget hearing “Come on Come over” for the first time. That day I put down my guitar and completely devoted my life to playing bass. I didn’t leave my room for three days after that until I could play that song note for note beginning to end. That was my bass transformation.
My bass superpower/claim to fame
I never really notice it but people in the crowd always seem fascinated with the fact that I never look at my fretboard. I stay zoned into a spiritual sense when I’m playing music and this always results in me looking upwards with my eyes closed.
My main musical influences are Weather Report, D’Angelo, Aquarium Rescue Unit, John Coltrane, Ravi Shankar and Jairus Mozee.
When it comes to bass there are several cats who will have an everlasting influence on me. For bass it is Jaco Pastorius, Oteil Burbridge, Matthew Garrison, Steve Bailey, Donald Alford, Pino Palladino and Sharay Reed.
More on the web:
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