Meet Birch Pereira, a bassist (actually multi-instrumentalist) who stays busy with a life dedicated to music.
Birch is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…
I am an upright and electric bassist who had been a hardworking sideman in the Seattle jazz, funk and pop scene for a decade but a few years ago made the transition to lead singer (while of course still holding down the bass) for my band Birch Pereira & the Gin Joints, which brings back the sound of old rock ‘n’ roll, jazz and Americana.
I play music for a living and teach private lessons (from ukulele and piano to bass)! I do some arranging work, producing, chart writing and play solo gigs at the Seattle airport thanks to an organization called Gigs4U here in town.
Bands & Gigs:
My main band is Birch Pereira & the Gin Joints, where I compose and arrange all the music and sing and play bass for it. I’m pulling back to the sound of early rock ‘n’ roll, swing and blues and soul of the 40s-60s that I love with a focus on lots of improvisation. People have known me in town for playing funk and electronic music for years with the band Theoretics as well where I play electric bass and synthesizers.
- A 3/4 Laminated German Bass with Spirocore strings
- A Lakland Syline 5-String with LaBella Flats
- Fender P-Bass made in Mexico
- Kala U-Bass
Why I play the bass:
I played cello as a kid because we had a great orchestra program down in Corvallis, Oregon, and my dad, a folk musician, taught me the basics of acoustic guitar. Eventually, in high school, a friend said he wanted to start a Hendrix cover band and needed a bassist. The band never actually materialized but I got hooked on the electric bass. Once in college, I joined the jazz program at the University of Washington and transferred my cello skills to the upright bass and have played ever since.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
People generally remark on how melodic I play, I think that’s really where I shine is when I can write a line or improvise in a way that digs deep into the harmony and melodic base of a song.
Upright Bass: Charlie Haden, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Cachao Lopez, Jimmie Garrison
Electric Bass: Willie Weeks, Leland Sklar, Paul McCartney, Pino Palladino, James Jamerson