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Gigging Archives

Mugging for the Camera on Stage
Ask Damian Erskine

Mugging for the Camera on Stage

For this week’s “Ask” column, Damian decided to do it as more of a PSA - on musicianship, serving the song, and a trend he’s seeing that is sometimes counter to those things. Check out what he calls “Mugging for the Camera on Stage”

How to Deal With Bandleaders That Change Your Part
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Deal With Bandleaders That Change Your Part

A reader is dealing with a bandleader (pianist) who is rewriting the bass parts and asking them to be played that way. He asked Damian for advice on how to cope with this situation. Check out what Damian has to say.

The Lightbulb Moment: Playing Inside The Box
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Playing Inside The Box

Some people call it “serving the song.” In Ryan’s new “Lightbulb Moment,” she talks about playing inside - and sometimes - outside the box, including covering the literal box patterns on bass.

Notes from the Bandstand: The Bass Solo
Notes From The Bandstand

Notes from the Bandstand: The Bass Solo

Bassists abound in NYC. It’s not uncommon to get on the subway to see two other fellow bassists fighting for a spot with their low-end leviathans. And, you can be sure; these bass commuters can do it all – they can groove and solo. My first two columns have been about the former – the primary background responsibilities of the...

Notes From The Bandstand: Supporting the Soloist
Notes From The Bandstand

Notes From The Bandstand: Supporting the Soloist

As jazz bassists, we know this scenario all too well: after taking their solos, the players in the front line head offstage, only to chat it up with each other until it’s time come back to trade or play the head out. Meanwhile, we’ve been playing non-stop since the downbeat. Frustrating right? Do they realize how much we’ve been playing...

Establishing Your Rates as a Working Bass Player
Ask Damian Erskine

Establishing Your Rates as a Working Bass Player

Q: I have been networking, going to jams, and have actually started to make some headway in my local scene. I’ve just gotten a call about doing a regional week-long tour. The money seems a little low, though, and I’m worried about setting a bad precedent. I’d like to do the tour but don’t want to establish that as my...

How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety
Ask Damian Erskine

How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety

Q: Do you ever get scared? How do you deal with performance anxiety? A: I’ve written a fair amount about various types of musical situations I’ve found myself in, related anxiety, and how I’ve navigated it but this may be the first time I’ve written purely on fear. I’ve mentioned in the past that I spent quite a while living...

Notes From The Bandstand: Timekeeping
Notes From The Bandstand

Notes From The Bandstand: Timekeeping

In 2005 I traveled to Zurich for my first gig with an iconic jazz pianist (out of respect for his privacy, he’ll remain nameless). We haven’t rehearsed. We haven’t spoken about what we’re going to play. I’m told we’ll go over everything at the sound check but said pianist never shows up. We have a quick 10-minute talk before hitting...

How Do I Become a Good Session Musician?
Ask Damian Erskine

How Do I Become a Good Session Musician?

Q: Do You have any advice for those bassists aspiring to become session musicians? Not so much how to get exposure but how to handle yourself, gear, getting lines on the first take, being solid, etc… A: I’ve always found the studio to be very satisfying. I’m one of those players who wouldn’t mind being solely a session bassist. Invisible...

Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

Q: I go to a few jam sessions in my city, which have given me great times and contacts. For the most part, I’ve been able to get over most of the pre-jam jitters and adopt more of a “whatever happens, happens” approach to sessions. But I have encountered one stumbling block related to bassist conduct that I wanted to...