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  • Notes from the Bandstand: The Bass Solo

    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... »

  • Notes From The Bandstand: Supporting the Soloist

    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... »

  • Establishing Your Rates as a Working Bass Player

    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... »

  • How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety

    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... »

  • Notes From The Bandstand: Timekeeping

    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... »

  • How Do I Become a Good Session Musician?

    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... »

  • Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    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... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

    The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

    When it comes to accompanying a singer or soloist, there’s nothing like the power of three. The rock trio. The jazz trio. The trio of cheeses provided in the green room. It’s the perfect way to get the bases covered (no pun intended). While there are various forms of trio instrumentation (keys, bass, drums; guitar,... »

  • Concentrating on the Gig

    Concentrating on the Gig

    Q: I have a question about… mindset, I guess. I feel like I make a lot of unnecessary mistakes during gigs. I mean that it’s not a technical deficiency, and it’s not that I don’t know what needs to happen but I just seem to goof it up. Kind of a lot. Any advice? A:... »

  • Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the... »