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  • Ask Damian Erskine: Playing with and around the beat

    Q: What is and how do you play behind or ahead of the beat? Is it just rushing or dragging? A: Good time is an obvious starting point. A great bass player is in control of their internal clock. You should be adept at playing dead ON the beat, pulling behind, pushing ahead and everywhere... »

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  • Ask Damian Erskine: Getting Jazz

    Q: What is the best way to “get” jazz. in school, we had a ton of theory shoved at us but it really seemed disconnected. Solos still get me to this day because while theoretically sound, they sound manufactured. A: There are certain styles that one must “marry” in order to play with any authority.... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D.: Making the Switch from Electric to Upright (part 2 of 3)

    Last time we talked about some of the general concepts involved in making the switch from Electric to Upright Bass. It’s a fairly big subject, so we are going to continue down this road for the next several installments. As I mentioned last time, an accomplished Electric player can often pump out a line on... »

  • Ray’s raving about… Eldar Djangirov and his newest CD

    Eldar Djangirov’s CD, Virtue, has been spinning in my car for weeks now. I unfortunately had never heard of Eldar until reading a review about this new CD and when I checked it out I was instantly a fan. At first I was drawn by his amazing technique and angular lines but the deeper I... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Learning new styles

    Q: How did you go about learning the different styles that you get called to play? (salsa, etc.) This fits in to the whole notion of “diversification” you were discussing. A: The short answer is by accepting every gig I could, getting the book (charts) and/or CD and shedding like mad so as not to... »

  • Ray’s Raving About… NPR Music

    I am a big fan of talk radio and I especially like the programs on NPR (National Public Radio). In this “rave” I wanted to spotlight the music section on the NPR web site. NPR Music has so many cool things to offer including concerts, studio session, interviews, reviews, etc. There is something for everyone... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Target Notes

    Q: Can you suggest any exercises to help me to internalize the notion of targets when playing over chord changes and work them into my playing ? A: Definitely. Although I’ve never tried to develop an exercise to practice this concept, It’s something I’ve just always done when trying to solo… especially when I feel... »

  • Ray’s Raving About… Modal & Contemporary Patterns

    As a player/teacher I have collected many books over the years, in fact I have two big bins in my garage full of various music books of all kinds. There are a hand full of books though that I find myself coming back to time and time again for reading studies, concepts and inspiration. One... »

  • A review of John Patitucci Trio’s “Remembrance”

    John Patitucci’s latest release, Remembrance, on Concord Jazz is yet another masterpiece in his extensive discography. The album is Patitucci’s seventh with Concord and his thirteenth as a leader. Remembrance features Patitucci on acoustic bass, 6-string electric bass, 6-string electric piccolo bass; Joe Lovano playing tenor saxophone and alto clarinet along with Brian Blade on... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Light vs. a hard touch

    Q: I like your style because from my point of view it seems that you’re very comfortable playing the bass (seems light touch in both hands) but the sound you get is very punchy which I associate with playing hard. So here comes the question: Do you play mostly hard or light with your right... »