A Guitarists Roundtable
by Brent-Anthony Johnson
Have you bassists ever thought that about guitarists? I have! I’ve played with
guitarists since my earliest days in bands, and though I’ve learned to get
along with them in that time (having even studied classical guitar for a year,
once, as “research”) I’m still, occasionally, baffled by them as a
species. I’ve exhausted the internet, and not even Marlin Perkins or the
Crocodile Hunter have anything insightful to say…
Many bassists have found there is a slight amount of “play well, but not as
well as me”, about them. The guitarist can be the easiest person on the planet
to play with – I site the incredible Trout/Rodby duo, and the fusion band
Eyewitness as examples. Or, they can be the strangest of all musicians one can
attempt to make music with.
I also think the nearly 15-year-old wave of bassist-oriented magazines has
slowly given us an unnecessary “it’s okay to have a personality… even a
bad one” vibe while charting astounding results from doing so. Does anyone
else remember buying circa 1979-1985 Guitar Player Magazine, and praying that
the single featured bassist in each edition gave a decent and insightful
interview? That hope, and the crushing disappointment of finding the featured
bassists to be less than articulate (or, even verbal), shaped my childhood.
But now… we have Global Bass Magazine, and a metric butt-ton of others.
Though I’m still crushed when a magazine (like the late BASSIST Magazine of
the UK) goes under… I’m wondering if we’ve become a bit disconnected from
So, now that you’ve found a safe haven far away from the dark and often
frothing sea of guitarists… here’s a new one for your analyst, “I was
reading my favorite bass magazine, and I saw a bunch of guitarists in there!
I decided to take this matter to the street, by talking with the most incredible
guitarists I know in all of existence: Wayne Krantz (the first to respond to my
offer); David Gilmore (Lost tribe, Mark Peterson), Steve Khan, Joe Gamble, and
Bob Story. Together, we discussed the electric and acoustic bassist at great
length… So much so, that I know what these gentlemen are talking about! I even
*gulp* agree with several of the statements made throughout this insightful
Each of these players are amongst the most incredible musicians I’ve
listened to, and each brings a nearly overwhelming amount of creativity and
freshness to the roll of acoustic and electric guitar in an ensemble, and also
as a solo instrument.
I could go on and on about David Gilmore’s work with looping, his unmistakable
work in Lost Tribe, and his current work with my good friend, bassist Mark
Peterson. Steve Khan’s seminal work with the incomparable Anthony Jackson, in
Eyewitness (please reunite for just one more record? Plllleeeeeeeeease?) has
forever set the pace for those small, tight, guitar-led fusion ensembles that
followed their lead. Then, there’s Wayne Krantz’ work with Mr. Jackson,
Lincoln Goines, and more recently with Tim Lefebvre. Joe Gamble and Bob Story
are two dear friends that I’ve played with an awful lot over the past decade!
Bob is currently in the process of releasing a fantastic instructional book/disc
package, and Joe is putting various finishing touches on his premier solo
As much as writing a compelling story for this magazine, I wanted to talk to all
these players because I love their work. It would be presumptuous to assume a
‘kindred spirit’ in these folks… But, I knew I was in wonderful company
when Steve Khan responded to my offer by saying, “I enjoy talking about
Anthony Jackson... Let’s talk bass”! Right on! Off we go…
BAJ: Thank you all for joining me today.
Let’s begin by talking about the bassists you’re currently working with, and
what it is about those players that helps bring your compositions into fruition?
STEVE KHAN (SK):
For the past three years, I was a 'co-leader' of the Caribbean Jazz Project,
alongside Dave Samuels(vibes/marimba) and Dave Valentin(flute) and we
concentrated on music closest to the great Afro-Cuban traditions. My favorite
bassist in this context, and many others, is Rubén Rodríguez. To me, he is
like the Ron Carter of contemporary Latin bass players. He understands all that
has come before and has formed his own style based upon those traditions.
Where my tunes are concerned, he has taken the written notes and simply made
them better, made the music swing harder. I could not ask more from any bassist.
He is one of my favorite people and favorite musicians!
BOB STORY (Bob):
I could start with you, BAJ! You made the sound happen on that last studio
project we worked on (New Zealand vocalist, Hollie Smith) by laying down a
groove and playing notes that fully supported the harmony. I should say you are
very aware of the harmony and you play accordingly. I find a lot of
players don't have the basics down (harmony and tyranny) and their playing
suffers as a result. They believe they can get through life simply playing the
one and five...
JOE GAMBLE (JG):
To be honest, I haven’t been playing my compositions with people lately. For
the past eight months I’ve consistently been on someone else’s gig - aside
from the odd session here and there to finish up my album. Everyone I work with,
I work with because they bring their own unique thing to the table that I
can’t really plan for. BAJ - you remind me of a branch off the Anthony Jackson
tree… at least on my stuff! That crazy harmonic thing that I love is there in
I’ve also been working with bassists Casey Sidwell, who is an extremely
funky young fellow. Here’s got a project around here called the Future Jazz
Project that people need to be aware of. I’ve also started working with
Douglas Koke, who’s very creative harmonically and who is pushing the envelope
sonically as well. He has more pedals on stage than me! I’m also supposed to
be beginning work with bassist Kirwan Brown on a project. He’s just a Swiss
army knife! He can do everything incredibly well! This is all just recently...
Although it’s not widely known, there is a lot of talent in Denver.
David Gilmore (DG):
In my projects I'm working with a few different bass players right now. I'm
working with Brad Jones in my quartet, who has played with Ornette Coleman, Marc
Ribot, Dave Douglas, Jazz Passengers, Muhal Richard Abrams, and leads his own
groups as well. What I like about Brad is his looseness and flexibility once he
gets comfortable with the music. He is great with odd meters and poly-metric
rhythms which occurs a lot in my music, and he's able to float above that while
still keeping the groove.
Matt Garrison and I are involved in a project called Kindred Spirits along
with my brother Marque. Matt has such an original approach on the bass, he's a
true virtuoso on his instrument. The way he plays reminds me of a flamenco
guitarist. It's great to play with him in this trio format because he's able to
cover so much in terms of chords, bass notes and melodies.
Wayne Krantz (WK):
I play mostly with Tim Lefebvre. We've been working together for a long time and
he understands my approach; he knows what I'm going for. That makes it possible
for him to plug into it quickly. I also play some with Paul Socolow, who's
another guy that hears my stuff really clearly.
BAJ: Next question… What do you feel is
the most important musical concept for a bassist to learn, and why?
SK: For me, the most important thing for a
bassist 'to learn' is to simply be aware, at all times, that he is still a
BASSIST. That being a bassist is an endeavor of 'foundation,' of 'support.' In a
guitar trio, for example, this does not mean that there cannot be a 'dance,' a
'dialogue' between the guitar and bass. There can and should be… the roles can
shift. But, in the end… the job, the concept, is to make the music swing, to
groove, to play beautiful notes. The fact that the instrument has been
'liberated' where soloing is concerned, for me, is only a bonus. A bassist with
some degree of virtuosity allows one compositional and arranging options which
might not have existed before.
Bob: Bassists could better learn their role
in the music, I feel. Bassists are soloists as well as supporters in a band, and
it is important to know when it is time to lay back… and when its time to step
JG: And… How to stay out of the way when I
take my 37 minute solo in A! (laughter) Just kidding…
I suppose it would be the same things I would think any musician would benefit
from learning; historical function of your instrument; basic harmony; and how to
function with other instruments. Also, how to listen and react and have enough
technique and coordination between the ear and the instrument to be able to
execute ideas on the spot.
DG: Number one, holding down the bottom and
keeping the groove. The harmony is partially dependent on what the bass player
is laying down, so depending on what the given musical situation is or what the
bandleader wants, the bassist must be careful when taking certain
liberties. The same with the groove, or keeping time, since the bass and drums
are often the primary timekeepers in an ensemble.
WK: I wouldn't know... Bass is kind of a
mystery to me, though I've been writing for it for years now.
BAJ: Steve, you worked with Anthony Jackson
just as he was putting his final ideas about the 6-string electric contrabass
guitar on tape. How did that effect the Eyewitness albums, or did it at all?
What do the rest of you feel about the “extended range” (5 and 6-string)
SK: Anthony is one of the great musical
minds of any generation! His innovations and usage of the 6-string contrabass
guitar (which didn't really debut in Eyewitness until the "MODERN
TIMES" recording) had a profound impact on what we were able to do as a
group. Because of the instrument's chordal possibilities we were able to try and
experiment with certain textures and ideas which, in the end, actually worked.
One can best hear such things on "CASA LOCO" and "PUBLIC
In sharp contrast, the addition of the high C string can be a real
pain-in-the-ass because it simply… "is there," and it causes one to
have the temptation to explore. And once the BASS is in that register, it's in
the 'kitchen' of the guitar - which can be an annoyance! However, Anthony, on
the gig or in recording, was almost never guilty of such things. And no one
patrols the depths of the bass register like Anthony! His sense of note choice
and rhythmic placement is simply without peer! It's almost sinister the way he
can sound at times. I love him dearly and miss playing with him... More than he
Editor: Then, someone should tell the man! Anthony…? Are you out there?
Bob: I once heard a jam with “the
world’s greatest bass players”, at a NAMM show, some years ago. There were
5-string and 6-string basses, and I think even a 10-string was used! Lottsa
notes flying and great technical players! But then… Victor Bailey came out
with a Fender Jazz Bass and blew me away with his musicality and taste!
(Nods of agreement... Lot’s of it!)
JG: I love the low-jammy... The difference
between five and six to me is like splitting hairs. I think it’s personal to
the player and what they are trying to accomplish. It’s what you do with those
strings that counts!
DG: Personally, there are only a few
bassists that I can listen to and can say I like their sound and concept on the
5 and 6 string bass. Anthony is of course one of them, James Genus, Gerald
Veasley and Matt Garrison as well. But I prefer overall the sound of the 4
string, particularly when slapping.
BAJ: In your opinions, what is the
bassist’s role, and how do you employ the bass in your overall concept?
SK: As I stated before, the fundamental
role, in my view, is to supply a full and rich bottom, to support, and to make
the music swing. Soloing, soloing brilliantly, is simply a bonus to me, it is
NOT the reason to choose to work with someone! That, in my view, would be a most
shallow consideration. With each player being an individual, you write for that
person who's going to be playing the music. However, today's player is so
advanced, so versatile that you can write a great deal more and expect it to be
played than in years, decades, past! But the MOST IMPORTANT THING is to be a
music maker, to be able to MAKE MUSIC, TO LISTEN to what's going on around
you... to comment… to prod… to poke, jab, spar, dance… to converse. This
is always what I hope for, but it isn’t something that can be forced!
Bob: That really depends on the style of
music, too… Some songs beg for the low information, while others need a bouncy
thing going on. For me, the bass is the anchor of it all.
JG: I also think the bassist’s role varies
depending upon the particular musical moment at hand. In a situation where
backing up a vocalist, firing off all your Jaco lines probably isn't the most
appropriate thing to do! In an instrumental contexts there's obviously more room
to move in that manner. I like musicians - not just bassists- that really listen
almost more than they play (I need to do this more myself).
Harmonically, a bassist is really driving the bus, so to speak. So, to have
someone on the gig who has all the prerequisite harmonic language at their
disposal, AND listens to everyone on a deep level, can really allow for some
wonderful things to happen. I don't have an overall concept other than making
something that I like hearing. How the bass figures into that is decided
I like hiring people who I don't have to do the thinking for them. I don't
want to come across as arrogant… I'm just saying that I'm not the bass player!
So, I don't presume to know their job better than they. When I make suggestions
it’s primarily in terms of general feel or what tonality I was hoping to
DG: Well it depends on the musical
situation, but one of the main roles as I mentioned earlier should be to help
support the harmony of the music, and to help keep the time. In my projects I
often have a specific bass line written out that I want the bassist to play, and
then eventually play off of and extend during solo sections, etc. In my trio the
bassist sometimes serves a contrapuntal role, and occasionally takes the melody.
WK: It's kind of a cliche to talk about its
fundamental role in the music, but bass really is at the center of things in a
pretty profound way. With my current band the context is almost completely
improvisational, and Lefebvre is basically in charge of not allowing things to
turn into grooves with solos on top, something we're trying to avoid these days.
We're looking for an almost compositional approach to improvising, where the
lines get blurred and the listener can't tell what's composed and what isn't.
It's event-oriented playing and asks for an understanding of form and some
seriously creative thinking from the bass.
BAJ: Three of the five of you live in NYC.
Yet, you work with a particularly small number of bassists. I this due to player
availability, or is it more so something that resonates in your own approach, or
is an affinity for a particular player?
SK: I don't think geography has much to do
with anything. I don't see Scott Henderson and Gary Willis having problems
living in distant states, and they work beautifully together. In the end, that's
it! If you have a 'relationship' with your bassist of choice (and there
certainly could be several of them), then you have to stick with that. To find a
special chemistry, well… that is something simply golden!!! But, for me, to
find another relationship that occupies the territory Anthony and I shared has
been most difficult. One does not actively 'look for’ anyone to either
replace, or to play, 'like' Anthony Jackson.
Editor Note: Amen!
Bob: Certain people have a vibe that makes
it easier to work with. If they are comfortable in there own skin it makes life
so much easier… bassist, or not.
JG: For me, when I hear someone that is
doing something really well I usually want to experience making noise with them.
In the process of doing gigs and recording with people you realize that you
either speak the same language as them or you don’t. When you do, you just
naturally gravitate toward using them on your projects. It’s just a
familiarity thing. The level of professionalism that people display also figures
DG: For me there's only a few bassists that
I feel have the rhythmic sensibility that I'm looking for in approaching the
music I write, which often has shifting meters and poly-rhythms. Guys like
Reggie Washington, Genus, Brad Jones, Patrice Blanchard, Andre Manga and Anthony
Tidd are also cats I dig.
WK: It's not common-language stuff that we
do; it's not "jazz" or "funk" or "d'n'b". It's a
band, and that means sticking with particular people over a period of time. It
can't be achieved with an all-star approach. It's a hard band to sub-out.
BAJ: The range of bass guitar tones ranges
from plectrum-driven high-end (Doug Pennick, Chris Squire), to a distinct P-Bass
like ‘thud’. Which tones do you prefer, and why…?
SK: I'm a pretty simple guy. I always prefer
a simple BIG, round, deep, rich sounding bass note. However, in the right
places, anything, any sound, is welcome! The range of percussiveness with which
contemporary bass playing adds is a welcome sonic color! In a trio, you need the
full arsenal of sounds.
Bob: I like the powerful sound that Michael
Manring gets in his solo stuff, as well as Jaco's beautiful lushness. And…
that funk that Bootsy Collins played with James is the shit!
JG: I'm a sucker for that warm, Fender,
Jaco/Rocco pizzicato thing. I think though overall, I want to hear the player
behind whatever technique they're using. Anthony, with a pick…? Damn, that's
good stuff! Anthony without a pick- well that's good stuff too. It's all-good
when employed with heart and soul and a little vision. There are a lot of
players on all instruments who based on tone alone I wouldn't dig that much -
but given what they say with that tone makes all the difference in the world.
DG: Again, it depends on the musical
situation, but I generally don't like the sound of a pick on a bass, unless it's
some garage rock band or something. For electric bass I like a warm, round, fat
tone with a crisp but not high end definition. I like to hear the notes.
WK: I listen more generally to bass sound,
probably out of ignorance. I think the Fender Jazz is my favorite bass sound…
BAJ: Along with the previous question…
What do you feel is missing in bass tone, generally speaking, and what would you
SK: Well, this depends upon the individual
player. I think some players, electric players mostly, lack depth, body, and
warmth in their tone. The overpowering and overwhelming influence of Jaco
Pastorius has had a very negative impact in that area!
Editor Note: Put the chorused out fretless bass guitar down, and walk away
Bob: I do wish it were easier to feel the
bass without the loudness factor. Maybe strap on speakers you could wear under
your cloths! I still want to hear everything else… But, it is nice to
experience the bass as a physical thang.
JG: Nothing! I actually wish I could
consistently plug directly into the board and get a tone I could play with -
like Jimmy Johnson or Kai Eckhart! Those gorgeous, pure, woody sounds…
DG: Sound is a very personal thing, and I'm
glad we have musicians who have distinct and personal sounds, or else it would
be boring. What I would like to hear more of, with bass guitar in particular, is
a more personal sound from the player. Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Victor
Bailey, Jaco all have their sound. It's' not always an easy thing to achieve,
but I do know that it generally doesn't come through changing amps or
instruments or other equipment. It comes from the fingers, the physics of how
you fret, pluck a string, mute, sustain, vibrato, etc.
WK: I don't like it when the sound is too
even. I like it to have weird little hills and valleys, where the character can
really come out. There's also a kind of mid-rangey sound that seems popular, one
that I call the "music store sound", that seems kind of useless to me.
I like to hear the string.
BAJ: Let’s talk ‘technique’… What
are your thoughts on ‘thumb-style’ playing? Also, how do you feel about
players like Dominique di Piazza, and his extremely guitaristic approach to
playing? Finally, why aren’t there more discs that feature a more
duet-oriented role between bassist and guitarists?
SK: Where Dominique is concerned I must
plead ignorance… Though, I do think I've heard his playing on something.
Wasn't he with John McLaughlin for a minute? I think that's where I heard him.
Editor note: Affirming nods
However, anything is possible in the right context. Anthony and I always
chose to look at the music, the 'solo' sections as more of an 'open dialogue'...
as opposed to, "I'm soloing, you support." With us, it was never that
way... And, in the end, it was a very freeing experience for me. I learned so
much from playing with Anthony, Steve Jordan and Manolo Badrena. I'm a much
looser player because of them... Because they gave me so much crap all the time!
Bob: Who has the bottom when the bass player
leaves to go on vacation?
JG: Thumb style - Just a tool. I dig
anything when it’s done creatively.
Dominique - terrifying! I just heard him on that one McLaughlin disc in the
mid-nineties. I actually like that style of playing sometimes; the guitar-ish
type thing. You’ll crown me for this… But, I also really liked Yngwie
Malmsteen’s bass playing on Rising Force! With all the dramatic vibrato!
Duet Discs? I don’t know. Ross Traut and Steve Rodby had a gorgeous one some
year’s back... I certainly would be into it if I had the right material…
DG: It's all good! I've always been a fan of
da thumb - from Louis Johnson to Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham to Bootsy Collins.
I grew up on P-Funk and all that so it's all in me. It's nice to see cats like
Victor Wooten and Marcus Miller taking it to another level and continuing the
tradition. I'm thankful for any musician who takes explores different directions
and possibilities on their instrument and Dominique di Piazza is one of them, as
well as Matt Garrison, Kai Eckhart... It's all good!!! I would love to do more
duet stuff with bass players of this style, with Matt for example… which we
did a little on his first disc.
WK: I'm not attracted to thumb stuff, though
I know it can sound good if it's done right, usually in the context of a groove.
As a solo effect I usually find it boring. I don't know Dominique's playing,
I've heard he's very good. I like technique that doesn't necessarily need to
sound soloistic to be expressed. I also like the idea of writing something for
guitar and bass duo. I haven't taken the time to do it yet…
BAJ: I’ve noticed that more
guitarist/composers seem to be seeking out those bassist who double on both
acoustic and electric. Is this because we’re seeing a convergent evolution in
musical composition across the board? Or, is this simply due to the phenomenon
of the acoustic bass’ resurgent popularity?
SK: I think it's simply an issue of by being
a band leader, or co-leader, you would want every possible color you can have
with the minimum amount of players. So, having a bassist who plays both acoustic
and electric would be a great thing!! But there are simply not that many
bassists like John Patitucci out there!
Bob: It is another sound that has become
available to use – through its resurfaced popularity. If its happenin’…
use it! Use all of it! The best stuff out there uses unexpected musical elements
JG: I think it stems from our culture being
such a hodge-podge of everything that’s come before us, and its all moving
that way more and more all the time! Musically, that means that we aren't as
segregated as we used to be, thankfully. People are realizing that
anything can go together; everything matches. Diversity is a good thing in this
regard! Cross-pollination is where its at! Also, amplification makes it possible
for upright to successfully be integrated into electric ensembles. So why not
have all these great sounds at our disposal?
DG: Well it's true the acoustic has become
more popular in recent years in hip-hop music and the like. But I tend to have
projects that use either acoustic or electric bass exclusively…
WK: I don't know. I'm just glad I don't have
to carry that thing around. Or pay for the overweight. (laughter)
BAJ: Any comment’s on ‘effected bass’
(phase, chorus, wah, or the Ass Clown 5000 harmonizer)? Along with that…
besides musicality, are bass effects missing, in 2002 AD?
SK: Where effects are concerned, again, it's
really about the context… The piece of music and the moment. When Anthony
chooses to play a passage with the pick & flanger, he knows when it's right.
It's a voice of his. If the bass is soloing on one my recordings, we always try
to tastefully add some reverb around it, but it should always be something one
doesn't 'notice' too much!!! If something is done with good taste, it should
Bob: I like unaltered bass though on some
things - chorus can be a nice thing.
JG: Oh man, I want to hear more of that! I
want someone to step out on the gig with an upright, an electric and a slew of
pedals ready to do some damage! There's so much room to make noise on the
low-end and I want to hear it all. I played a gig last night where the bassist
(Doug Koke) was leaving these gaps in his actual playing so he could step on his
"Big Muff" and lean into his amp and feedback. It was all in time and
I loved it. It grooved hard and was extremely musical. It didn't hurt that I was
running my Martin into a step-phaser and feeding back myself... it was a true
Radiohead moment and I was elated.
DG: The Ass Clown 5000 Harmonizer???!!!
Never heard of it… great name though! (laughter) Effects are great in the
appropriate situation, and at the appropriate time. Tim L. is a master of this.
You have to be careful not to stomp on that mu-tron/phaser/filter thing that
often knocks the bottom out of the bass just when the band gets grooving.
(Editor Note: The ACSK is a design of BAJ’s and he and Chris Ball are
developing it for their next disc. The particular effect incorporates
“AllTone” which provides all chromatic tones for each note played, beginning
with C#. The tune “darnn grimm” will feature this effect.)
WK: Effects can sound great or terrible,
depending on who's doing them. Lefebvre is very ‘on’ with that stuff. I find
BAJ: Naturally, I couldn’t let the
previous question be asked with asking about your views of the fretless bass
guitar, and the concept of vibrato. As guitarists, I am positive that you have
opinions about vibrato that varies from bassists. How could bassists better use
vibrato, and – if you were a bassist – what would you do differently than
what you hear bassists play?
SK: One's vibrato is a very personal thing,
a very expressive thing. I greatly dislike vibrato that is too fast. It always
reminds of some of the awful guitar players from the San Francisco scene in the
late '60s. In most cases, I don't hear vibrato on the fretless bass as being as
offensive as it can be on the guitar. It's usually much more of an 'expressive'
device. For example, both Mark Egan and Jimmy Haslip do beautiful work with the
fretless. Each has a style that’s rich with their own individual
Bob: I personally like to play with
vibrato/bends in a variety of ways. I have a Fender Precision and it is not as
easy to manipulate in the way I manipulate the guitar. It would tend to muck up
the harmony if the bass player was bending like a guitarist, I think due to the
fact that it starts harmonically with the bass and moves upward…
JG: Vibrato… I think if one wants to work
on vibrato, the best way to approach would be to listen to vocalists - instead
of just the people that play that particular instrument. That’s cool too…
But, I’m not a fan of that super-fast, mosquito vibrato that guitar players
sometimes have. It sounds ultra-caffinated and it can pull my attention away
from the music. Just a pet-peeve of mine... I love that kind of sliding vibrato
that Victor Wooten sometimes employs.
DG: I'm a big fan of Jaco and what he did
with the fretless bass guitar, but I find it hard to listen to most other
players without thinking that they are trying to sound like him! He was such a
strong defining presence on that instrument so again, one must try to find their
own sound on their instrument if they don't want to sound like they're
derivative of someone else. The use of vibrato is one of many tools of
expression available and it's use depends on what's called for in a given
WK: I never thought about vibrato in terms
of bass. I guess if someone can do it in a way that doesn't sound contrived or
gratuitous, it can work. My taste runs more to the R&B side of things.
Though, that could change…
BAJ: Last question… Do you feel music is
evolving positively, and where do think the next 10 years will take us
SK: What a question to ask a guy who is
about to turn 55 years old in April!!! I do know this… if anyone had told me
that my hunger to play, or to do creative things, would be higher at this age
than it was in my teens and 20s… I would not have believed them! The other
great thing about getting older, if one pays attention as the years go by, is
that one's maturity is such a gift. Getting older is not something to fear.
Though, I struggle to improve every day… I do know that I am a better player
now – a better maker of music! - than when I began playing, at 19. That’s
reason enough to keep going!
I don't know where things will go in the next 10 years… But, the technology
which allows us too sit alone in front of keyboards and computers can be most
destructive to learning how to MAKE MUSIC with other musicians! Let it be known
that I own, so far, no such computer software, etc.!!! But, I don't know that I
should be proud of that fact! (laughter) I only hope that the ability to make
music is never lost. I also think there will always exist the noble art of the
trio... be it the guitar trio, the piano trio, or the saxophone trio. It's a
beautiful and intimate way to make music!!! I don't want to see the technology
hinder the ability of a young, talented player to learn to make music IN THE
Bob: Also, more mixing up of all the
world’s music... Country and Gamelan music together! That would be
interesting! Thai-Country-Western… Or, how about Slow-Thrash? How about
Contemporary-Old School-Death Goth-Easy Listening?! (much laughter) Music
is positive in that it reveals who we are, as a Human Race. In 10 years we will
still be trying to figure out where we are going. Live in the now… this
moment! Your next breath may be your last… Anyone want to jam?!
Editor note: This is why I love Bob Story!
JG: I do think music is evolving positively.
The music INDUSTRY, on the other hand, is another matter...
I think there is more great music being made now than at any other time in our
history. Not many people are getting a chance to hear it, though. I suppose the
great hope is that the internet will be a pathway in getting this dealt with.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of musicians are thinking outside the box on a
regular basis. The people I try to play with have Metheny right next to
Meshuggah in their CD racks. In my opinion, nothing but good can come from this
sort of thinking! Also, I feel that with these types of musicians
there is a genuine respect and understanding that the past should be metabolized
in order to make serious progress. So it's not just a bunch of dilettantes
regurgitating a few Bird lines over some Bulls*$@ “Jungle Loop”. I have no
idea where music will be in 10 years... I do hope I've made some sort of useful
contribution in that timeframe…
DG: There is always great music going on in
the world, and bad music as well, and it is my life long goal to be open to all
possibilities and to see where it takes me musically and spiritually. Music is
at it's best when it creativity is not dictated by corporate decision making and
expectations, so consequently we must generally look for the most inspirational
and creative developments in music from independent artists and artists who are
truly dedicated to music for music's sake.
WK: Music I have no worries about.
Commercialism, I'm less confident… Mediocrity continues to be pervasive and
it's the artist's job to fight against it in any way they can. Whatever the
Thank you all for your time! I greatly appreciate each of you, and I look
forward to the next disc from each of you! Don’t forget to send it to me!! Guitarists,
are some of the coolest people…! Whodduh thunkitt?!?! Any one of these cats
could have done this interview alone and blown the world away with their
intelligent and passionate responses. So, the next time your ‘dealing’ with
the guitarist in your group, have them check out what the pros really say about
the bassists they hang with, and why they hang with them. Remember too,
that as a bassist… It’s not attempting to become some specific great
player… It is, however, learning to listen in the way a great player has
learned to listen. Bless the world with good vibe, and you will work -wherever
you are! Begin by listening with your deepest ear, and hear what makes a
musician in the worthy opinion of teachers of the subject of this very real,
Steve Khan’s “You Are Here” and other goodies at his website: http://stevekhan.com!
Steve, is an amazing human being, an incredible musical voice, and he responds
to email faster than anyone I’ve ever had the distinct pleasure of writing to!
David Gilmore’s recent release “Ritualism” was nominated for Debut Release
of the Year by the National Association of Jazz Journalists, and also as Best of
2000 on about.com/jazz!
Joe Gamble is the son of fowl. He was hatched as a Basilisk February 28th, 1974
on a farm just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi. When his handlers discovered what
he really was they hastily arranged to have him expelled from the planet via
NASA assistance. He makes a darn fine breakfast sausage gravy, and he’s one of
my favorite people on planet earth. He plans to release his premier disc in
2002. Look for it, Joe, and the definition of Basilisk at: http://www.joegamble.com
Wayne Krantz is a great player and a nice human being. Check him out at: http://www.waynekrantz.com
Photograph by: La Donna Pride
|Brent-Anthony Johnson is a bassist/composer/arranger/instructor
living in the Denver Metropolitan area. He co-leads the group Sonal
Anu and the premier release is scheduled for December 2001!
Stay tuned to Global Bass Magazine for more information. His website
is at www.myspace.com/brentanthonyjohnson