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     Early last month my 15-year-old son Matt, who has been learning bass since February, said he had a school assignment to interview someone in the profession he’d like to enter.  He said he wanted to interview a bass player, and family members were excluded.  “Sounds like a road trip to me,” I said.  We checked Mark Peterson’s website and learned he was filling in for Booker King of the Stew Cutler Trio on the following Friday, and then leaving Saturday for a European tour with James Blood Elmer.  I called Mark, and he thought it was a great idea.  I interviewed Mark for Global Bass in May 2000 with his CD, The Blue Room, available at ??.

     Although Mark Peterson has a great band of his own, this past month we had a chance to hear him as a great fill-in bassist.  Amazing.  He plays for many different groups in many different styles, including blues with James Blood Elmer, jazz with his own group and several others.  He fills in for bass players in gigs all over town, including Broadway shows like Miss Saigon.  And he's traveled with legends like Joan Baez.  

     But to fill-in for the bassist in a trio is obviously not an easy gig.  Theoretically you’re responsible for 1/3 of the sound.  If you’ve never heard how difficult and demanding Booker King, the regular bassist with Stew Cutler, makes that responsibility, we highly recommend you listen to the trio's two CDs, both now available at CDBaby.

     The show was at Kavehaz in Soho.  They say Kavehaz is Bohemian for Coffeehouse, and Soho is short for south of Houston, which is pronounced Howston.  We didn’t care either.  We were there to see Mark Peterson with the Stew Cutler Trio.  But it was the perfect place.

     Having his first CD, Trio Music, I was somewhat familiar with Stew’s music.  He’s a remarkable guitarist with a wide array of talent displayed by a very creative ability.  His drummer, Gary Bruer, has been with him for a long time, and it shows.  Their tightness, albeit with musical freedom, would make subbing for their bassist even more difficult ~and at the same time more rewarding.  For a bass player it’s always fun to play with a tight drummer, and Gary Bruer was perfect.

     We arrived at Kavehaz in time to see the opening act, throughout which our heads kept turning toward the door, Matt nervous with his recorder waiting for Mark.  About 15 minutes before show time, in walks this guy with a gig bag on his back, pulling a hand truck with his bass rig “permanently” attached. 

     “I like to get in and out with the horn players,” Mark later said of his efficient set up.  

     He has a great sense of humor, as most bass players do, and he's also predictably supportive with a wonderful spirit for existence.  Without a bassist, what a sad world it would be.  That night he was sporting a great gas-station-attendant look, complete with baseball cap and a nametag that indicated Elvis was in the building.   

     These photos were taken by my wife Barbara.  At first I figured she moved when snapping the shots, but then I realized that each picture has a still person and Mark in it, which obviously depicts his unbelievable speed on stage.  The third photo shows Mark complimenting a more relaxed tune.

     The show, for which Mark had little preparation time, featured most of Stew's second CD, which I purchased that night.  What a place, what a band, what a sound.  How well the fill-in fit in.  On his own CD, The Blue Room, Mark writes and plays a wide variety of musical styles with both his upright and his electric bass.  Not only an occupational cross-dresser, but a cross bassist as well.

     This night was no exception to the plethora of technique this bass attendant can demonstrate.  As mentioned, the trio allowed vast freedom within the structure of each tune, and that helps keep the audience a big part of a good night.  It also helped Mark keep demonstrating various  techniques, making it a perfect night for my son to see the best of what goes on with good a bass player.  Two techniques Matt picked up that night were right-palm muting (you lefty's know what I mean) while playing with the thumb to give an upright sound, and making the bass say "Thank you" as you lip sync your appreciation of the audience applause. {Support LIVE entertainment to improve your craft.}

     It wasn't until I got home to play the new CD that I could fully appreciate just how good a fill-in Mark Peterson truly is.  

Stew Cutler, Matt Straub, Mark Peterson and myself

     Thanks to Mark we'll assume Matt will get an A on his report, and, if you're really interested, check back later this month in the News & Special Additions section for the actual results.  

     In addition to the wonderful night of music and people, we had a terrific time in New York City the whole weekend.  We stayed just a few blocks away from so-called "Ground Zero."  (Has everyone seen TheBassGuy's tribute photos - (Note: 2009 - Found a viral threat on this site, so I removed the link. BE WARNED! ~Scotty)   He, Michael Cohen, is another New York bass player we'll be featuring later in this month's News.)  We had all been to New York many times, but this time was special.  The New Yorkers were special.  Some of the tourists were still suspicious, but the New Yorkers had a renewed sense of pride and purpose.  Many of us around the globe are reaching out to New Yorkers with love and respect.  They deserve it.  We were privileged to be there.   Here's a photo we took of what appeared to be Curly's Ghost keeping a smile on everyone's face. (It will open a new window ;-)

The other BassSick New New York Pix

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