Global Bass Online October 2001
met Ross Krutsinger in 1997 when he called to study with me as a student at
Robbsí Music on Canyon, in Boulder, Colorado.
Since then, the talented bass/keyboard ďdoublerĒ has made his way
onto the stage and into the studio with most of the artists in the Denver
Metropolitan Area, and his list of recording credits grows in leaps and bounds
on an annual basis. A recent
convert to the six-string bass guitar, Ross is also in the midst of recording
his premier solo disc and he will begin taking the stage in support of his
release in the forthcoming months!
and I got together in early September to discuss his career and the new disc.
While we talked, we reminisced about our first meetings and looked
together into the prospective future of this fantastic playerÖ
happeniní, Homie! We havenít
had a chance to chat in quite some time, but Iíve noticed that your career has
really taken off! Thatís very
cool, and it couldnít happen to a nicer Dude.
Letís begin by talking about your impossible sideman schedule, and who
youíre playing with now.
addition to writing and recording for my own project, I try to take gigs in all
styles of music. I have been
working with the Sherrie Scott band (R&B) and I am going to record with that
band, next month. Iíve also been playing keyboards with Latin Jazz group, Echo
Bay. Iíve done gigs with them
every once in a while for the last 6 years as well as a guest bass appearance on
their album. I also have been playing bass in a trio with a great jazz guitarist
named Bard Hoff, playing occasionally with the reggae band Djateí (as a
keyboardist), playing bass with folk-rock singer/songwriter Linette Mae, playing
bass in a Sunday worship band, as well as subbing on country, funk, rock, and
think you were one of the first Native Boulderites that I had met.
Tell us about growing up in Boulder, and how you got turned onto the bass
a relatively small town with lots to do, Boulder was a great place to grow up.
I lived in the foothills outside of Boulder as a kid and learned to
entertain myself since the few other kids around lived pretty far away. The
thing I liked to do was play music. I
started out playing piano at about age 7 and eventually got into electric guitar
at 14. I have always loved a good
groove and have always been intrigued by certain bass phrases when I listened to
musicÖ So, I eventually bought a bass early in college. I learned the bass
really quickly courtesy of my keyboard and guitar knowledge.
It also helped that I was
keys for a band with much older, seasoned players to intensify my musical focus.
Having great players around me all the time encouraged me to shoot for
higher musical targets. Some of the
first bass lines I really studied were reggae lines from that band.
weíre on the subjectÖ Letís talk about the Boulder scene, and what a music
fan can expect to find here.
the annual Gavin Summit convention, Boulder is strongly rooted in the AAA radio
format and I would say that this is a good indicator of what people support.
The bands that do well in Boulder typically play jam-music, bluegrass,
reggae, or blues. But, it seems that more people are getting tired of the same
music because salsa and Latin nights are popular as well as acid-jazz open
rock is still not well received, and for straight-ahead jazz, R&B/soul, hard
rock, country, etc., youíd be better off in Denver.
abundance of 20-somethings and college students is great as is the growing
interest in quality music. There
are now several venues that feature live music 7 nights a week.
Also, I think club owners are more willing now to pay better money for a
good band instead of hiring the cheapest chumps in town, as was
practice a few years ago. Nevertheless,
there are a lot of people in town, especially the long-time
who would much rather eat dinner out and have a couple of bottles of tasty wine
than go see live musicóBoulderís population is somewhat split that way.
are part of a couple interesting concert series with the artists you play with.
Letís talk about those, and also about the better concert halls in this
been doing some concerts with Echo Bay, a Latin-jazz group that I really enjoy.
The leaders are perfectionists and the material is production-intensive
so it requires a lot of preparation time, but the end
is worth it. The group has been playing many of the summer festivals and some of
the Denver jazz clubs. I also
have played quite a few shows with Linette Mae, a singer-songwriter who has a
folk/rock sound. She has been
doing a lot of shows for record labels in addition to some acoustic trio
far as the better venues in town, I always enjoy playing the Fox Theater in
Boulder. It is the best
sounding venue in Boulder, and many touring acts who come through town rave
about it. The Fox also owns the
club next door, Tulagi, and books many good bands there that have a smaller
has Trilogy and ĎRound Midnight - which are both venues that feature live
music. The Gothic
in Denver is nice as well. For the
smaller rooms, I like playing at Sambuca jazz club (Denver), the Soiled Dove
(Denver), and the Little Bear (Evergreen).
Those three rooms are very intimate, with good sound, lights, and
we go onÖ Tell us about the benefits of growing up in a town like Boulder.
Also, tell us what you feel you may have missed out on, as a result of
growing up here.
for the most part is pretty laid-back and people are able to live whatever
lifestyle they want. If youíre
into the outdoors and being active, like I am, Boulder is great for that.
Itís a healthy town with tons of great restaurants.
It is also close to the Denver
metro area, Fort Collins and the ski towns.
Itís a large enough town to have all the amenities, but not so large
that it is a hassle to enjoy it, although it is getting quite congested with
SUVs, and luxury cars. One major
disadvantage about growing up in Boulder is that it is very white and lacks
cultural diversity. Also, this area
doesnít have much of a music industry presence, and has a pretty limited
recording and live music market.
since everything is more spread out here, if youíre not careful, you may spend
more time driving between gigs than actually playing them (laughter).
just sent me a copy of your ďWork In ProgressĒ CDR.
Thanks! It sounds great!
Youíre taking a few notable directions (World Beat & Melodic
Instrumental) that are a departure from the type of work youíre known for.
How did that come about, and what direction are you moving into these
Iíve always enjoyed playing and writing in those styles, itís just that not
many people know that side of meÖ yet! It
is similar to how I am known to the bands with which I workóa lot of people
that know me as a bassist forget that I play keyboards, and vice versa.
I really enjoy using influences from a wide variety of styles and mixing
them together, as I also do live. My
song, Wicked Road is a good example of that.
It has a one-drop drum beat, a fretless bass line, jazz keyboard voicings,
and some blues
here and there. I seem to write a
lot in the jazz-fusion/funk/R&B format and will probably continue to do so.
I also really like to write in different time signatures -
5/4 and 7/8 are both favorites. Iím
also working on straight-ahead jazz, rock, and blues songs at the moment for
this project and others. Instrumental
songs will always be part of my sound, but as my vocal abilities improve, I am
writing to accommodate that more and more.
last time we were able to hang out together was the Grand Opening of Keith
Music, in Longmont, CO. Are you
still teaching there? Please let
our readers in Colorado know how to contact you for lessons!
Keith is a great guy! Iím taking
students at Keith Music as well as at Guitars Etc., both of which are in
you going to support the disc through live performances?
performance will definitely be part of my plan, although I donít have anything
in concrete at the moment. I really
enjoy playing live and to have a song list that incorporates my material as well
as other songs I really enjoy playing would be a lot of fun.
Iíll most likely mix my tunes in with a bunch of fusion, R&B, and
up-beat jazz standards.
voice on the solo disc is split between fretted 6, fretless 4, and keyboard.
How do you plan to reproduce the tunes in a live format?
will play bass live, switching between fretted and fretless.
Iíll hire a strong jazz keyboard player that also has a great funk
feel. Some of the arrangements
involve two bass parts simultaneously. I
will play one part, while the keyboard player or a guitarist plays the other
part. Many of the melodies are
keyboard parts on the recordings, but Iíll likely spread the melodies around
the band for live performance. Iíd
really like to have a sax or trumpet player on stage as well.
I have all the ideal players thought out in my head, but having them
available when itís time to play will determine the final line-up.
Itís a good thing Iím not a selfish player because there will be many
times when Iím just laying down a groove and having one of the
instruments take the spotlight. I
really look forward to hitting the stage with this material.
a strong theoretical background on the keyboards has been very helpful to my
bass playing. Since I am familiar
with building chords and how they sound when played in various inversions, or in
an open versus closed voicing is useful for outlining chord progressions on the
bass. Thinking in terms of a
chordal approach works very well for me, and the 6-string bass accommodates that
nicely. It is very easy when
outlining notes from upper chord extensions to become out of reach on a 4
string, and playing them in a lower register often sounds too muddy.
The extended range of the six allows me to play some of that harmony
without major fretboard shifts.
also think itís really cool that youíve decided to employ the fretless
4-string Ė in conjunction with the fretted 6.
As we discussed I played 4-string fretless for years, before moving to
the 6 fretless. I really dug that
approach to the separate (but similar) instruments.
Do you think keeping the 4 fretless and 6 fretted separated in your brain
has helped you to develop your voice on the 6 fretted?
the two basses share a lot of the same territory, I definitely use two different
approaches when playing the 4 and the 6. Itís quite refreshing to just get
back to the 4 string because it forces a different way to play certain lines.
Similarly, the 6 offers a lot of freedom that allows me to play different
phrases and voicings. Having the
two approaches opens up different ideas and that this has influenced my voice on
the fretted 6 as well as giving me new ideas on the 4 string.
us about your gear, and your gear goals for the next year.
using a Peavey Cirrus 6 string fretted (redwood over alder), and a custom Surine
fretless 4 (walnut body, ebony board) as my primary basses.
I also still have some of my 5s still hanging around that Iíll break
out occasionally. I play live
without any effects through an Aguilar DB680 preamp and DB720 poweramp for most
gigs, but for the really quiet gigs Iíll use a SWR SM-400s.
In the studio I use the Aguilar DB680 or my Evil Twin tube preamp to go
direct to tape, in addition to miking my cabinet, sometimes going through a nice
tube compressor on the way. For the
next year I am going to finish and release my CD and start assembling players
for the live work. Iíd like to be
out performing with this material relatively soon.
also a huge proponent of Aguilar amplifiers.
What do you like so much about them?
one thing I really love about Aguilar gear is the incredible
tone that I get when I play through them. I
used some pretty decent tube/solid state hybrid gear in the past without
complaints, but once I started playing through the Aguilar I was blown away, as
was everybody on my gigs. I never
knew what I was missing until I tried the Aguilar amps.
Those things are extremely well built as well, which is a requirement of
mine. Although I teat my equipment
very well, I canít tolerate unreliable crap that is
to breaking down.
us about your bass enclosure set-up.
I have a BagEnd D10BXD 2x10 cabinet and an EV 4x10 cabinet.
Iíll mix and match them as needed for each gig.
I like the sound I get when I combine the tubes with a crystal-clear
speaker cabinet such as the BagEnd. Iím
happy with my gear, but I would really like to try the Wayne Jones cabinets!
have to let you borrow mine for a few upcoming gigs, Ross!
The WJís are absolutely the best bass enclosures Iíve ever
played! Check Wayne out at:
you playing any tours this year?
was called to do a 12-day tour in Africa, but as it turned out, music was a
secondary motive. If Iím going to
be away from home, I want to be in a focused musical situation, so I turned the
Africa trip down. I would like to
do some touring though, so if the right call comes in, Iíll probably hit the
road for a bitÖ but I donít have anything planned right now.
with the CDR of your project, you sent the URL to your website!
Tell our readers where they can get to your site.
my website is http://www.digagroove.com/
Check it out! Right now the site is
pretty basic, but is going to have some major modifications in the future so I
can incorporate audio clips and have more control over the appearance of the
tell our readers about your other hobbies, and where youíre most likely to be
seen in the coming months!
Iím not playing music Iím usually hanging out with my wife and dogs.
You may find me on the golf course, riding Harleys, working out, or
hiking. Iíll be working with Echo
Bay some more (www.echobayjazz.com),
playing jazz, and freelancing around the Denver metro area.
People can also visit me at the music stores where I teach, or drop me a
line at the website to get current gig schedules.
Ross! Check out Rossí website,
and see him on the gig if you get a chance!
Ross is a fine player and Iím certain you wonít be disappointed.
After all these years of knowing him, he remains an engaging and very
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