Born: April 1, 1947 Primary Instrument: Bass, acoustic
Bassist, composer, educator Frank Tusa has had a wide variety of recording, and performing experiences with such diverse artists as Art Blakey, Buddy Montgomery, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Tommy Flanagan,Pepper Adams, Shelly Manne, Bobby Hutcherson, Johnny Griffin, Herb Ellis, Art Farmer, Richie Beirach,Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, John Abercrumbie, George Cables and many other great jazz artists. Tusa’s early recordings are with jazz legends Paul Bley, Don Cherry and Dave Liebman. Frank was one of the original members of Dave Liebman’s critically acclaimed group “Lookout Farm”.
In 1980 Frank relocated to San Francisco after spending many years learning and working through the ranks of his native New York City scene. After arriving in San Francisco he very quickly became known as one of the finest musicians in the bay area and has been in constant demand for his solid rhythmic anchoring and eloquent melodic lines. He has also been very active in music education teaching at San Jose State and Stanford University.
Awards:National Endowment of the Jazz Performance Fellowship Grant
Frank Tusa is the perfect bassist for this material. You can't rely on the standard bag of tricks when you're playing behind Richie Beirach. You have to be on your toes. Tusa responds to the challenge with the some of the most lucid bass playing I've ever heard. He's constantly responding to what Beirach does rhythmically, sometimes strumming the accoustic bass almost like a percussion instrument. His walking is always tasteful, always original and never a cliche. His tone is gutsy and beautiful. I tend not to notice bass players, but Frank Tusa doesn't disappear into the background, even in this band of consummate professionals.