Born: January 18, 1956 Primary Instrument: Bass, acoustic
My first exposure to music was as a first grader, my mom got me some accordion lessons. That didn't last long, I managed to avoid music until high school, where I got my first exposure to playing jazz tunes and improvising over form, as well as learning to read music. I did the usual high school/ college thing of playing electric bass in rock to fusion bands while taking classical theory and harmony at the local college . Until I met a guitar player who uttered the fateful words Didja ever hear any Clifford Brown? which got me at least listening to more straight ahead music (and some acoustic free-bag), if not actually playing more straight ahead. I did a boat gig in the Mediterranean for about a year with that guitar player and began playing more jazz tunes. The boat gig put me in a good enough financial situation to buy an upright and attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. I ended up cutting most of my legit classes to play, though. I was fortunate enough to play in the ensembles of people like Ken Pullig and George Garzone and do sessions with Klaus Suonsaari, Ian Froman, Dave Kikoski, Tim Williams, Donald Harrison and others. I returned to Augusta GA in 1983 and was able to work with not only local players like Tyrone Jefferson (ex-Slide Hampton), Terry Rosen (ex -Woody Herman) but also Clifford Jordan, Junior Mance, and Bill Barron, who came through town. At this time I was also chosen to attend master classes given at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (in New Smyrna Beach FL), one with Elvin Jones and one with Charlie Haden.
I moved to NYC in 1987 and the exposure to the scene and the musicians here has been great. I was fortunate to be able to work with Leon Parker when I first moved up here, some trios at AUGIE'S and a quintet doing original music. He taught me a lot about interactivity and assertiveness in a rhythm section. My recent stint with (singer) Dakota Staton really made me concentrate on the pocket and defining the (harmonic) direction of a piece. Working with such wonderful players (some on a regular basis) has been inspiring. I especially credit my teacher, Joe Solomon (ex-Lennie Tristano), with helping me make tremendous strides over the last five years. I am currently working with three different groups on a regular basis: JEFF SILVERBUSH QUINTET - Jeff's a great writer and the band is great to work with. The rhythm section I am especially happy with, Jacob Sacks on piano and John Bollinger on drums. Always supportive but always surprising. JON RANEY TRIO - Jon has written and arranged some great material for this group, his ear and solo line are unparalleled. Eric Halvorson is the drummer and meeting him and playing with him for the first time was like dawn in the mountains. TUESDAY NIGHT PRAYER MEETING - Dave Marck and I have been doing steady sessions on Tuesday nights for longer than I can remember. In the last year it's become less an open session and more a steady quartet with Dan Greenblatt on tenor and Chris Roselli on drums. The book is a nice mix of standards, not-so-standards and originals. We were recently tagged to do the accompanying playalong CD to Dan's book, THE BLUES SCALES:Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation, published by Sher Music and distributed by Hal Leonard. I've also just had a book of my own published, WALKING BASSICS: The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing, also by Sher Publishing.
I can be heard on the following recordings: JON RANEY TRIO - Waltz for Talia BURT ECKOFF - Ecology JEFF SILVERBUSH QUINTET - Pojo JEFF SILVERBUSH QUINTET - Grandma Mickey CHARLEY KRACHY QUARTET - Jazzman's Serenade