Born: June 21, 1950 Primary Instrument: Piano
Pianist, composer and lyricist Dave Bass was born in Cincinnati, where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. After leaving home, he worked a variety of commercial gigs, including a tour of Japan, Singapore and Malaysia as Brenda Lee's pianist. While living in Boston, Dave studied composition with George Russell and Avram David and piano with legendary teacher Margaret Chaloff who schooled him in the Russian Technique, a unique tool for tone production and musical articulation. Often a lesson would not go beyond using a weightless wrist to correctly play a single note.
During the ’70s and early ’80s, Dave supported himself as a musician in the vibrant San Francisco jazz and Latin music scene, leading his own group and playing with Bobby McFerrin, Babatunde Lea, Jackie Ryan and others. In 1981, Jackie Ryan invited Dave to play a long-term jazz gig on Maui with her, which led to Dave becoming Entertainment Director at the Royal Lahaina.
After a wrist fracture in the mid-’80s placed Dave’s music career in doubt and, with a young daughter to care for, Dave enrolled at the University of California, Irvine, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. Dave went on to UCLA School of Law where he was an Editor of the UCLA Law Review. Dave began his legal career in 1992 and is now a California Deputy Attorney General in civil rights enforcement. For his work in protecting neighborhoods from dangerous street gangs, Dave won the 2009 Attorney General's Award for Outstanding Achievement.
In 2005, after having been gone from the music scene for over 20 years, Dave once again embraced his musical aspirations and re-entered the world of music. That re-entry was the fortuitous coming together of Dave's self-discovery efforts and an invitation to play some impromptu solo piano during a party while the regular band took a break. As a result of his impromptu playing, Dave was invited to play at local jam sessions, where he once again fell in love with how deeply satisfying it was to tell a story through music. Dave's long-forgotten dreams of playing and composing jazz were re-kindled.
Since then, Dave has many projects, including the exciting Afro-Cuban Jazz quartet, La Descarga!
In June 2010, Dave released Gone with the Dave Bass Quartet featuring Ernie Watts, Babatunde Lea, Gary Brown and guest vocalist, Mary Stallings. Gone showcases ten of Dave's original rock-solid compositions ranging from post-bebop, sultry ballads, gospel, straight-ahead, and bossa nova, to tango. In addition to Dave's originals, Gone features an exciting duet with Ernie and Dave on Astor Piazzolla's famous Libertango. Gone was produced by Babatunde Lea and Dave Bass.