Born: November 7, 1950 Primary Instrument: Bass, acoustic
Don Mopsick began his musical career as a teenager in his hometown of Linden, NJ, performing on trumpet and bass guitar for local ethnic dances. After High School, he attended Rutgers University and Berklee College of Music. His first professional gigs were with Rosemary Clooney around Boston.
Mopsick’s musical interests have always been eclectic and far-ranging. He was graduated from The Manhattan School of Music in 1977 with a degree in Tuba Performance. While in New York, he performed on tuba and bass with The Smith Street Society, Lee Castle (with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra), Jim Chapin, John Carisi, Benny Ventura, the Paul Jefferey Octet and others.
After a move to Ft. Myers FL in 1977, Mopsick began private study on double bass with Lucas Drew at the University of Miami. He moved to Orlando in 1983 and began work at Walt Disney World, Circus World, Rosie O’Grady’s, and as a free- lance bassist state-wide. From 1983-86 he performed nightly at the Empress Lilly at Lake Buena Vista with the Riverboat Rascals.
He played concert dates for, among others, The Jazz Club of Sarasota, The Treasure Coast Jazz Society (Vero Beach), The Gainesville Friends of Jazz, the Central Florida Jazz Society, and taught clinics at Valdosta (Georgia) State University.
Mopsick played Florida concert dates with Howard Alden, Mousey Alexander, Mose Allison, Bill Allred, Dan Barrett, John Bunch, Pete Christleib, Al Cohn, Richie Cole, Ike and Fred Cole, Kenny Davern, Buddy DeFranco, Allen Eager, Terry Gibbs, Scott Hamilton, Buddy Morrow (with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra), Ken Peplowski, Flip Phillips, Red Rodney, Bob Rosengarden, Ira Sullivan, Clark Terry, Warren Vaché Jr., Joe Wilder and many others.
Don joined the 7-piece Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio TX in 1991, where he played nightly at The Landing jazz club and toured with the band (including a 17-day tour of Russia and Siberia in 2007), and recorded hundreds of hours for the Riverwalk Jazz public radio series with guests such as Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Bob Wilber, Dick Hyman, Topsy Chapman, Kenny Davern, Milt Hinton, Nicholas Payton, Ralph Sutton, “Sweets” Edison, Harry Allen, Dan Barrett, Joe Williams, Rebecca Kilgore, Stephanie Nakasian, Linda Hopkins, Bob Barnard, Bucky and John Pizzarelli and many others. He left the band in March 2010.
Mopsick currently lives in Cape Coral, FL and works as a free- lance bassist throughout Southwest and Central Florida.
From 1993 to 2005 he was on the faculty of the Stanford Summer Jazz Camp, teaching classes and giving private lessons to students between the ages of 12-17.
In 1995, Mopsick created one of the first jazz sites on the web for the Riverwalk Jazz radio series. These days, he continues to create new content for their current site and is an Associate Producer for Pacific Vista Productions, producers of Riverwalk Jazz.
Cape Coral, FL
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
I studied Music Education at Rutgers University. I've taught classroom music at the Middle, High School and College levels. I created and designed a jazz recorder curriculum for grades 3-5 for Riverwalk Jazz. Available to travel for clinics, jazz camps, etc. nationwide.
For younger students, my approach to teaching swing rhythm and improvisation is through first memorizing simple swinging riffs using one or two notes at the beginning stage; then ear training through mimicking and games. For older, more advanced students who read music only, my method of teaching swing rhythm feel is through listening to examples, having them first sing their written instrumental parts, then approaching playing "off the page" and soloing as above emphasizing swing rhythm and restricted note choices at first. Bass "master class" focus is on the elements of playing time using "beautiful quarter notes;" song forms 12-bar blues, then 32-bar AABA "I Got Rhythm." Also, I cover the elements of constructing walking bass lines. In my private lessons, the desired outcome is a bass player that can generate a robust sound and attack; and a steady, swinging pulse.