Primary Instrument: Bass
Upon graduating from the Indiana University School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in Doublebass Performance in 1975, I had $30, a bass, a ’66 Volvo and a job offer from the Orquestra Symphonica Nationale de Mexico in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Naturally, I took the job. Overall, it was a great experience.
After a year I had saved a small nest egg and moved to Chicago (near where I was raised) and began a fledgling career as a free-lance bassist. Ironically, my first job offer was to play electric bass three nights a week with a Brazilian band in a Mexican restaurant! Over the course of the next two years, I gradually became more involved in the Chicago jazz scene and gained a great deal of valuable experience as a member of a house trio at a jazz club where a different big name would come to town and perform with us. During a nine month period I was in this jazz university I performed with some real masters including, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Buddy DeFranco, Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, and the like. I was 22 years of age and extremely lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.
Many of the aforementioned artists encouraged me to move to New York and become part of arguably the most important jazz scene in the United States. Naively, I took their advice (in retrospect, I probably was not ready) and in the fall of 1978 my wife Darla and our two cats threw all of our stuff into a U Haul truck and moved to the Big Apple.
Since moving to New York, I have been blessed to have performed, toured world-wide and/or recorded with a virtual who's who of jazz artists including Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Al Haig, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Tommy Flanagan, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Hal Galper, and numerous others. Today, I actively perform with an impressive array of artists including: James Moody, Ahmad Jamal, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, and was the last bassist to perform with The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. I have released two CD's as a leader entitled Tomorrows and Lexicon, the latter featuring pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Lewis Nash, and special guest artist Joe Henderson for the Double-Time Jazz label.
My most recent performing involvements include concerts and club appearances with The James Moody Quartet, a group I have been associated with for 18 years as well as free lace work in New York City, Europe, and Japan.
In addition to my (thankfully) busy performing schedule, I am also a jazz educator. I am Director of Jazz Studies at Purchase College (SUNY). I am tweaking the Jazz Studies Program and am pleased to see it developing to one of the finest programs in the nation. For over twenty years I have remained active as a clinician and lecturer at universities throughout the world. I have written two books, The Bass Tradition and The Bottom Line, published by Aebersold Jazz Aids. I have earned a Ph.D. in Music and Performing Arts Professions from New York University (1997). I am frequently involved as a writing and research consultant for jazz history and CD liner note projects. I won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for my lengthy contribution to the Miles Davis boxed set entitled Miles Davis Quintet 1965-1968.