David Basse began his professional music career in 1969, when his parents trusted the neighbors to keep an eye on him while they vacationed in California. Basse seized that opportunity and turned it into a six-night gig at a local cocktail lounge with a band named “Carroll Lee and the Moonlighters”. This gig was the first small step in mastering many styles of drumming and subsequently learning to sing from the drumset. He stayed with Lee for the next three years, earning his way through high school and onto the road at age 17. In 1974, he landed in Kansas City, after gigs in Denver, Nashville, New Orleans, Winnipeg, a trip to LA and various teenaged forays throughout the United States.
In August of 1982 David Basse began his focus on jazz. He made a tough decision: attend his tenth high school class reunion, or take a much-needed gig at City Light, then a brand new Kansas City nightclub located at 7425 Broadway. Little did he know that that one night stand with vocalist Pricilla Bowman would turn into almost seven years, five nights a week at the nightclub and an opportunity to rub elbows with politicians, community leaders, and to jam with jazz royalty such as Johnny Griffin, Richie Cole, and Les McCann. The regular members of the band often included Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Carmell Jones, and Basse’s newfound mentor Ahmed Alaadeen.
Meeting drummer Bill Goodwin in 1985 led Basse to try his luck in the Los Angeles. Bill introduced David to pianist Mike Melvoin; a musician that David had idolized from Mike’s extensive studio work and on records by Tom Waits, Frank Sinatra and many others. Starting in 1992, Melvoin helped Basse establish himself in L.A. and to develop a body of original material that continues to grow to this day. West coast bands led by Basse featured Melvoin and other noted musicians such as bassist Andy Simkins, trumpeter Steve Huffstetter, trombonist Slyde Hyde, and drummer Earl Palmer.