Michael League – Snarky Puppy

A great bass line is the sum of all the parts that make a great bass player.

There is Technique.   If you haven’t worked on your right and left hand and the coordination between them you won’t be able to get that bass line out of your hands and onto your bass.  Your technique will let you put that note right where you want to.

There is Tone.  Yes, it’s partly the bass and the amp but mostly it’s your hands.  See technique.

There are the notes that you choose to play.  The notes are what you hear in your head.  The notes come from your knowledge of theory and harmony.  The notes come from every bass line you’ve ever listened to.

There is Time. You have to put the notes in just the right place.  Right on the 1? A push?  Ghost notes?  On an 1/8, 1/16  or another division of time.  Exactly where  you meant to play it.  Not ahead or behind but right in that intangible place that bass players call the pocket.   Can you hide the click and make it swing? Continue reading

Folk Music Ontario Conference

If you are ever asked to play for an artist at the annual Folk Music Ontario conference  your answer will be an emphatic yes!  Paid or not you should go!  I guarantee an experience you will never forget.

IMG_1616In October I had one of my best musical experiences since my return to music.  I played bass for Rant Maggie Rant as well as Barry James Payne’s group String Bone at the Folk Music Ontario Conference (FMOC) at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga.

In a nutshell the FMOC is 3 day event for musicians to showcase their talent to other industry people be it musicians, agents or festival artistic directors.  There are official invite only showcases during the early evening hours and unofficial private showcases that take place after hours between 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. on a couple of floors of the hotel. Continue reading

Sig’s Strings Sight Reading Tip.

I play double bass in an amateur string group led by Sig Martin from Orchestra London.   I have little in the way of experience in the classical music world and through Sig I’m learning to appreciate the music more as well as working on my arco chops.  I’ve also cracked open my ancient copy of the Simandl double bass method to further improve my skills with the bow.  My goal is to add an hour or so of double bass practice to my day. Continue reading

Jason Raso Interview

Jason Raso is a bassist, composer and educator from Guelph, Ontario.  I can’t remember when I first came across the name.  It might have been through the videos he’s done with Ultimate Basses in Guelph.  He and Dave, the owner of Ultimate Basses, will test my Fodera dream basses and share the experience on video.

I admire what he is creating for himself.  He’s writing music and releasing records on his own label Moped Records.  He’s putting together shows at venues like the River Run Centre in Guelph as well as reaching out and playing with some of the heavy hitters in Toronto.   I picked up his most recent record Slingshot as well as a Moped Records T-shirt and asked Jason if he’d be open to answering a few questions.   Here’s the result of that mail exchange.

The-Jason-Raso-Quartet-SlingshotDo you come from a musical family?  If yes, who played which instrument?  Mom and Dad musical?  If parents not musical where did you start?  The reason I ask is that I’m the first musician in my family as far as I know.  Having everyone sing Happy Birthday can be awful.

My parents are not musicians but they certainly love music. My two brothers are also musicians (guitar and drums). Music was always playing in the house. My older brother started on guitar and we all followed suit. My parents were and continue to be very supportive. Continue reading

Some Musical Math

Q: What’s the difference between a musician and a pizza?

A: The pizza can feed a family of four!

It’s a tired joke about life as a musician and in many cases it’s not that far from the truth.  Yes, there is less work out there for the full time musician but I think many musicians, especially those that are not trying make a living, don’t mind playing a gig for little or no money. Continue reading

New Rant Maggie Rant Record

One of the groups I play bass for is the Irish/Celtic band Rant Maggie Rant.  I’ve been playing with them since their Frost and Fire tour leading up to Christmas last year.  I got the call again for series of shows around St Patty’s Day this year.

The best show of that weekend was playing at Hugh’s Room in Toronto.  It’s the third time the band has played St Patty’s weekend there so it’s becoming a bit of a tradition.   I’ve played Hugh’s Room several times now but this is the first time I’ve played there  to a sold out crowd who were ready for a party.    Continue reading

Advice For Club Owners and Musicians – David Goldberg

I came across a great article online by David Goldberg, reposted on the blog www.grassrootsy.com.  He sums up all that is not right with the music business these days and well worth reading.  I’ve reposted the article with David’s permission.  Click to find out more about David and his music.  Enjoy the article. Great working title don’t you think?  Feel free to comment after reading.

Why LA club owners are totally lost and some advice from a professional musician.

As I’ve been looking for gigs lately, I’ve never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue promoter? The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band’sresponsibility to make this happen, not the club owner. Continue reading

Shameless Self Promotion

There was a time in my high school and college days when I was scared of my shadow and doubted my abilities as a musician.  After 20 years running a small business the shadow is no longer an issue although I think self doubt is just part of being a musician for many of us.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over that part of my personality but I am so grateful to be able to do what I do on a regular basis.  There really is nothing quite like a live performance. Continue reading