"Since moving to Austin, it has felt more necessary to drag out my laundry list of all the big name folks I've played with over the years. This list represents the ones I could remember, some of them going back to 1980. It's been a good mental exercise for sure, and I will add more as they seep out from the dark recessed grey matter that is my brain."
Greg Abate, Steve Allen, Bruce Arnold, Bruce Barth, Joe Beck, Joshua Breakstone, Joe Cohn, Junior Cook, Larry Coryell, Hal Crook, Albert Dailey, Eddie Daniels, Kenny Davern, Buddy DeFranco, Dena Derose, Ursula Dudziak, Marc Elf, Alan Farhnam, Garrison Fewell, Robben Ford, George Garzone, Matthias Teece Gohl, Wycliffe Gordon, Brad Hatfield, Greg Hopkins, Paul Horn, Steve Hunt, Illinois Jaquette, Clay Jenkins, Randy Johnston, Stacy Kent, Dave Kikowski, Bob Kindred, Alain Mallett, Kitty Margolis, Dmitri Matheny, Mel Martin, Jimmy Maxwell, Jimmy McPartland, John Medeski, Mike Metheny, Gunnar Mossblad, Abe Most, Sal Nistico, Ken Peplowski, Enrico Pieranunzi, Tim Ray, Kim Richmond, Scott Robinson, Matt Rollings, Ted Rosenthal, Claudio Roditi, Ali Ryerson, Randy Sandke, Gray Sargent, Carl Saunders, George Schuller, Bud Shank, Dee Sharp, John Stowell, Dave Stryker, Tierney Sutton, Lew Tabackin, Michal Urbaniak, Alan Vache, Frank Vignola, Ben Wittman
Blues, R&B, Country, Rock, Pop
Johnny Adams, Little Frankie Blandino, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Sax Gordon Beadle, Lew Christie, The Drifters, Mighty Sam McClain, The Cornell Hurd Band, Linda Hopkins, The Ink Spots, Bruce Katz, Jim Kelly, Robert Junior Lockwood, David Maxwell, The Marvellettes, The Platters, Annie Raines, Marty Richards, Paul Rishell, Martha & The Vandellas, Barrence Whitfield and The Savages, Mike Williams.
Show Biz, etc.
All Night Strut, Anna Maria Alberghetti, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, The Opera Company Of Boston, Ann Hampton-Calloway, Liz Calloway, Dianne Carroll, Vic Damone, Disney Symphonic Fantasy, 42nd Street, The New Christy Minstrels, Nite Club Confidential, Little Shop Of Horrors, Georgie Jessell, Mama Mia, Al Martino, Tony Martin, Susan Sommers, Tiny Tim, Demond Wilson, Stars Of The Lawrence Welk Show
My Life In A Nutshell
"I started out like a lot of kids playing guitar. In 1969, The Johnny Cash Show was on tv, and his hit "A Boy Named Sue" just grabbed me. Not the best tune in his repertoire perhaps, but I've always had a thing for humor in music. Every week I watched as Johnny spun around, hit a C chord and said - "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash". I knew right away that I was going to be a musician.
Guitar led to acoustic bass in 7th grade, I already knew the strings, so it didn't take long to figure out where the notes were. I started taking lessons from Marvin Toplosky of the Metropolitan Opera symphony at age 13. I used to take the subway from Queens to Port Authority in Manhattan, take a bus, then walk about a mile to his house. He taught me things that have stuck with me to this very day, and I still have the German bow he sold me for $60.
I went to the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, played in the orchestra and took my first jazz classes there. I was studying with Joe Bongiorno through High School, a great teacher and nice guy. I had intended to go to a conservatory for college, but realized that I just wasn't cut out for the classical scene. I enrolled at Berklee College of Music - on guitar of all things, but after an intervention by an older friend that had survived "Berzerklee", I wisely switched to bass and never looked back.
Berklee was an amazing time, I gathered way more information than I could possibly absorb, but got a lot of great playing experience in that led to the gig scene in Boston. I freelanced around Beantown from '77 to '82, then moved back to NY to "make it there".
NY was like grad school, I had several epiphanies there. One: Having chops doesn't mean shit to people outside the jazz scene. Two: If I was going to make a living at this - I'd better start taking the electric bass seriously. Three: Refer to Epiphany #1. Oh, and Four: NEVER work for a booking agent from Brooklyn that has two first names.
I wound up going back to Boston, Ianded a steady 7 night a week gig, started teaching at Berklee, got married and had a kid. Much more gigging, teaching, studio work, etc... I went back to school to get a Masters in Education, and my thesis got published by Hal Leonard. "Building Walking Bass Lines" has been out for 16 years and has taught several generations of players how to walk through changes. I began writing for Bass Player magazine in '92 and developed a fairly good reputation for my instructional articles.
[The abridged version of my magazine career: Wrote for BP until '04, then became Senior Editor for their competition, Bass Guitar magazine. BG was unceremoniously shut down in '06 and I started writing gear reviews for the right hand of the executioner - Guitar World. So far, I'm still there... but I've learned not to assume ANYTHING is permanent in the high-stakes, fast-paced, crap-money world of music journalism.]
I took the early retirement plan and moved to Tucson in '96 to be near my daughter while she grew up. It was culture shock to say the least, but now I feel at home in the west. I'd never live in the east again - too many damn people! While in AZ, I wrote many more books, played with a lot of visiting jazz artists through the Tucson Jazz Society, got remarried to my perfect partner Dawn, and got back into the music that brought me into this business in the first place - country (and western). For several years, Dawn and I had a band called Big In Vegas with our good friend Louie Levinson. We played honky tonks around Tucson and the southern AZ area, and frankly.... I enjoyed that more than all the ultra-hip jazz I used to think was the shit. When my daughter left AZ to go to college, we took that as a sign to pack it up, and moved to Austin, TX.
I've been in Austin since '06 and have not regretted it for a minute. It's a great place to live, the gig scene is alive with all sorts of music. I find there is interest in my services as a teacher here, and I've been able to play with a wide variety of musicians in many different styles. I still occasionally do the jazz thing, though it's not my main focus. I'm really enjoying bouncing around between musical genres, but it seems that I tend to favor the honky tonk, and roots scene. I'm still writing books for Hal Leonard, doing gear reviews for Guitar World and Bass Gear magazines, cultivating my alternate persona as "The Bass Whisperer", and fueling my never-ending lust for all things bass.
So now you know."