Once a year the stars align (pun intended) and some of us are lucky enough to experience four days of nothing but music (and admittedly a hell of a lot of business) at the Namm trade show in Anaheim. For those of you who haven’t experienced, or just don’t know about Namm, it’s an extraordinary opportunity to hear, meet, and schmooze with a ton of great players from all over the world.
I’m going to forgo the business aspect of that weekend and talk about what I personally enjoy most, which is hearing and talking to an amazing amount of bassists that I have great respect for, and through my association with the magazine, have become good friends with.
The most prominent issue I feel I need to address about that weekend is how stunned I am at the high level of camaraderie that the bass community embraces. I’m sorry, but I think we own this one compared to any other communities. Understand, my point is not to delegate my opinion into some kind of contest mode; it’s purely an appreciative observation by a fellow bassist. If our involvement in music, our personal voice, is truly a representation of who we are, at its essence, it’s no wonder that after hearing some extraordinary music from all these players, how much sense that makes as I see what extraordinary people they are. To further exemplify the point I’m trying to make, I’ll say it in another way, possibly a simpler way, by taking a quote out of my interview with Jerry Watts in this issue. He stated, “People that play with a good feel probably feel good, there’s a correlation there”. I hope that presents some food for thought on another way of looking at how to improve your (musical) voice.
Other highlights of the show were Bass Bash on Thursday and Friday night, which was put on by Peter Deculier of the San Diego Bass Alliance. Featured artists were Brian Bromberg, Adam Nitti, Scott Ambush, Billy Dickens, Steve Lawson, Ric Fierabracci, (featured in this issue) Jerry Watts Jr. (also featured in this issue) Doug Johns, Joel Smith, Jauqo III-X, Brady Muckelroy, and Bernard Lackner. Not a bad couple of nights of music.
Another moving moment was catching Matt Garrison, Mike Pope, and Hadrian Feraud at the Fodera/Epifani booth. Best that I can share with you, it was possibly the optimum musical experience as far as unrivaled technique completely balanced with an amazing amount of taste, and a ton of soul to boot—-quite an accomplishment for three guys jamming at a booth.
It was also a pleasure to catch Marcus Miller and Etienne Mbappe (an amazing player that we will feature in our next issue) at the EBS booth.
I couldn’t catch everyone, and my apologies for any bassist I haven’t mentioned that was there and deserves that acknowledgement, and I’ll leave you with this parting thought. I’m never able to come back after the show, after watching all these inspired players, without re-evaluating some aspect of my personal musical quest. Two important points to pull from that are:
1) I’m sure every player, even those at the top of their game, goes through that phenomenon, which indicates to me that our journey to expand and grow as musicians never ends.
2) Hearing these talented people is what keeps us moving, learning, and inspired, and at the risk of sounding a bit philosophical, in my opinion, it’s that continued movement, the journey, not the goal, that’s all important.
Jake Kot, Editor