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Editor's Notes

The “New” Fusion

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OK—I’ll get right to the “question marks” around “New”. Many years ago in an article in Bass Player Magazine, Alain Caron speaking about the music he was working on at present, and dealing with the topic of “fusion” being kind of on its way out, made the statement, “Its all fusion”. He was simply making the point that every genre “fuses” elements of other genres, or styles if you will, within the context of their compositions—-sometimes in a very subtle manner, but none the less present in the music in some form. And speaking of the word “fusion”, let’s not forget that record companies many times were behind creating those categorical labels as they felt it was essential to their marketing plan—got to have a bin to put it in. Actually, I think that premise might be a bit dated at this point with the creation of the net and iTunes, (but it sure felt good to say that).

So what’s the greater point I’m trying to get to? I’m beginning to see more and more of a “fusion” of musical elements from artists than in days past, and seemingly a broader acceptance of someone deciding to go that direction. Two particular events got me thinking about this stylistic cross referencing that seems to have become a consideration for many of us musically as a consumer, as well as a performing artist. The first being Herbie Hancock winning the album of the year with his latest release “River—the Joni Letters”. Lets see, a “jazz” musician, reconstructing the music of a “pop” musician, (using that term loosely as far as Joni Mitchell is concerned) creating a “contemporary jazz” CD—kind of makes my point—but beyond that point, it seems ridiculous to have to use the words “jazz”, “pop”, and “contemporary jazz” to speak about this very well received musical event that obviously has touched many listeners. It’s very simply some great music. Right along those same lines, I’m sure you’ll remember the success that Carlos Santana had a few years ago with his genre leaping CD “Supernatural”, which won him a few Grammys, and has sold over 24 million copies.

The second event I referred to in trying to exemplify my point was a bit more personal. I went to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones play with the Oregon Symphony. (The Flecktones and the Oregon Symphony—that statement alone should further the point I hope I’m making, much less good luck putting the Flecktones into a category). This was actually the first time I caught the Flecktones live. Within the context of a great evening of music, Bela took a solo spot on his banjo, (and by the way, I’d like to go on record that hearing Bela “live” showed me what a truly remarkable musician he really is) and began playing what I believe was a Bach piece which he totally owned, and sounded amazing, and then segued into an improvisational section more or less blending his Bach rendition with some ideas of his own, and then just as smoothly transitioned from that improvisational Bach setting to the Beverly Hillbillies theme. Once again, dropping the need to categorize the genres he employed just leaves the audience with one seriously brilliant piece of music he created, and we enjoyed.

Another example—said another way. In one of our earlier issues we had videos of Victor Wooten and Gary Willis both doing a take on John Lennon’s tune Norwegian Wood. Now, it goes without saying that both of these players are at the top of their game, and have written some of the best “original” compositions I’ve heard to date. But for me personally, I was just as moved by their interpretation of this simple tune as I am by their strongest original compositions. Point being, the type or style of the tune for me becomes irrelevant, as it’s their heightened creativity, their voice, their personal take on this piece of music that makes all the difference to me as a listener.

I could easily go on and on about particular artists and some of the music they’ve given us exemplifying this point. So in an effort to connect all these thoughts, I’ll leave you with this. “New” fusion—this was not the issue here—the door being more open at this point in time as a player and composer to cross genres and possibly receive equal acceptance by the listening audience (now more than ever a world wide audience) —I believe so. So maybe it’s about focusing on writing or playing what you “hear”, what you feel most strongly connected to within the context of the music without worrying about what style it is, and being open to letting the genres fall where they may within that context that gets you to an “honest” representation of yourself, and what you have to say. And that, in my opinion, always seems to be the “best” representation of yourself.

Best,

Jake Kot, Editor

Editor's Notes

We Love Being a Virtual Magazine!

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raul amadorOur February issue put all the highlights (and over 45 videos) from the 2014 Winter NAMM show in your hands last month by the 4th. I want to commend all of our staff who made this rapid, efficient coverage of this mega event possible so quickly. We have a great team!

Not only was our coverage of this mega event timely, but our reach spans the globe. We got quite a bit of feedback from our Facebook page fans worldwide. As they hail from some of the most remote areas on the planet, NAMM and all its’ happenings proved to be quite the novelty for them.

Speaking of Facebook, I am happy to report that our numbers are growing by leaps and bounds! The Bass community has stepped up and is sharing what is closest to their hearts… that being themselves, their gear and the occasional bass tattoo (got to love their commitment!) We are pleased with all the photos, questions and comments that are coming to us from most everywhere.

The community that is forming is one of great support and sharing. I do want to mention that we do have 1000’s, (that is right, 1000’s) of messages we haven’t even been able to look at and more arrive daily. That said, I ask your patience as we work through these with careful attention to each one. We are not intentionally ignoring anyone, we promise.

I do want to encourage you all to continue to spread the word about Bass Musician Magazine, your magazine, so that we can continue to build our amazing family. Keep your eyes on this area as we are working on making it even more interactive!

Our cover interview is none other that the incomparable Mr. Nathan East, as brought to you by Rick Suchow. Nathan needs no introduction and this isn’t his first interview to grace our pages, but you have to read this one to get caught up on the latest from this force of nature in the bass world, as he debuts his dramatic solo album.

As always, we have a great lineup of articles this month and I want to welcome all of our new and returning staff writers. We are grateful for all your hard work and dedication and It is admirable your desire to share your valuable time with us so we all can benefit from your wisdom and experience. Kudos to all!

Well, as we all look forward to spring, which can’t seem to get here soon enough, I suggest we all take a moment to get back to basics and give a bit of ourselves to a new bass musician where ever you may find them. The rewarding satisfaction of watching aspiring musicians grow is immense and we can find ourselves immortalized in passing a small piece of ourselves to these future pillars of the bass community.

Keep it low!

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Editor's Notes

Welcome to Bass Musician Magazine 2014!

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raul amadorHappy New year!

As we plunge into a new year, I just want to briefly state that all is looking great and the future is bright!

We are very excited with the projects we have planned for this upcoming year. We are certain that you, our loyal readers, will really enjoy what we will be bringing your way.

This month we head to the Winter NAMM show in sunny Anaheim and, as always, we will be bringing you the blow-by-blow details from the show. Being online, we can get the latest buzz directly to you without delay. Why, it is almost as good as being there except that your feet won’t hurt like ours will! Keep your eyes peeled for our special NAMM 2014 issue.

We have a great interview with Todd Smallie, the bass powerhouse behind the The Derek Trucks Band,  provided by our own Steve Gregory. Check this interview out to get the lowdown on this heavy-hitter out of Atlanta.

Next, we have all the fine contributions from our esteemed staff. There is always a wealth of  information shared by these fine musicians. Make sure you check all of it out!

Well,  I promised brevity…so that is all for now.

May the New Year bring you all much happiness and prosperity!

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Editor's Notes

Stuff

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raul amadorHere we are entering another holiday season… I think the main thought that should push itself to the forefront of our minds is the true concept of giving. Just look around you, all the stores around us have been doing their holiday decorating since October. They have moved “Black Friday” sales to Thursday and in some instances even earlier. We can easily get caught up in the commercial frenzy of the holidays and in some instances, we might even benefit from it, as more opportunities to gig become available… but, is this a good thing?

I think the main focus of the holidays has gotten seriously out of hand. When did it all become so much about “Stuff”? Do we need to be at a store at the crack of dawn so we can stampede in and grab all the bargains that we can carry? Are our loved ones going to feel much more loved if they get the latest gizmo?  I like “Stuff” as much as the next guy, but do I really need more of it? How much of it can I really use?

With that thought in mind, I propose that as musicians, we give the gift of music. We are in the unique position to share the wealth of our creative talents. We can teach someone to play and hopefully, they will in turn do the same for someone else someday. We can lighten someones mood with some holiday cheer as only music can do. We at Bass Musician Magazine live this principle all-year-round, as our incredible staff strives to create a reliable resource for you to learn, be inspired, and take your playing to the next level.

If we absolutely need to give “Stuff” we can make it of a musical (especially bass) nature. Music books, gear, accessories and anything that will kindle the passion we all share for our craft. After all, isn’t the best gift one you would want for yourself? Also, if we are going to give “Stuff,” I would encourage us all to patronize our VIP members, as their support allows us to bring you the gift of BMM each month, as a FREE, online magazine!

…And please check out our stylish Bass Musician Magazine T-shirts!

When you buy them, not only do you identify yourself to the rest of the world, but you help support your magazine! Don’t forget to take a picture of yourself in your T-shirt and post it on our Facebook fan page.

In this issue…

This month we bring you an in-depth interview with Colombian born bassist Juan Garcia-Herreros, a.k.a. The Snow Owl. I invite you to meet this talented musician and discover the story behind his creative journey.  Make sure you have a look at our review of his latest CD, “Normas.”

This month, we have another solid lineup of articles, industry news, interviews and relevant bass updates… and as time really does fly, we are already gearing up for the 2014 Winter NAMM show, which we will be bringing to you in February (You will see it here before the rest can get it on paper… I love being a virtual mag!)

All that said, all of here at Bass Musician Magazine want to wish you a very happy holiday season and a prosperous, creative upcoming new year!

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Editor's Notes

Mahalo

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ubass-nov2013As the seasons fly by, they are studded with the little gems that are holidays. This month we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US. This is a solemn time dedicated to eating too much, watching football and being grateful for the many things that are going right in our lives.

That said, we are just returning from a fantastic vacation in Maui and we are grateful for the wonderful Aloha spirit shown to us while we visited. Let me take a moment to explain with this Quote from Wikipedia “In Hawai?i someone can be said to have or show aloha in the way they treat others; whether family, friend, neighbor or stranger.”. Well, we were treated so well that we wanted to stay there. If we took away one idea, it is that when you are thankful, it is easy to treat others in a warm, welcoming fashion and pass that spirit forward. Doesn’t that sound like universally sound approach to life?

So, after a truly excellent time in Maui, we want to say “Mahalo” (Thank you in Hawaiian) to all of our amazing staff, our diligent readers, all the talented musicians and authors that have submitted their work for potential review and the great bass musicians that have taken time out of their busy schedules to give us interviews. We are specially grateful to all our VIP members who support this magazine and allow us to deliver it free of charge to you. Please patronize them all as much as you can!

This month, Steve Gregory has a great interview with Tim Lefebvre who is joining the Tedeshi Trucks Band this fall. Find out the whole story in this interview!

ubass-nov2013-2Don’t stop reading after the Interview as there are lots of great bass content coming you way from our dedicated staff!

Lastly, we want to thank Hawaii Ukulele & Gift Corporation in Lahaina for letting us borrow the U-Basses by Kala for the photos you see here. If you are in Lahaina, stop by 790 Front Street and check them out! They have the most varied selection of U-Basses that I have ever seen in one location other than NAMM.

Have a great November and once again, Mahalo!

Best…

Raul Amador

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Editor's Notes

The Creative Process as I See It

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raul amadorWe have another great issue for you starting with our cover interview with the dynamic Doug Wimbish by Steven Gregory; we have the latest from this “Sound-system” of bass! And don’t miss the interview with Korn’s Fieldy by Tim Risser.

Looking ahead, the energy of Winter NAMM 2014 is starting to appear. As always, Bass Musician Magazine will be on the floor to bring you the highlights of this major event.

We always appreciate the massive amounts of CD’s that we get from our readers worldwide. The downside of such volume is that it takes a lot of time to give each one a fair listen… and we do go through every track . That said, we also have to be selective about what we can write reviews about, as there are only so many hours in the day. So, we pick the CD’s that speak to us and stand out in our minds above the rest. This doesn’t mean that if your CD doesn’t get reviewed, it isn’t good. It means that we have to make a cut somewhere.

I will take a moment to comment on the creative process as I see it. As I am so fortunate to hear music from around the world, I am always amazed at how composers can produce original music  after so much music had been “invented”. Often, the cultural influences give their music a unique flavor, other times it has to do with their own genius. I am not sure how they do it but they do!

Now, even through I understand the inherent difficulty of this whole process, in other instances, I hear many songs that sound so much like another recognizable melodies, that I have to check to see if it isn’t some kind of interpretation of someone else’s work.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is the other extreme of rather random,. disjointed tunes that could happen if you threw a bucket of magnetic musical notes at a metal pentagram. I am reminded of  some pieces of “Modern Art” where some one has spilled paint on a canvas or picked up a bag of trash and glued it to a piece of wood and come up with a catchy title. I am sorry, but I don’t get it! Where are the elements of Music?

I invite you, our readership, to weigh in on this situation and share your thoughts here.

Anyway, that is all for now.

Keep grooving!

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