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Editor's Notes

An Era of Change???



Meet Editor, Jake Kot –

The beginning of 2009 has already shown to be an interesting time for all. I’ve spent some time pondering the subject matter I’ve chosen to pursue for this particular issue, and have decided to go out on a bit of a controversial limb. I ask only that you read this column in its entirety before delegating any judgment you may have on me or this magazine that grants me the opportunity to speak out.

Two enlightening events put me on this opinionated path. The first was a bumper sticker I saw that read “January 20th, 2009—the End of an Error”. Now, before you jump all over me for seemingly using this forum for a political agenda, let me briefly explain my need to reference that particular phrase.

In terms of the “Arts” (which is the essence of my intent for bringing up that particular antidotal), the facts remain clear that in these last eight years we’ve experienced the most dramatic drop in funding of the Arts in our schools that this country has ever seen. Just a couple days before writing this article, a student of mine told me how he had to go out and purchase a pickup for the schools bass in jazz band because the school wasn’t able to come up with the funds to buy a single pickup. I’m sure there are many more stories of underfunding like this in schools all across the country, not to mention the elimination of entire music programs as well in our educational system. [Falling under the guise of looking for logic where it doesn’t exist, never mind that it’s been well documented that students involved in the arts do better in their overall studies than students not involved.]

I beg your indulgence as I continue to express what I feel are “realities” within the scope of the Arts and artists in general, as well as the music business here in this country. It’s important to acknowledge that there are always exceptions to any point of view, and I’m critically aware of that, but I’ll follow with what I perceive to be truths within the Arts and the music business in general these days, dark as it may sound.

The music business………that’s like the comedian Lewis Black saying, “Dick Cheney……..and I don’t have to say any more”. And beyond the “Arts” being looked at as one of the most dispensable parts of our scholastic architecture, let’s also take a closer look at what I would refer to as the “mentality” that prevails toward the “artist” in our society.

To wit: A musician plays a gig at a typical club here in the states and is offered the same amount of money for his (or her) services for the evening that he made literally 25 years ago, but is then offered half off on food and drinks, and is expected to say, “Cool, that amount you offered me is ‘now’ OK”. A new jazz club opens in any town USA and the amount the club offers to pay the band for the gig is…Nothing….but you can put someone at the door to collect money and we’ll be sure to take just a “small” percentage of that. And the infamous L.A. policy, “pay” to play”? I could go on.

Along these same lines, in my interview with Ron Carter, he stated that he saw tremendous talent in the younger generation of players coming up, but expressed his concern for wondering “where” all these talented players were going to be “able” to play. Directly tied to that remark is my question, why do even the most famous jazz icons of our time, representing the music this country “founded”, have to look to Europe to be able to sustain a tour?

Let’s look at this in another light, with a real-life comparison of wages. A new baseball player (a rookie) is offered a $72 million contract for his services over the course of a few years. After recently talking to a musician that I feel is no doubt one of the finest artists in every respect “in the world”—and I hope you’ll trust my opinion— shares with me that he had a good year last year and made a little over $100,000.00. I’m sorry, but that comparison of wages with all due respect is pretty pathetic.

A final comment: It’s the oldest joke in the musical community (that would be joking, and not) that, sadly, still remains within our culture: The question, many times asked with an air of total sincerity, “Do you have a ‘real’ job beyond being a musician”?

I could easily expound upon these hyperboles I’ve chosen to share, but I think I’ve made my point, and the obvious here is, yes, I can be a cynic with the best of them. But now let me change course with the second event that I spoke of which fueled my need to go to the dark side first, and which, I have to admit, was a bit of an epiphany for me personally.

I received an e-mail from Nathan East with a picture of himself and Barack Obama taken at the inauguration festivities. After reading Nathans message attached to this photo, I had no doubt that the purpose of this communication was about sharing the immense pride that he felt at that moment in time. This was much more than a pictorial marketing tool; this was a snapshot in time of the joy this man was feeling being involved in this very auspicious occasion with our new President—–it was, in his own words, “the thrill of a lifetime”.

So, what is the revelation I experienced through that communication? it’s as simple as this: In this era, where changing the status and appreciation for the importance of the Arts in this society, as well as cultivating the due respect that any artist unequivocally deserves looks to be damn near “impossible”, I would suggest that we all take a look at what we could learn from a discussion with our new President as far as conquering the notion of an “impossibility” is concerned. That thought was an undeniable “light bulb” moment for me personally.

Awareness is the first step in the pursuit of imposing change within our society, and I hope in some small way I, as well as this magazine, have contributed to that first step…..said another way, I hope we’re making a difference.


Jake Kot, Editor

Editor's Notes

We Love Being a Virtual Magazine!



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!



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




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




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!


Raul Amador

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Editor's Notes

The Creative Process as I See It



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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