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Trading Fours—The Golden Years of the Musicians Institute by Pat Hicks

Trading Fours by Pat Hicks is a step back in time chronicling the beginnings of the Musicians Institute. This is a great and historic read about the early days of the Institute with a plethora of great stories and one liner’s from legendary figures that is worth checking out.

He speaks of the Institute’s origins with guitarist Howard Roberts and how it all got started, once again with some great stories reflecting that era. Some of my favorites were Ray Brown telling a student about what discrimination was like, Chuck Rainey and Bob Magnusson figuring out a bass curriculum, Jeff Berlin’s dealings with a psychotic student, and Howard Roberts explaining after doing a jam with Jeff Berlin that it wasn’t a jazz jam per se, but quite simply “improvised music”, which can happen in “any” genre.

The staff members over the years were almost a who’s who of the industry at that time, and it was interesting to hear some of the memorable clips remembered by Pat. The Bass Institute of Technology sported some of best of the best as well, and even got Jaco to actually do an impromptu class.

Historical references are always of interest to most, and Pat’s book walks the walk for insightful and certainly beyond stories from some of the greats we all know and love.

Break the modern 30-second-attention-span mentality and give this a read.

Trading Fours by Pat Hicks available at


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