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Jair-Rohm Parker Wells 21st Century Electric Bassist

Jair-Rohm Parker Wells is a bass player who knows no limits. From ground-breaking slap bass on the mega- pop hit “Slam Dunk Da Funk” to avant-garde electronica and Blues to the Free Rock of his Ayler Records release “Brotherly Love In Philadelphia” (with Adrian Belew Trio drummer Eric Slick and legendary Philly saxophonist Elliott Levin). He literally covers all basses. Jair-Rohm  rounded out last year with a new Jazz quartet release, “Coming Together” for MussoMusic, featuring sax colossus Daniel Carter as well as a residency at the Lima Lima club in Pattaya, Thailand with other former members of the Dr. Alban touring band (of which he’s been a member since the mid-nineties). This autumn, the bassist will host a series of lectures on improvised music as well as lead a master-class for both bassists and bass guitarists. Also planned for next spring/summer are European dates for his band Quartet! (Daniel Carter, Marc Edwards and Bern Nix) and trio dates with Elliott Levin (reeds, voice) and Klaus Kugel (drums) and a release from his “Peace Themes” project (David Lius; drums, Katt Hernandez; violin and Daniel Älgå; reeds and electronics).

Jair-Rohm Parker Wells has been playing basses designed by the revolutionary American instrument designer Ned Steinberger since the early 1980s. You may have seen Jair-Rohm slapping and popping his vintage Steinberger L2 with Ola on the popular Swedish Tv programs Lotta På Liseberg or Sommarkrysset or caught him backing Bluesman Derrick “Big” Walker on his NSD electric upright bass on Jazz and Blues festivals around Europe. According to Parker Wells: “The basses designed by Ned are the most reliable and versatile basses ever. I’ve been playing his bass guitars since they were first introduced in the early 80s and now also play the new WAV and NxT electric uprights. Fantastic basses!”. Many of the bass guitars and all of the slap bass loops in the Apple Loops library that ships with every Macintosh computer are Jair-Rohm’s Steinberger L2.

Last year Parker Wells toured Europe with his trio (Elliott Levin; reeds/voice and Klaus Kugel; drums), and produced shows at London’s Vortex Jazz Club. Last July, he organised the “Albert Ayler Life Celebration”at the Vortex, an evening dedicated to the memory of the Free Jazz pioneer Albert Ayler. Parker Wells assembled an all-star sextet comprised of: Tony Bianco, Lol Coxhill, Shabaka Hutchings, John Sinclair and Ian Smith. He  also begun a collaboration with English singer/songwriter/guitarist Marcus Corbett. The duo performed in England and Sweden and are looking forward to more shows in Europe during the coming year.

Jair-Rohm’s association with New Jersey based “word rocker” Cyndi Dawson continues. Ms. Dawson’s critically acclaimed collection “Outside Girl” was released earlier this year with a CD of spoken word/music tracks produced by Jair-Rohm Parker Wells. New for this year is production and songwriting with the Norway based TranceDance artist Jason Paradisa. Both projects delve deeply into innovative production techniques and push the boundaries of the spoken word genre by making the music more than just an afterthought and the vocals more than just narratives.

Other releases planned for next year are two quartet recordings both with multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter, a set of duo improvisations with the Saxophonist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe and a new album from his experimental electronics project, 3 Banditos. The first of the quartet recordings is entitled “Brooklyn Before Obama” with Federico Ughi on drums, Demian Richardson on trumpet and Daniel Carter on reeds and trumpet. The second called “Why Did You Go and Leave Me That Way?” with Bern Nix on guitar, Marc Edwards on drums and Daniel Carter on reeds. The Vinkeloe set explores field recordings, spoken word and digital signal processing techniques juxtaposed with woodwind and NSD electric upright bass textures. 3 Banditos fans can expect a follow up to the Klanggold released “Sympathy for the Donkey”. Tommi Bucalic, Tobias Schmidt and Parker Wells have more circuit bending and modular madness coming your way!

Jair-Rohm Parker Wells has a clearly defined voice that is neither a clone nor echo of Bill Laswell, Peter Kowald or Jamaaladeen Tacuma. With deep roots in the African American Classical Music tradition informed by equal parts Ayler and Stockhausen, he combines the NSD electric upright, bow and electronics to forge an approach and style that are all his own. He also plays bass guitar and his slide bass guitar playing is a step beyond the use of the slide as a mere gimmick. “My parents are from Charleston, South Carolina. Geechies like James Jamerson and James Blood Ulmer. My father told me about the ‘toys’ they used to make as kids from pieces of wood and wires. They used to play these things with a stick and a piece of a broken bottle. It inspired me to explore the slide and i’ve been playing slide for nearly thirty years now. I came up with a whole thing that i call ‘Geechie Drone Music’.” This “Geechie Drone Music” concept underpins all of Parker Wells’ solo and group improvisation work.

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