The Many Colors of Bass… First of all, we are incredibly privileged to have veteran bassist Hutch Hutchinson gracing this month’s cover… if anyone understands the ‘many colors of bass’, it is Hutch, and Rick Suchow has done a stellar job in capturing his talent in this month’s interview.
Second, over the last month I have had the wonderful opportunity to experience a wide variety of live performances; as different as each was, I enjoyed the Bass work in every one.
First, I caught some Indie Rock… The Cribs opened their US tour here in Portland and bassist Gary Jarman did a solid job of reaching into the primal belly of the crowd with his driving execution and had them jumping all around. A pleased crowd is the ultimate goal of every performer!
The next stop on the musical tour took me into the realm of Broadway. Wicked was playing at our own Keller Auditorium and local bassist Dave Captein did a seamless job of keeping the low end going on bass. The excellent score, highly creative sets, unique wardrobe and amazing vocal talent make this show a must see if you have the opportunity!
Taking a Classical/Pops direction, Portland’s own Storm Large returned for her third concert, “The Perfect Storm”, with the Oregon Symphony under the Direction of Maestro Jeff Tyzik.
Opening act Violinist Aaron Meyer got the audience primed with his contemporary/rock approach to music. Jamin Swenson held down the Bass end of the music and complemented the widely varied song selections ranging from a German Cantata to a Beatles classic.
Storm Large is absolutely unique, superbly talented and, per her own admission, a little crazy; but in a good way (read her book, Crazy Enough: A Memoir). The set list was perfect and Storm, is in my opinion, one of the best, songstress / storytellers of our time. Her creative choices went well beyond entertaining and her quirkiness reminds you that she calls Portland home. Bassist Matt Brown acted as Storm’s low-end support along with the Symphonies double bass section. See Storm if she ever plays in a venue near you as you won’t be disappointed (More so if she sings “8 Mile Wide”, a rousing crowd pleaser).
When the circus is in town, one must see it, so we experienced Cirque Du Soliel’s “Ovo”. This show features a Brazilian music platform by Berna Ceppas (and we all know I like Brazilian music). The extraordinary costumes that make us believe that we are watching an insect show of unbelievable acrobatic feats is totally driven by a solid live musical foundation. As is to be expected, Bassist and Musical Director Jean-Francois Bedard does his thing and I am feeling right at home; Needless to say, the CD is already on its’ way here from Amazon.
Exploring a more intimate setting, a Friday Singer/Songwriter night at one of our local coffee houses, Latte Da, brought out a wide variety of local musicians. The act of the night with bass representation was that of Josh Neilsen on guitar & vocals along with bassist Max Edmonds. These promising young musicians did a respectable job and their performance was one of the highlights of the evening.
The grand finale had no bass but the extraordinary finger-style, acoustic guitar talent (and Grammy award winning) of Doug Smith and his wife Judy on flute & vocals. Doug admitted having played bass in the past and even has a Chapman stick… See, he is one of us!
Last, but not least, I was fortunate to enjoy the superb musical talent of Portland’s own Esperanza Spalding at the Crystal Ballroom. I won’t go into details here as I have a write-up about this event in this issue so if you want to know more, read it!
I have stated many times before that Music is the “Universal Language”… The different genres or “Colors” are out there for all to enjoy and there is nothing as rewarding as live performances! I encourage all of you to go out and listen to your fellow Bass Musicians do their thing. It will renew your own passion and commitment to our craft and the desire to share it with the appreciative public!
Let the music shine… support live performance!