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Bassist Justin Gray Marries Tradition and Invention with the Bass Veena by Tatiana Kostiak

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Bassist Justin Gray Marries Tradition and Invention with the Bass Veena by Tatiana Kostiak… When Toronto bass musician Justin Gray hit a limitation in his quest to perfect the bass sound in the Indian Raga music he was studying, he moved on to a fretless bass. Two years later, the limitation of that instrument became evident. So, he took his commitment to a greater level.  He invented his own bass instrument, the Bass Veena.

According to Justin: “The main goal was to achieve a very specific sound, feel and tuning, and with the sincere guidance and inspiration from Canadian Luthier, Les Godfrey, together we were able to create this instrument to achieve exactly what we set out to do.”

Gray has been studying and performing Hindustani Raga Music in its most traditional form for the past six years with his Guruji, Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya, a renowned Indian Classical Vocalist in Kolkata. “I study this music in the traditional vocal tradition, and then apply the music on the bass. Since this music has never been attempted to this depth in the traditional form on the electric or acoustic bass before, there is no tradition of tone, technique or set-up to follow in order to express the specific nuances of the Indian Classical style on this instrument. With the Bass Veena, I aim to continue to dive
deeper into learning this music in its exact tradition, and learning to express it on a new instrument, but while maintaining the essence of this ancient music, and playing in the traditional style.”

A total commitment of purpose brings Gray to India for long durations. “I was in India studying and performing for the past 6 months. My goal in my time in India is to be close to my Guruji and study in the traditional Indian style, living close to him, and staying immersed in my studies as a lifestyle and not as a pass time. This includes a very different relationship between the student and teacher, demanding unwavering dedication and respect from both parties. My goal was to study and learn as much as possible on the Bass Veena, and also to share this music through many performances with audiences around India.”

Touring India presents some challenges and Gray is just as precise about his touring gear as he is with his bass instrument and dedication to the music. “I have been a Radial user from the day I wanted better tone, and I still use them to this day because they are the best product out there. On my most recent tour in India, I had my PZ Pre, Pro RMP and Twin ISO with me for 6 months on the road. These three Radial products never let me down, which is quite a feat for gear on tour in India. Each time I used the PZ Pre, I was able to dial in a better tone each time, and the extra features like Post EQ Balance out, and Ground Lift were life savers with sound engineers that had no idea how to EQ my Bass Veena, and ground loops like I have never experienced before. On concerts where the ground loops were so bad I could not even use my amp on stage because of the hum and buzz, the PZ Pre let me still have a beautiful sound in the house and on stage, and was an all-in-one lifesaver. There was no compromise in tone at any point. The Pro RMP was so small, and it made my amp sound perfect on stage every night. It also had a ground lift, which gave me another level of reducing the many buzzes that happen in India. The TWIN ISO let me send my Bass Veena and my NS 4 String NXT Bass from my Logic Pro Set up to the house, as isolated channels in a box the size of a JDI. Thanks to these 2 small, durable and high quality pieces, the Bass Veena always sounded amazing, and all three of these were so durable, they never once even gave me a scare.”

When not studying and performing Raga music, Gray performs with Indo-Jazz group Monsoon and also with the group Army of Light whose style is described as contemporary, influenced heavily by jazz, western classical, T&B, Blues, Hip-Hop and otherworld music.

Visit online at justin-gray.com

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

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Bass Videos

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner…

I am pretty sure that everyone is aware of Malcom-Jamal Warner’s work as an actor. What may be less known is his work as a director, poet, musician, and most importantly for us, a bass player. With four albums of his own, Grammy nominations and wins, as well as a sizable amount of ongoing live gigs, Malcolm is dedicating a serious amount of his attention to his music.

Join me as we hear about Malcom’s musical journey, projects, his gear choices, and plans for the future.

Here is Malcom-Jamal Warner!

Photos: Dwain Govan @dwain_go / Conrad Montgomery Mckethan @eyeconimages

Visit Online:

malcolmjamalwarner.com
IG @malcolmjamalwar
Twitter @malcolmjamalwar 
Facebook: Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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Bass Videos

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

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Interview With The Labex Funk Project

Interview With The Labex Funk Project…

Time really flies when you are having fun! Just over a decade ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michel “Labex” Labaki for our July 2013 cover.

At that time, much of our conversation concerned his personal approach to bass playing and his techniques. Fast forward to now and I am pleased to discover Michel’s new endeavor, the Labex Funk Project.

Join me as we meet the band:
Kynion Lanier on vocals
Pablo Batista on percussion
Jake Brightman on Guitar
Daniel Gonzalez on Drums
And Michel “Labex”Labaki on bass

As a bonus, we have the band’s producer Phillippe Dib in on this video chat as well.

Here is the Labex Funk Project!

Visit online:

michellabaki.com
www.facebook.com/MichelLabexLabaki/
www.instagram.com/michellabaki
www.youtube.com/c/MichelLabaki
FB @LabexFunkProject
IG @ Labex Funk Project

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

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Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

Bassist Tony Newton…

I am always learning new details about Bass history when I get the opportunity to talk with seasoned players like Tony Newton. Tony, a Detroit native, came up in the golden years of Motown and laid down the low end for countless performers and studio sessions; he has performed on over 25 gold and platinum hit recordings.

As time went by, and the whole Detroit scene dwindled, Tony relocated to LA where he worked a busy schedule, even going back to school to learn about music theory and composition.

Over the years he performed on many historic hit recordings and tours with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson(music Director), the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Funk Brothers and more, as well as working with veteran rock guitarist, Gary Moore in the British group G-Force.

Presently, Tony is super busy and on the verge of releasing a movie titled “Mars Quest” among his numerous other projects.

Join me as we get to enjoy all the history and knowledge that Tony has to share along with the details about his new Signature bass from BITE Guitars named “The  Punchtown Bass”.

Here is Tony Newton…

Photos: Mary K. Brand, Mitch Snyder, Haneefa Karrim, Hans Adamsen

Visit Online:

tonynewtonmusic.com/
FB @ TonyNewtonMusic Artist
YTB @ antoniotonynewtonmusic

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