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Bassist Jermaine Hall – Why Is Music Important (The Panel Experiment) by Brent-Anthony Johnson

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Jemaine Hall- Why Is Music ImportantWho are you, and what do you do? 

I am Bassist Jermaine Hall and I have been playing for a grand total of 24 years to date! (Laughs) It’s been a blast and I’m looking forward to many more great years going forward!!

Who are your primary musical influences?

My influences are: Mike Pope, Tony Grey, Tom Kennedy and Janek Gwizdala. These bassists (and great people) are also my music mentors, and I have grown beyond imagination because of their wealth of wisdom and knowledge. These guys have shared a lot of music with me as well as sharing with the world, and each one of them means a lot to me.

What are you listening to musically, in the past 12 months that has enhanced the way you think about music and your craft? 

Actually, I listen to a ton of World music and Middle Eastern music. While in high school, I was part of the school chorale and I began to get exposure to a wide variety of music. So, I have always been drawn to world music, and especially Middle Eastern music. Listening to that music, among other styles, has opened me up beyond words as it relates to music, and also how I compose music.  I’m also a huge fan of electronica and that stuff is insane, man!

How does your personal musical voice directly relate to the function of the basses?  Also, what are your main instruments?

I have always loved natural bass tone without any coloration from pedals or effects! Well… until I found out about guys like Matt Garrison and Tony Grey a few years ago. Immediately upon hearing them, I began to experiment with different effect pedals and software. But, I still try and stay true to the natural bass tone I’ve developed over the years… especially the bridge pickup tone!

My main bass is the custom Marleaux “Mbass” 6-string fretted bass guitar. It is, by far, the best bass guitar that I have ever owned and/or played. Gerald Marleaux took an idea I had envisioned for a bass to look, feel and sound, and turned it into a reality! It’s totally amazing!!! I’m also using Tecamp amplification’s Puma 500 and M2x12 cabinet. I have played through lots of rigs but this one really “takes the cake”. Thomas Eich and Glen Kawamoto are also great guys to work with! So, in short, Tecamp ROCKS!

Describe your musical composition process. 

I do a lot of writing with my bass, and I keep a recorder near me at all times. I may hear a melody in my head and have to sing it into the recorder until I’m able to sit down and create something around it. I may also go into a studio and press the record button and just start playing until I hear something that stands out. It’s a really fun process and it never gets old to me.

How does music affect your culture and immediate environment? 

It has a great effect on my environment. I’m a church musician from my beginnings. So, of course, 90 percent of my time while at church is filled with playing music. I can’t tell you how much people love to just sit and listen to everything musical we play in the course of our set. My pastor (Bishop Paul S. Morton) is a Gospel artist, as are many individuals involved in the music department of the church.

I couldn’t imagine life without music. There is absolutely nothing like seeing people listening to and enjoying the music that we play! That doesn’t go for just church, though, it also goes for any genre that I may play! I enjoy playing so much, and it’s just awesome to be able to do it as a vocation.

What would you be, if not a professional musician? 

(Laughs) I get that question a lot, and the answer may leave some people in shock!  I would, without a doubt, be a pro wrestler!

I was an amateur wrestler in High School, actually! I would regularly skip classes and go to the wrestling room. I’ve still got it, and I still train and work out, honestly. I was City Champion in my weight class, and I also competed in a few matches outside of school. Needless to say, my parents weren’t having that: at all. (Laughs)

I didn’t completely understand exactly why my parents didn’t want me to wrestle, because wrestling was a big deal in our family. We watched wrestling in our home for hours.  Anyway, I think I would’ve made it… but my folks begged to differ.

What is the greatest sacrifice you’ve ever made while in the practice of being a musician, and how did that sacrifice affect you? 

The sacrifice was the process of needing to pull away from everything (and everyone) while devoting myself to music. Needless to say, family and friends chose not to be in my life because of my choice. But… I’m a living, breathing product of hard work and it’s paid off! I wouldn’t change anything about most of the choices I’ve made! I believe that nothing should come between you and your passion – especially, if it’s a true and honest passion you hope to build into a career! Give life your all and stick with your goals! Stay with it, even if things get a bit interesting in life – and we all know life can get interesting! (Laughs) If music is your genuine calling, and you are determined to become great at what you’re trying to do, don’t ever give up!

Describe your standing practice regimen.  Also, what technical (and musical) aspects of your playing are you currently working on? 

I’m a night owl, which means I’m usually up late at night. So, I use that time to shed (3 hours or so) while the world sleeps. Once you start digging into what you’re doing, time flies! I usually work on playing through changes, dexterity, phrasing and focusing in on being very crisp and clean.

What does music, and being a musician, mean to you – at the deepest level of your being?

Being a musician means (literally) everything to me! The fact that I have been given the gift to create music, that can tap into people’s lives and bring joy, bring peace, and give them inspiration, means everything and I don’t take it lightly. It makes me happy beyond belief! Music is a powerful thing, man! I must admit that music has made me who I am, and I have devoted my life to be the best at bringing great music to people all over the world.

How important is it to understand the Language of music?

The Language of music is just as important as knowing how to walk, speak, listen and (in musician’s case), how to work as a unit with your peers and have a mature musical conversation – either in rehearsal or when shedding without yelling or shouting over each other. Who would want to sit and listen to someone yell in an attempt to get his or her point across – particularly in a musical conversation? So, knowing when to speak, or when not to speak, is important as it relates to understanding the Language of music. Knowing what to play, and what not to play, is as important as knowing what to say… or what not to say.

Can music ever truly become commercial?  

Yes…  it can. But, that means that the artists will have to completely embrace more of what the consumer wants, musically. However, that’s not always a musically positive process. No true musician wants to give-in to being so commercial to the point of losing who we are as creative artists… Or losing the music that makes you happy to be a part of.

Bass Videos

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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