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Bassist Mitchell Coleman Jr. – Why Is Music Important (The Panel Experiment) by Brent-Anthony Johnson

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Bassist Mitchell Coleman Jr-1

Bassist Mitchell Coleman Jr. – Why Is Music Important (The Panel Experiment) by Brent-Anthony Johnson…

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Mitchell Coleman Jr, and I am an electric bass player. 

Who are your primary musical influences?

At the time I started playing bass, I was greatly influenced by Mark Adams from the funk group Slave. In the beginning, my musical approach could be defined as “unfiltered, take no prisoners funk”.

As I developed, I really got into Marcus Miller – especially after hearing his work on David Sanborn’s,“Straight to the Heart”(1984). I started to hear the music that touched me. I did not have the ear for heavy jazz, and did not know how to approach it. But then there was the collaboration between Miles Davis and Marcus Miller and the gap between jazz, and the funk I enjoy, was bridged and I started to hear a sophistication I did not hear before! Later, I got into Larry Graham (the father of the thump), Stanley Clarke, and Jaco Pastorius messed up all my barely-developed musical theory. Those days confirmed to me that although the musicians I mentioned are great, and can be used as wonderful references… You can only be who you are, and you have to find your own voice. 

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

Lately I have been listening to Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul and Steely Dan.

I love the way these great musicians can take something seemingly “straight head”, and take it (musically) sideways – creating mood changes and taking listeners on a magical musical journey.

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

I approach each musical situation like a conversation. Like any conversation I am having, there is a time that I will speak and express my thoughts and emotions… depending on the subject. While others are speaking, I am listening, showing interest and providing support.

Describe your musical composition process.

I usually approach the process it in I one of two ways. First, there is a bass line that comes into my head from out of nowhere. That is part of the process that I refer to a “the pregnancy”. This part of composing has to be released as soon as I can get into the recording studio. I refer to the second part of composing as “the sculpture”, and that begins as a drum groove that touches me somehow.

As I listen back, it starts to hint to me the bass line that belongs with it.

The overall process can vary greatly. Once I am satisfied with the foundation, I usually start building chord structures (for idea reference) and later, I’ll bring in keyboardists to add melody and structure. Others will be brought into the process depending on the direction the piece is going. As the composition is being structured there is a lot of listening, adding, and taking away. Finally, when the eyes close and smiles come… it is finished.

How does music affect your culture and immediate environment?

Growing up as a product of divorced parents… I was alone a lot of the time. So, music became a comforter and friend to me. But, being alone also allowed me to discover and developed my own musical voice.

What would you be, if not a professional musician?

I think if I did not have a passion for music… I would be a Counselor!

I would like to help others discover and develop their passions.

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

During my development as a musician, and becoming an adult, you find out that bills have to be paid and your responsibilities have to be met. So, I had to set aside my passions for a while to develop other skills in my life. That sacrifice became a great Blessing for me! I am also an engineer with a great career that allows me to enjoy my passion for music to the full!

Bassist Mitchell Coleman Jr-2

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

I started off playing everything that appealed to me as a bass player. Later, I would try to play the things that did not appeal to me. Naturally, I learned the songs that appealed to me faster! But, I learned more from the ones that did not.

I try to play something new every day by ear and then work on reading. Scales are also great for reference, and I am really getting into modes now – which seem to be the gatekeepers to the mood changes I love so much.

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

Music is truly a language, and being a musician allows me to express myself in that realm of conversation. I hope and pray for the continued growth of my vocabulary so the walls that separate me from those I admire so greatly will be further torn down.

How important is it to understand the Language of music?

Like any language, music allows communication. In order to communicate well… you must have something to say. More importantly… you need to listen to what is being said.

How do you collect the series of seemingly random influences and articulate them through music?

It’s funny… In music, I am playing with others and all of a sudden I may hear Larry Graham say, “Thump like this… or, like that!” Or, I’ll hear Marcus say, “Take charge here!” At other times, I’ll hear Jaco say, ”Mess them up with some harmonics here!” Why not pull from the best?

Can music ever truly become commercial? Why, or why not?

I believe music is very commercial. In everything from advertisements to movies, music plays the essential role. It brings the emotion to what we see. But the problem comes when they water down everything in order to appeal to the masses. Then the commercial aspect becomes negative. I think those who are true to their craft will be remembered, but sadly… not paid so well. 

Visit online at mitchellcolemanjr.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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