Interview with Gerald Veasley…
Initially making his mark in the music industry performing and recording with groundbreaking artists, such as Weather Report-leader, Joe Zawinul, Grover Washington Jr., and Teddy Pendergrass, bassist Gerald Veasley is now writing the book on what a musician can be, and the places we can go with our craft. Veasley himselfhas released many albums under his own name, including a release in 2008 which reached #12 on the Billboard charts for Contemporary Jazz Albums.
Today, he is the founder and leader of Gerald Veasley’s Bass Boot Camp, based in Philadelphia, PA. An intensive study of bass techniques, the Boot Camp brings in some of the best bass players, from all over the planet. The 3-day camp takes place just once a year, and that happens to be later this year, in Philadelphia (August 14-16 2020). More info can be found here: bassbootcamp.com
I am honored and very excited to say that I will be an instructor at this year’s Bass BootCamp. And I’m super-happy to have Gerald Veasley as this month’s featured artist on BASS2BASS with FREEKBASS. Enjoy, and maybe we will see you later this year at Gerald Veasley’s Bass Boot Camp!
You are the Professor X of the bass player world with Bass Boot Camp being the bass-equivalent of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. What “mutant” powers do you think we bass players possess which are both common and helpful?
Haha. I think bass players have a highly developed “x-ray vision”. The best ones can understand the music from top to bottom: melody to groove and inside-out: both the soulful and the technical.
You had put together a concert this month (since cancelled), called Mingus meets P-Funk. What do you feel are some of the musical elements that bridge jazz and funk together?
The music of Charles Mingus and George Clinton and his collaborators have a common connection to the quest for freedom. Both of them talk about it explicitly in their lyrics and allude to it in their titles. That freedom is related to both social justice and personal expression. Even the words “jazz” and “funk” were terms that some people were embarrassed by when the art forms were first created Now jazz and funk are embraced around the world as genres of music that are uniquely American.
What one musician has been the most influential in your career and the direction you’ve taken with teaching?
A number of musicians have mentored me and taught me valuable lessons that I feel it’s my duty to share:
- Joe Zawinul: No Fear
- Grover Washington, Jr.: No Boundaries
- Ira Tucker: Perfect Feeling Over Perfect Music
- Odean Pope: Learn the Rules and Break Them
Excluding drums or percussion, what one other instrumentalist would you choose to tour with as a duo of bass and that other instrument?
It could be any instrument as long as the musician appreciates the beauty of being an accompanist. Rhythm section players fundamentally understand this concept. On the other hand, It’s rare when you encounter a saxophonist, for example, who knows how to contribute when he’s not soloing. When you play with someone like that, who thinks about supporting another instrumentalist, even when it’s not his typical role, it’s a joy.
What superhero would make the best bassist (and why)?
As a bass player, Flash could move so fast that he could almost be several places at once: on stage playing and also out in the audience listening to the front of house mix. He could squelch feedback before humans could hear it and adjust his groove to the drummers on the order of milliseconds.
Visit online at geraldveasley.com