Practicing is vital in a young musician's formative stages of growth and development. While in attendance of Berklee College of Music for my three full semesters there, I had my bass in my hands on a daily basis on average of 13 hours, per day. I was forced to develop my ears and eyes with sight reading in every new situation and new sonorities each new composer introduced. Once you begin working as a musician, your focus on practicing diminishes. You're concerned about sleeping, making enough money to afford where you live, food for your sustenance, and honoring and handling your commitments to work as a musician via rehearsals and recordings. Then add in dating and you're making more time for your paramour and trying to balance your schedule with their schedule and your feelings with their feelings. It comes to virtually a complete halt if you go for the brass ring of starting a family.
The only folks that succeed in practicing are those who make a conscious decision to be completely selfish in their musical dedication. Usually, their other relationships suffer from the selfishness. Get it in while you're young, unfettered, free and single because if your family means as much to you as it does me, then I gladly accept the diminishment of my practice time. The problem or my biggest pet peeve I have with most bass players today is their overzealousness to be thought of as a soloist with ever giving enough care, detail, and concern to their real and true task at hand; harmonically underpinning the band while swinging the band, ad infinitum. It's bass players everywhere. I see it here in America. I see it all throughout Europe, South America, Central America, Asia, and Scandinavia. Bass players just rip roaring ready to go, begin their solos in thumb position and solo on every tune. You don't get the gold watch for great solos.
GC: What gigs or apprenticeships were most valuable to you as an up and coming musician? Do you think there are still possibilities for apprenticeships in jazz nowadays?
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.