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Meet Bassist/Vocalist Kristin Korb

Craig Jolley By

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There are some people who make me think differently, and I love to play with them because of that--I have to work a lot harder, but the rewards are there.
Kristin Korb is not just a singing bassist. She is a premier singer with a personal approach and a deep sense of swing. She transports you to other worlds with her ballads. Contrary to her comments below her intonation is right there. Oh yeah, she plays a nasty bass, too.



New CD

We just finished the instrumental things. It's Kendall Kay on drums, Todd Johnson on six-string electric bass, and me on upright bass. I'll add my vocals later. It's real fun, straight-ahead, swinging. What's interesting to me is the sound of the six-string electric bass. It doesn't sound like a bass—it's kind of like a guitar with a different texture. How often do you get to see six-string electric bass and an upright together? Todd and I both come from that same tradition of the Oscar Peterson Trio and that kind of stuff. He's taken it upon himself to do a lot of the arrangements. He's gone nuts. He'll say, "I hear you singing this song. What about this?" We figure out what works for me vocally and works for him on the bass voicings within the textures that are available. For a title we've been joking around with the idea of "Sunshine and Slim," nicknames we have for each other—we use them as caller ids on our cell phones. Todd is such a ray of sunshine, so happy and positive. I lost some weight so he started calling me "Slim". We've laid down a lot of tracks, at least two CD's worth. We're still picking through the tune list to decide what makes it to the CD. It's a mix of standards and a few things Todd and I have written like a blues "Sunshine and Slim" that has the two of us conversing musically. I want to do another vocalese thing. It's just fun, buoyant, joyous—nothing earth shattering. We want it to come out this fall for our tour.



Composition/writing lyrics

I really would like to do more. It's been a while since I've done a vocalese, writing a lyric to a horn player's solo. [On Korb's previous CD Where You'll Find Me she set words to a Stan Getz "East of the Sun" chorus.] Once I find it it'll just hit me, and that'll be it. I have a file, snippets of things (musical thoughts) like four-bar phrases or chord progressions. Sometimes I go through that for ideas. One thing I am working on is an orchestration, which I've never done before. There's a project coming up next spring with five commissioned arrangements that I'm performing with the South Coast Symphony and my trio. Other people are doing arrangements for me as well. I've asked John Clayton to help me out with the one I'm writing. He promised he wasn't going to let me fail. Once that gets done we're hoping we can bring the trio to some other orchestras. I also have some arrangements for big band and trio that we could play.



Origin of the band

Ron Eschete and I both worked the Port Townsend Jazz Festival with our bands. I got to play a set with him—it was like ahhhh. After I got home I sent Ron an email saying thank you so much. Todd plays with Ron a lot and operates Ron's website (Ron doesn't do email.), and he wrote back saying he'd heard good things about me. Last October he had this duo series in a coffee shop in Valencia and invited me to come up and do a gig. We gave it a shot, and it was so much fun musically and socially. We said, "Why don't we play again?" We started rehearsing and getting gigs. We were writing all these arrangements for our specific sound. Then we said, "What if we do a tour?" We made some phone calls up to the Northwest, and all of a sudden we had three weeks in front of us. Then we thought we didn't have a CD, not even a demo. That's how the CD came about. Sometimes we add Kendall on drums or another musician. I've been thinking about the sound of a trombone. I have friends like Pamela York (She's coming to town, and we'll play the Crowne on June 3.), but the thing with Todd is the first time I've ever worked with somebody on long-term basis.



Musical conversation

It's listening—knowing when to play, when not to play, finding out what your place is. There are certain people you hit it off with, typically musicians who come from the same listening background. Whether it's that hard-swinging Ray Brown kind of thing or something else. There are some people who make me think differently, and I love to play with them because of that—I have to work a lot harder, but the rewards are there. They're going to be throwing jokes my way, and I have to be ready. Jeff Hamilton is one of my favorites—the textures, the way he listens to music, the way he challenges me. He has such an intensity and focus. Every note matters. Although I haven't played too much with him Alan Pasqua is amazing. He comes from such a different direction. He makes me think differently, respond differently in a way I love, yet it's in a way that's me. Kevin Kanner is a wonderful drummer to play with. So is Joe LaBarbera. Tamir Hendelman toured with me in the Midwest last fall and helped me work up some new trio arrangements. He was born to play music.

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