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Don Mopsick

Jazz bassist in Southwest Florida.

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About Me

Don Mopsick began his musical career as a teenager in his hometown of Linden, NJ, performing on trumpet and bass guitar. He attended Rutgers and Berklee College of Music. His first professional gigs were with Rosemary Clooney around Boston in 1972.

Mopsick's musical interests have always been eclectic. He was graduated from The Manhattan School of Music in 1977 with a degree in Tuba Performance. While in New York he performed on tuba and bass with The Smith Street Society, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (led by Lee Castle), John Carisi, Paul Jefferey and others.

After a 1977 move to Ft. Myers FL, Mopsick began double bass study with Lucas Drew at the U. of Miami. He moved to Orlando in 1983 and began work as a free-lance jazz bassist state-wide.

He played concert dates for, among others, The Jazz Club of Sarasota, The Treasure Coast Jazz Society, and The Gainesville Friends of Jazz, Florida concert dates with Howard Alden, Mousey Alexander, Bill Allred, Dan Barrett, John Bunch, Pete Christleib, Al Cohn, Richie Cole, Freddie Cole, Kenny Davern, Buddy DeFranco, Don Goldie, Terry Gibbs, Scott Hamilton, Buddy Morrow, Ken Peplowski, Flip Phillips, Red Rodney, Bob Rosengarden, Ira Sullivan, Clark Terry & Warren Vaché Jr.

Mopsick joined the Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio in 1991. He played nightly at The Landing jazz club and toured with them in the US & abroad, including a 15-day tour of Russia and Siberia in 2007. He recorded hundreds of hours for the Riverwalk Jazz public radio series with guests Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Bob Wilber, Dick Hyman, Kenny Davern, Milt Hinton, Nicholas Payton, “Sweets” Edison, Harry Allen, Dan Barrett, Joe Williams, Rebecca Kilgore, Bob Barnard, Bria Skonberg, Jon-Erik Kellso, Vince Giordano, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Stephanie Nakasian, Shelly Berg and many others. He left Texas in May 2010 to return to Florida.

Since then, Don has appeared with Ira Sullivan, Aaron Weinstein, Stephanie Nakasian, Veronica Swift, Hod O'Brien, Grant Stewart, Lew DelGatto, Dan Miller, Giacomo Gates, Johnny Varro, Cynthia Sayer, Lainie Cook, Ralph Peterson Jr., Peter Zak, Tedd Firth, Wycliff Gordon, Russell Malone, Bucky Pizzarelli, Joshua Breakstone, Peter Appleyard, Dick Hyman. Kenny Washington, Harry Allen, Randy Sandke, and the Hot Club of SRQ (Sarasota) led by violinist Keven Aland.

Currently Mopsick appears weekly for jazz brunch at the Barrel Room in downtown Ft. Myers, FL with pianist Roy Gerson.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it's uniquely American, inclusive, and above all, it swings. Jazz people are all about the music and fun to be around. I was first exposed to jazz at home. My parents were fans of Benny Goodman, Errol Garner, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Commodore Records, Art Tatum and many others. My big brothers brought home LPs by Charles Mingus, Sonny Stitt, Nancy Wilson, Cannonball Adderley, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck, and others. I toured and recorded with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band based in San Antonio. I also appeared with them on Public Radio International's weekly series "Riverwalk Jazz" for 25 years. The best concert I ever attended was Sonny Rollins at The Town Hall in New York playing solo. His opening tune was "There Is No Greater Love." No one but Sonny could have pulled that off. The first jazz records I bought were a collection of LP reissues of 78 sides by Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Kinny Dorham, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, all purchased at The Grab Bag record store in New Brunswick, NJ owned by the legendary Savoy producer Ozzie Cadena. Freshman and Sophomore years at Rutgers were spent mostly in dorm rooms listening to record collections of my colleagues: Miles, Chick, Keith Jarrett, Bird, Mingus, Roland Kirk, Sun Ra, Trane, McCoy Tyner, Blakey, Dolphy, Booker Little, Jazz Crusaders, etc. After I took up the tuba I joined the Paul Jeffery Octet and got to play with Oliver Beaner, Justo Almario, Ed Byrne, Cecil Payne, Jim Chapin, John Carisi, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, etc. as well as the leading lights of Traditional Jazz in New York. My advice to new listeners: it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. Look it up.

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