Bassist, Composer, Arranger, Bandleader
It was an early start for the musically inclined 4 year old. As a toddler, Arlington Houston Jr. was encouraged by his father to practice and experiment with different musical instruments including the drums, guitar, bass, and organ. Although not musically inclined themselves, Arlington’s mother and father shared a great passion for Soul and R&B. It was in his childhood home in Richmond, CA where Arlington grew up listening to James Brown, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The O’Jays, Roberta Flack, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Dionne Warwick, Al Green, The Temptations and Isaac Hayes to name a few. On Sundays Arlington’s grandmother took him to church where he was exposed to gospel music. He would often imitate the music he heard, and it was apparent the kid had talent.
Arlington attended Salesian High School in Richmond, CA where he played football and ran track. As a teen he already knew that he wanted to play the bass and become a musician. Further parental encouragement came when his mother bought him a Fender bass and private lessons at a local music store. During this time he started listening to funk and jazz fusion music and playing with other young musicians.
Following high school, Arlington pursued his dream to become a professional bassist. In 1981, he enrolled at the College of Marin in Kentfield, CA where he studied classical music for two years. It was there he began playing the acoustic bass in the college orchestra and the electric bass in jazz ensemble. Arlington was big into jazz fusion at that time he was eager to follow in the footsteps of his bass heroes like Stanley Clark, Byron Miller, Louis Johnson Marcus Miller, and Jaco Pastorius. Ralph Armstrong, Nathan East, Jimmy Haslip, Danny Wilson, Randy Jackson, Darryl Jones, and Victor Bailey. Arlington easily connected with other passionate musicians and began performing with them around Marin County. After college, he studied with Herbie Lewis and Stephen Tomontozzi in the Bay Area, and spent a lot of time with good friend and bassist Peter Washington. Today Arlington is still inspired by greats like Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, Doug Watkins, Oscar Petiford, Jimmy Blanton, Buster Williams, Bob Cranshaw, Ray Drummond, Gary Peacock and Eddie Gomez.
In 1985 Arlington was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. There he studied with bassist, John Neves and Bill Curtis. While attending Berklee, Arlington gained knowledge of jazz arranging and theory. It was at Berklee that he was able to meet and perform with other young talents such as Delfeayo Marsalis, Javon Jackson, Mark Whitfield, Danillo Perez, Jacky Terrasson, Warren Hill, Gene Lake, David Dyson, Kai Eckdardt, Sam Newsome, Julian Joseph and he also met Kenny Garrett. Arlington’s influential instructors included Walter Beasley, John Laporta, Donald Brown and Greg McPherson.Read more