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Don Mopsick

Don Mopsick began his musical career as a teenager in his hometown of Linden, NJ, performing on trumpet and bass guitar for local ethnic dances. After High School, he attended Rutgers University and Berklee College of Music. His first professional gigs were with Rosemary Clooney and Ralph Sharon around Boston.

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, Lee Castle (with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra), Jim Chapin, John Carisi, Benny Ventura, the Paul Jefferey Octet and others.

After a move to Ft. Myers FL in 1977, Mopsick began private study on double bass with Lucas Drew at the University of Miami. He moved to Orlando in 1983 and began work at Walt Disney World, Circus World, Rosie O’Grady’s, and as a free-lance bassist state-wide. Until 1986 he was a full-time staff musician at Disney World.

During his time in Orlando, Don played concert dates for, among others, The Jazz Club of Sarasota, The Treasure Coast Jazz Society (Vero Beach), The Gainesville Friends of Jazz, the Central Florida Jazz Society, and was a jazz clinician with Willie Thomas at Valdosta (Georgia) State University.

Mopsick played Florida concert dates with Howard Alden, Mousey Alexander, Bill and John Allred, Dan Barrett, John Bunch, Pete Christleib, Al Cohn, Richie Cole, Ike and Fred Cole, Kenny Davern, Buddy DeFranco, Terry Gibbs, Scott Hamilton, Buddy Morrow (with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra), Ken Peplowski, Flip Phillips, Red Rodney, Bob Rosengarden, Ira Sullivan, Clark Terry, Warren Vaché Jr., Joe Wilder and many others.

In 1991 Don joined the 7-piece Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio TX. He played Monday through Saturday nights at The Landing jazz club and toured with the band through the US and abroad, including a 15-day tour of Russia and Siberia in 2007.

The style of Cullum's band focused exclusively on pre-WWII classics as played by King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Bob Cats, early Duke Ellington, Eddie Condon, etc. In keeping with this aesthetic, at The Landing Mopsick played acoustically ("unplugged"), without the use of a pickup or amplifier for the bass.

During his years in San Antonio Don recorded hundreds of hours for the Riverwalk Jazz public radio series. Some of the guests appearing on the show were Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Bob Wilber, Dick Hyman, Ken Peplowski, Kenny Davern, Milt Hinton, Nicholas Payton, Ralph Sutton, “Sweets” Edison, Shelly Berg, Harry Allen, Dan Barrett, Joe Williams, Stephanie Nakasian, Linda Hopkins, Bob Barnard, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Vince Giordano, Savion Glover, Bob Haggart, Jon-Erik Kellso, and many others.

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"In Don's bass playing, one hears echoes of bass greats Bill Johnson, Pops Foster, and Milt Hinton. Mopsick presents something endearing to musicians and jazz fans of an earlier era: a completely acoustic approach." —Riverwalk Jazz
Primary Instrument

Bass, acoustic


Fort Myers

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


I studied Music Education at Rutgers University. I've taught classroom music at the Middle, High School and College levels. I created and designed a jazz recorder curriculum for grades 3-5 for Riverwalk Jazz. Available to travel for clinics, jazz camps, etc. nationwide. Email [email protected] or Facebook message at https://www.facebook.com/mophandl

Clinic/Workshop Information

For younger students, my approach to teaching swing rhythm and improvisation is through first memorizing simple swinging riffs using one or two notes at the beginning stage; then ear training through mimicking and games. For older, more advanced students who read music only, my method of teaching swing rhythm feel is through listening to examples, having them first sing their written instrumental parts, then approaching playing "off the page" and soloing as above emphasizing swing rhythm and restricted note choices at first. Bass "master class" focus is on the elements of playing time using "beautiful quarter notes;" song forms 12-bar blues, then 32-bar AABA "I Got Rhythm." Also, I cover the elements of constructing walking bass lines

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Louis Armstrong
trumpet and vocals
Ray Brown
bass, acoustic
John Coltrane
Milt Hinton
bass, acoustic
George Morrow
bass, acoustic
Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto
Paul Chambers
bass, acoustic
Count Basie Orchestra
band / orchestra


Concert Schedule


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