Composer and bassist Rob Thorsen’s new release, “Lasting Impression,” takes us on a journey through an audible photo gallery of contrasts, colors, shades of light and space. Although he has focused on musical landscapes before as a leader on three previous CD’s, his current project demonstrates an evolution and maturity as a composer and musician that clearly raises the bar. Rob is a devoted and seasoned instrumentalist, equally confident with standards and original compositions, whose bass sings with a warmth and creative spirit while maintaining an engaging interactive dialogue with the ensemble. “As a creative musician one can never be sedentary in approaching a performance, whether it is live or recorded. Clearly, the musicians on this CD completely dedicated themselves to making this a stimulating and inventive musical endeavor,” remarked Thorsen.
Thorsen credits his mother for his musicality as she surrounded their home in San Diego, California with her classical guitar sounds and textile arts skills. To that end it is obvious why Rob developed a knack for weaving instrumental textures in his music through various combinations of timbres and sonorities and has a special interest in visual arts through his own photography. Thorsen describes his concept for the current project: “I took the jazz quintet format and added or subtracted instruments as I needed for particular songs. There is one solo track, two trios, three quartets, three quintet pieces, and one sextet. The sextet uses alto flute, bassoon, and flugelhorn. I like using different combinations of players as good musicians adapt immediately to different group situations - it helps create a variety of sounds on the recording.”
Rob is no stranger to different instrumental sounds since starting out playing baritone ukulele at age six, switching to classical guitar at eight, then flute, saxophone and tuba through High School and finally buying his first electric bass at a garage sale in San Francisco at nineteen. In his twenties he discovered the upright bass and that became his one true love beginning a long career that started with his first gig on a cruise ship. What made Rob gravitate to the bass was the fact, as he describes, “that you feel as much as you hear when playing an acoustic bass due to its amazing design physically as far as projecting low frequency sound. I’ve worked at developing a good sound with the bow as well,” continued Thorsen, “It completely changes the character of the instrument and gives the player many vocal-like opportunities.“