Why would a very successful musician throw his career away to become just another bass player in New York City?
Chris Tarry didn't exactly throw his career away. But the Calgary-born, Vancouver-based Tarry was certainly one of the most celebrated bassists in Canada. As a solo artist and one-fourth of the fusion super group Metalwood, Tarry was a serious presence on the Canadian jazz scene and a winner of two Juno Awards.
And when Tarry moved to New York in 2003, he didn't change his name--his name and experience came with him. He couldn't exactly be just another bass player, either; Tarry's reputation came from his mastery of the electric bass, not the acoustic. While the jazz of the 1970s seemed crammed with electric bassists--Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius come immediately to mind, of course--Tarry is the only electric bass player to have really emerged in the last twenty years in jazz. His technical expertise and understanding of how electric bass can actually work in jazz are indisputable.
Still, Tarry took a great risk relocating to New York, where there are no dearth of great players; certainly, he wasn't the known quantity he was north of the border. But Tarry was, and is, more than a great player. He's a fine writer, and he brought his tunes with him. Today he's one of the workingest sidemen in New York, playing in multiple genres, and has a steady, working band.
AAJ Contributing Editor Paul Olson spoke with Tarry about his excellent 2006 CD Sorry to Be Strange and the brand-new, out-this-minute second recording from the Chris Tarry Group, Almost Certainly Dreaming. The affable, good-humored Tarry is, incidentally, the only person who can use the word gazillions" and make it sound hip.
Check out Chris Tarry: New Challenges, New Influences, New York at AAJ today!
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