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Take Five with Charley Sabatino

Charley Sabatino By

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Meet Charley Sabatino:
Charley Sabatino is a veteran bassist with more than 35 years experience. He plays both upright and electric bass, encompassing a wide range of styles, and plays throughout the NY/Metro Area. Highlights of his career include: The Today Show backing the Children's Aid Society Chorus, Lincoln Center with Ben Vereen, Headliners at the Village Gate, 92nd St. Y, Cat Club, New Music Seminar and the Cabaret Circuit with clients of the William Morris Agency.

Charley is the Music Director of the Jazz Workshop at the Cadenza Music School (named 2012 Best Music School in Queens) as well as a freelance bassist and educator. Charley teaches improvisation, theory, upright and electric bass privately, both in-person and via Skype. He also gives highly acclaimed clinics in the fundamentals of electric and upright bass and in improvisation for all instruments.

Charley is endorsed by Lakland Basses SIT strings Lathon Bass Wear, Hartke Amplifiers, Kahler Bridges and Igig cases and has been profiled in Bass Player Magazine (July 2014).

Charley holds a Master of Arts in Music from LIU CW Post. He has studied with Billy Bauer, Harvie S, Jeff Andrews, Tony Oppenheim, Lyn Christie and Mike Pope.

Instrument(s):
Upright Bass, electric Bass

Teachers and/or influences?
Billy Bauer REALLY taught me the importance of breaking down "pattern playing" and getting to the notes. He also helped me to understand the role of the "inner voice" in improvisation.

Dr. Lyn Christie helped me in my work with the upright bass. The need for good posture and the understand that intonation was not a place on the fingerboard. That it was a combination of "tune, tone and time." He also taught me how to truly relax when playing and ;et my ideas truly flow out.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When, in high school, my friend Angus came over to my house and played me the track "The Real Me" from the Who album Quadrophenia. I listened and said to myself, "yup, that is what I want to do...."

Your sound and approach to music:
My approach to music is holistic. I tell players and students that all music comes from the same roots. I try to look at all music I play from the same mind. I have worked VERY hard to think the same whether on upright or electric and regardless of style.

My goal is to always be ME.

Your teaching approach:
I try to give students, regardless of level, the understanding that music comes from the player. That it is not just imitating someone else. To play correctly (in a physical sense) to avoid injury and to know the theory and practice of music intimately so they can effectively convey theory musical ideas to the listener.

I really try to provide a healthy, friendly and fun atmosphere to students. There are no attitudes or opinions or "vibe." Every one learns at their own pace. Everyone comes from different influences and backgrounds. Whether the darkest metal band or the coolest jazz..and everything in between..it is all good and all VALID.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Did a gig at a church... the congregation decided to have jazz instead of Gospel. The leader called a set of Duke and Miles... the place went CRAZY... turns out there were people in the audience that toured and played with both!

Favorite venue:
Currently my favorite venue is Spectrum in the ES Manhattan. Amazing acoustics. great crowd. friendly staff. I also like Red Room on E 4th St. All of the above. The reason it ranks #2 is the 3.5 flight walk up... LOL

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
It has to be my latest. Dichotomies by the Velocity Duo.

IMO, it is the culmination of all the years of practice, study and exploration.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I see in the bass community (and probably in other areas) an emphasis on gear, idol worship and imitation. I feel I bring an individual voice to my playing situations.

I also bring professionalism, I am on time, prepared, dressed appropriately and have a positive attitude.

CDs you are listening to now:
Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch
Igor Stravinsky: Rite of Spring
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring
Ornette Coleman: All recordings
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Jazz, at lease in NYC is full of bad attitudes, cliques and preservationists. God forbid anything goes against the "jazz tradition." People and players put everything in a box and don't venture outside of it. Anything considered new or, god forbid, "free" is frowned upon.

The jazz community continues to alienate new thought, new direction and ultimately its listening base.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Open mindedness, new blood, youth, influences from other areas.

What is in the near future?
I have recorded the album Dichotomies with vocalist Lauren Lee. We are the "Velocity Duo." The album is due to be released in the Spring of this year. We are currently working with a publicist and obtaining reviews and tour dates.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
I will not be having funeral. But if I did...

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
tat depends o my mood...lol

By Day:
No, music is my job. I teach and perform.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Naturalist.

About Charley Sabatino
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