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Take Five With Gavin Barras

Take Five With Gavin Barras
Gavin Barras By

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Meet Gavin Barras:
Born in Kendal, Cumbria in the UK, bassist Gavin Barras studied music at the University of Manchester, receiving private tuition from Roberto Carillo-Garcia and Corin Long. Whist studying classical music, Gavin continued developing his love for jazz and received lessons from Steve Berry in jazz bass. Gavin is a busy working musician, actively involved in several recording and touring projects both in the UK and abroad.

Instrument(s):
Double bass and bass guitar.

Teachers and/or influences?
Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Wilbur Ware, Charlie Haden, Christian McBride, George Mraz, Hein van de Geyn and electric bassist Jaco Pastorius. I'm also heavily influenced by Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Enrico Pieranunzi and Billy Higgins.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I heard Jaco Pastorius.

Your sound and approach to music:
I'm going for the Wilbur Ware/Charlie Haden sound. High action on my bass to get a huge acoustic sound, and not straying too far away from the bassist's role as a support instrument. I try to approach music from the listener's perspective. What would excite me listening to jazz?

Your teaching approach:
Teaching students what they want to learn. Keeping the interest and excitement up is vital.

Your dream band:
I would love to work/study with the great bassist/composer Cecil McBee

Favorite venue:
Pizza Express, Dean Street, London: great sound, audience, food and management.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Day of Reckoning, by the Gavin Barras Quintet, because it is the first time I recorded all of my compositions on one album. I also organized the band/recording and helped with the design concept. I'm really proud of the results.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Night Train, Oscar Peterson Trio.

CDs you are listening to now:
Sonny Rollins , Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note); Jaco Pastorius , Word of Mouth (Warner Bros); Pat Metheny , Bright Size Life (ECM); Enrico Pieranunzi , Live in Paris (Challenge).

Desert Island picks:
Weather Report, Black Market (Columbia); Chet Baker, In New York (Riverside); Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby (Riverside); Christian McBride, Getting to It (Verve).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Really good. Lots of amazing, creative music being made by young and old people.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Gigs!....and making sure the music is accessible to all and not just a niche thing.

What is in the near future?
My debut album Day Of Reckoning was released on June 11, 2012 through ASC Records. It features the great Ed Jones (tenor sax), Corey Mwamba (vibes), Steve Plews (piano) and Dave Walsh (drums). All the tunes are original compositions of mine and all written in one night! I had a gig cancelled due to the riots here in the UK last summer, and used the time to listen to and write music whilst watching the news updates throughout the night. So I used a negative situation and turned it into a creative/positive one. We are going to tour this album in 2013.

Photo Credit

Mike Stemberg.

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