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Take Five With Jason Raso

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Jason Raso: Jason Raso continually unwraps little gifts to the listener, as he explores a variety of phrasing and lays down a groove so deep that you'll need a miner's lamp to find your way.

If it can be played on the bass, Jason Raso is your man: from jazz to blues and on down the line into funk and Latin, he's got a handle on it. Jason's five solo albums - The Bassman Cometh (2001), Live on Planet Bop (2002), Detour (2005, An Abominable Christmas (2006 and Time Pieces (2007) - showcase his strong melodic sense, extraordinary technique, and innate ability to lay down a groove.

Jason's bass influences include Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Charles Mingus and Jaco Pastorius.

No stranger to the live music scene, Raso has close to four hundred gigs under his belt. Jason has performed extensively with guitar virtuoso Adrian Raso, R&B outfit Passenger, as well as numerous solo projects. With The Jason Raso Trio, he plans to see that number rise.

Instrument(s): Bass.

Teachers and/or influences? Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Dave Holland, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was very young. At that point I wanted to be a rock star, but I eventually discovered jazz and funk.

Your sound and approach to music: My approach is to keep learning and searching for new ideas. Even though I've been playing for close to twenty years I feel like I'm just getting started.

Your teaching approach: I try to balance what the students need to learn with what they want to learn.

Your dream band: I would love to work with Wycliffe Gordon, John Scofield, or Herbie Hancock.

Anecdote from the road: Nothing specific comes to mind but we always have a blast playing live.

Favorite venue: Manhattans in Guelph, Ontario.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Groovespeak - our latest, which was recorded live - I love the vibe of the album.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Hopefully, a willingness to keep learning.

Did you know... I love hockey!!

How do you use the internet to help your career? I use our website, a MySpace page, mailing lists, CDBaby. All of these things have been very valuable.

CDs you are listening to now: Grant Green, His Majesty King Funk (Verve); Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery, The Dynamic Duo (Verve); Clifford Brown, With Strings (Verve); Charles Mingus, At the Bohemia (Debut).

Desert Island picks: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (Columbia); Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um (Columbia); John Coltrane, A Love Supreme (Impulse!); Weather Report, Heavy Weather (Columbia).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Healthy, but I'd like to see it grow and grow.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Live music.

What is in the near future? Lots of gigs!!

By Day: Bass instructor.

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