Teachers and/or influences? My first teacher, William Lewis, with whom I studied in Pittsburgh. The greatest influences on me, musically and compositionally speaking, have been John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Maurice Ravel and Lili Boulangere.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was twelve years old, went to junior high school, and "took up" an instrument, which was the trumpet. This lasted about six months until in band practice the teacher had asked a question, and I had my hand raised to answer that first question, when unbeknownst to me the teacher had then asked another question, which was, "Who would like to volunteer to be on bass?" Well, I still had my hand raised to answer the first question, but the teacher looked at me with my hand still raised and said, "Bass? You're on bass!" And that was that!
Your sound and approach to music: I strive constantly towards my own, instantly identifiable, uniquely recognizable sound. My approach to the music is always through my own method: The Diminished Whole Tone Concept.
Your teaching approach: My philosophy is in my method, The Diminished Whole Tone Concept. Then my aim is to simplify it to make it accessible to everybody.
Your dream band: I don't have a clue! I don't know because I like to be spontaneous!
CDs you are listening to now: Chick Corea - Corea Concerto (Sony, 2000); John Coltrane - Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964); Miles Davis - Poetics of Sound 1954-1959 (Sony BMG, 2005); Thelonious Monk - Monk's Blues (Columbia, 1968); Arthur Prysock and Count Basie (Verve, 1965).
Desert Island picks:Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note, 2005); John Coltrane - Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964); Duke Ellington - Live at Newport 1958 (Sony, 1994); John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse!, 1963); Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers - Summerwinds.
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Please see my article on "Send In The 'Clones'." Excerpts of this are shown on my website at www.mickeybass.com ("Article").
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Apprenticeship.
What is in the near future? An exciting, eventful April with my band The Manhattan Burn Unit, and master classes in some of the best educational establishments in this country of my original, two-year-college-accredited jazz improvisatorial method: The Diminished Whole Tone Concept.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.