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Tom Kennedy: Stories From Behind and Beyond The Bass

Tom Kennedy: Stories From Behind and Beyond The Bass

Courtesy Sandrine Lee


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I wanted it all, so I would just skip lunch. Then later in the day I would realize that I hadn't had breakfast either.. I would grab a piece of chicken at night and that would be the extent of my food intake for the day. When my mom came to pick me up at the end of the week I was malnourished and dehydrated, but I was the happiest kid on the planet.
—Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy has never considered himself a prospector, but surely has tapped into a goldmine. As if releasing a hotshot new record wasn't enough, the world class jazz and fusion bassist is in compositional bliss with a bevy of new material yet to be recorded. Kennedy and I talk at length about his new writing technique and its impact on his music.

Kennedy also shares memories of his much beloved and talented older brother, Ray. The versatile jazz pianist left this earth some six years ago. He clearly is still very much a presence in his younger brother's life. Heartfelt sentiment rolled into laughter as we visited his memories of bandcamp as a kid. World travels, including an absorbing take on China, are among the many other topics. Our afternoon chat got off to an early start...

Tom Kennedy Hi Jimmie, you're a minute early, I wasn't quite ready for you(laughing).

All About Jazz: (laughing) Okay, I'll call back in a minute. Hi Tom, how are you? I hope all is well with you and your family.

Tom Kennedy: We're good. Thanks for asking. How have you been?

AAJ: Doing okay. Glad we are starting a new year, hoping for a much better 2021.

TK: Oh, for sure. Let's hope we can find our way out of this in the near future.

AAJ: Well, among other things I, of course, want to talk about your new album. We are old school, so I still call it an album or a record.

TK: Yeah, I do too.

AAJ: Well, for sure we can call it out as a highlight of new releases in 2020...even if now being listed as 2021 with a new record company joining the party. So if you would, start from the beginning of how this project came together and all about Stories (Autumn Hill Records, 2021).

TK: Well, it wasn't so much an artistic vision or creative idea. It was kind of a fluke. A fluky thing I was doing with the computer one day. I was on the road with Mike Stern and Dave Weckl and we were in China. I didn't have a keyboard with me. I always found that when I went on the road it was difficult to write. I packed a keyboard for a long time, but I never used it, so I stopped lugging it around. I was sitting in my hotel room and I had this idea about this chordal production. I thought about how I could input it and thought maybe I could do it note by note in Pro Tools. I realized that I could tap the notes in with the mouse. I could adjust the duration and change the pitch. I spent maybe half an hour doing that, and at the end of it I had this idea. I could put a nice spin on it and make it sound like a Rhodes piano or an acoustic piano or whatever I wanted it to be. Every day I just picked at it a little bit more and a little bit more and starting figure out drum grooves to make it more interesting and to make the writing process more interesting. So that's kind of how it came to be.

AAJ: So did you end up writing all of the songs in that manner?

TK: I wrote everything that way, yes.

AAJ: That's interesting.

TK: I discovered that if I got in the middle of a song and I couldn't quite figure out where I was going, I would put in a note but purposely not listen to it. I would get eight bars into it and be thinking where is the ninth bar going. So, I would just punch in a chord without listening to it. Then I would play it later and many times I would have put in the wrong chord, but there was something about a wrong chord that took the song in a different direction. Unlike writing in a stream of consciousness, I would get to a point where I could go several different ways. The wrong chord would tell me what the right chord is, if that makes any sense. I could just change the chord and adjust the melody if I need to. I hope I am explaining this in a way that makes sense.

AAJ: I think so, yeah. It sounds to me like the wrong chord could even end up being the right chord that you never would have thought to go to.

TK: Yes and its strange that things that end up being the right way to go really gave the composition a different spin and made it a little less predictable. As jazz players we find ourselves in two five one. There are certain patterns we use as musicians. So, it's nice to have something come along that sort of presents a challenge for something to go a different way.

AAJ: Yeah and as much as you like the two five one, I have heard so many jazz musicians say that they don't ever want to repeat themselves. That's all a tall order with so many recordings and live performances.

TK: It really is. Also considering each bar becomes very predictable and sounds like others. The idea of trying to compose something different each time you do it is a challenge. I don't know that each time you accomplish that. But I am proud of these songs. I think they are a little bit different directionally and are challenging in many ways. Even in the sense that I have to consider what I have written and where are the changes. I wasn't thinking about that at the time I was composing. I was thinking more compositionally than as a performance.

AAJ: This is an outside the box approach comparatively to your previous work. Would you say it pushes you beyond a comfort zone?

TK: I think it does, yes. I remember a story that Herbie (Herbie Hancock) told one night. He had hit a wrong chord, at least what he thought was wrong, and Miles (Miles Davis) made it right by something he played on his horn. I never forget that. I thought about that when I would get to one of these junctures where I would play something and wonder what I was going to do next. Then suddenly the melody comes together, and you make it work.

AAJ: Well too, with the exuberance you have in talking about it. It's clear that this is something you really enjoy in addition to your joy of playing music.

TK: Jimmie, that's the amazing realization. I am so glad that I was able to get everybody together and get this done pre-COVID. I traveled around a bit to get it all done. Dave (Weckl) and I mixed it, so I flew out to Los Angeles to do that in his studio. Going through the entire process, of writing stage, to the arranging stage, to the adding the guys stage, to the mixing stages, to actually having a physical CD in my hand ended up being possible and not even really that difficult. Bringing it all to fruition is such a great feeling of accomplishment.

AAJ: It didn't seem difficult because it is all a labor of love.

TK That's right.

AAJ: None of it is the drag of I've got to do this, and I have to that, like they are chores. It's more like, now I get to do this, and later I get to do that!

TK: (laughing) It really is. It's just so much fun. To hear what the other musicians are adding to the recordings is just a great feeling and a lot of fun. It's really something to know the music so well, but to be able to kickback and hear it changing all around me,

AAJ: That fun and liveliness translates over to the listening process as well. The music really pops. I know that historically with your records you are very successful with mixing and matching artists that haven't played together before and creating a new sound or new vibe. This time you had cats who have played a lot together like Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, Ada Rovatti, and Stern on board and still successfully captured a fresh vibe.

TK: I appreciate you saying that, Jimmie. I thought so (laughing), but I might be slightly biased. Everyone had some comments about parts of it being difficult or challenging. I think that goes back to the, as you said, the outside the box compositional process. Everyone really enjoyed doing it. I was just beaming at what everyone brought to the mix and added to the sound of the record. With musicians of this caliber, it is just so inspiring to hear what they come up with. It's flattering that these musicians care so much about my music and are so into wanting to make it special.

AAJ: What is the title Stories derived from?

TK: Well you know each song has its own separate heartbeat. The title track has kind of an African beat. There are some fusion things and a lot of different directions. The song "Elements," came out of so many things. There are pieces of Michael Brecker, Yellowjackets, and Stern in there. From my perspective each song has its own adventure. All together it was great journey. It was like reading a book that you just can't put down.

AAJ: You have mostly recorded live in the studio in the past to get that live everyone playing together and improvising feel. What is your take after recording a record with separate tracks being incorporated?

TK: You know that is actually one of the other really great things. I wasn't sure how that was going to work out and it turned out beautifully.

AAJ: You certainly weren't dedicating time to sad stories. This is a very upbeat and positive record. A great fit for the times we are currently living in. This is something a lot people can plug into. I say that in the sense that it has plenty of depth from the excellent cast of musicians but at the same time it's fun and easy to listen to. Not necessarily a simple task to bind those elements. Was it a conscious effort to make it have some clever interplay and improvisations, but conversely be listener friendly?

TK: Yeah, the dynamics and colors of the jazz solos were going to be there, but I like to have a groove. A really basic but strong groove that people can relate to and feel. I love percussion. I love congas on everything. I love a groove and I also love a great melody. One that has a lot of melodic movement, space, and beauty.

AAJ: There's always a growth or refinement of some sort from record to record. What would you say is your biggest takeaway from this project?

TK: The biggest takeaway is that I can't wait to do another one. It sounds maybe humorous to say that, but to me it is very inspiring. With this new process I already have enough for two more records. I have written twenty new songs. As far as I am concerned, they are all that level. I feel like I am really on a roll, so I want to stay on this road and see where it takes me.

AAJ: Perhaps the twenty new songs you have composed might be even better since you now have some experience in composing that way. Perhaps proficiency takes you to even further depths.

TK: I kind of think that to be true. Yes, now I am very comfortable with it and can really be creative with it.

AAJ: Well, it's an excellent record that people really need to check this out. I wish you much success with it.

TK: Thank you Jimmie. You're very kind to say that.

AAJ: Changing gears, for anyone that doesn't know, the great jazz pianist Ray Kennedy was Tom's older brother. He sadly passed away from MS six years ago. I much appreciate your willingness and perhaps better said, truly wanting to give voice to your brother. You have a real pride when you have spoken about Ray in the past. Maybe to start with let's talk about Ray as a musician and a composer.

TK: Well, Ray didn't really get the chance to compose as much as he would have like to because he was in such high demand a s a pianist. He was kept very busy and had trouble finding the time. He played with John Pizzarelli for a very long time. Going back to when we were kids, we were playing with a bunch of folks such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, James Moody, Eddie Harris and oh my gosh, who else...

AAJ: Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis...

TK: Yes, right, both of them. Ray played with Dizzy when he was fourteen years old. It never stopped after that. I remember when Dizzy came into town the next time, he called the house and asked if Ray was going to come. Dizzy said, "I want to hear that kid play again. I've told my band about this kid and said you won't believe how good he is." He asked us to come to the club on him and wanted Ray to play with the band.

AAJ: Man, that's pretty special to get that kind of respect from an all-time great when you are only fourteen years old. Ray was just a natural.

TK: He was. It was just incredible. Ray and I were truly uncanny together. When we would listen to music together it was like one person listening to it in the way we would react to it. I remember playing gigs with him and with the piano solo coming before the bass solo I would be intimidated.

AAJ: As in, how am I going to follow that?

TK: Yeah, how do I follow him. It makes me think of Art Tatum. Pianists would hear him play and they were ready to quit(laughing).

AAJ: (laughing)

TK: Ray had that same kind of spontaneous energy and creativeness. Man, usually if anyone has intimidated me a little bit in my career it is someone with a big name.

AAJ: Sure, yeah, it gets in your head.

TK: Yeah it was more about that then the way they played. I never felt intimidated by someone who can really play. That part I really love. It's just the reputation or the name someone has made for themself.

AAJ: Oh my God, I'm playing with Michael Brecker.

TK: Exactly. You think about that and it makes you nervous. With Ray it was strictly his ability. He was my brother and my best friend. We used to fight, hang out together, listen to a lot of music together, did recordings together, we were beyond best friends.

AAJ: You had a terrific childhood playing with famous and well-established musicians. You also played clubs all over. There just has to be a fun remembrance or two from that very special time on your life.

TK: When we were still in high school there was a jazz club in Illinois, just east of St. Louis. It was called Jazz East. It was a little dive bar that an older pianist and his wife opened. He was a jazz pianist named Gail Bell and he opened this club so that he would have a place to play. Ray and I happened in one time. We went around to all the clubs and had heard about this place. Gail knew about Ray. At this point everyone knew about Ray. He invited Ray to play. Ray proceeded to blow the roof off the place the first time he played there. Gail had these Tuesday night jam sessions with his trio. He invited us to come play. We would round up a drummer and go over there and basically take over the place. Gail loved it. Musicians would come to jam. There were guys with horns around the block waiting to get in. Ray loved to drink beer back then. He would just kind of wave his hand and Gail would bring him another beer. One night Ray wanted to change it up and kicked into "Cherokee" up. We played that thing at an incredible tempo. We were flying. Ray lit a cigarette at the beginning of the tune and there were probably four or five empty beers on top of the piano. Ray soloed for half an hour at that tempo. It was amazing. That cigarette was hanging out of his mouth the entire time. The ash kept on getting longer and longer and longer and started to droop a little bit. It had smoked all the way down to the filter and gone out and was still hanging there, even at this fast tempo. The hilarious part is when Ray hits this big chord at the end, turns to get another beer, and the ash just goes everywhere, all over the keyboard, all over his pants. Everyone died laughing. Ray had forgotten that he even had the cigarette in his mouth because he was just in another world.

AAJ: There wasn't any smoke anymore, so easy to forget it was there. That's pretty funny.

TK: We talked in the past about my father owning a music store where we grew up in Maplewood (a suburb of St. Louis). Ray was really into tenor saxophone players. He borrowed one from the music store. I remember him honking away at it for a couple of days. By the third day he is starting to learn but you know, just beginner's stuff. Three weeks later he asks me to meet him at a club. I had an early gig and then went over there. As I am walking in, I hear this tenor player playing all this stuff that I had never heard anyone else in St. Louis play. Tuns out there were three guys trading eights on the bandstand. I got wind that two of them were professionals from around the area but wasn't sure who was the third. I walk in and it's my brother up there.

AAJ: Having not played a sax until three weeks before.

TK: Yeah and here he was trading licks with these professional guys.

AAJ: You must have just about fallen over.

TK: I started to fall over but then I thought, that's Ray. That's what he does. Six months later I walked into the same club and I heard a drummer that sounded like Jimmy Cobb. I had never heard anyone like that in the area. I make my way in curious to see who it was and sure enough, it was Ray. That's what he was like.

AAJ: Remarkable. He was just one of those guys that could pick up just about any instrument and figure it out.

TK: Yes and he knew how to be most effective with them It was just crazy. That's the brother I grew up with. I wish the world could have known more about him. There is a legacy of recordings. Unfortunately, not nearly enough.

AAJ: You did a couple of records together did you not?

TK: We did. We did several things together. Mostly for other people. We did one recording of our own. We were kind of staggered. He went up to New York City first. He got real busy playing in the clubs. It didn't take him long to become an A list first call pianist. Then when I went up there he came back home for a bit. I went out to California for a bit. We just kind of split off and were doing our own things and weren't together nearly as much.

AAJ: Well, you were both young and following your career paths.

TK: Yes and I migrated into fusion, while still loving traditional jazz. Ray was more the traditionalist. So that altered our paths as well.

AAJ: Straight up jazz for Ray. You once said that Ray was the greatest person you have ever known. Is there a synopsis of what made him so?

TK: Ray was a fan. A fan of the music. A fan of the musicians A fan of people. He cared about everyone and deeply so. I can actually say that about my parents and my sister as well. But you can't really say that about all that many people. He was wide-eyed. Life was fascinating for him. Learning all the different instruments was never about ego. It was about the experience of it and the camaraderie that it brought.

AAJ: One blessing, I would imagine, is that whenever you think of Ray, and I'm sure that's often, it's likely the good times that come to mind.

TK: Yes, I am blessed to have so many special memories of all the time we spent together. And Ray is still with me. He will always be with me.

AAJ: I really appreciate you sharing so much about your brother. Thank you for that.

TK: Oh, thank you for asking, Jimmie. I'm so touched by that. It means so much to me that you see who he was and what he was. I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk about my brother.

AAJ: Back in your childhood you attended Stan Kenton's bandcamp. I have had a few musicians tell me what a great experience that was, most notably Peter Erskine. What was it about Kenton's camp that made it a cut above the others?

TK: I think there was just something very special about Stan. His music was more than just swing, there was so much color. The guys in the band like, Dick Shearer, when he would play a note on his trombone it would just melt you. Kenton had such an interesting combination of rhythm and harmonic content. Stan was a larger than life guy. He was very sweet. I was just a kid and he would take the time to talk with me. Every night we would see the guys in the band walking to the stage in the auditorium with their vests. That was the style back then. We knew how well traveled and just how great they were. Just hitting that first note really struck me and I was hooked. The first night I was there they started with "My Foolish Heart." Opening with a ballad, with that soft brush of the snare and the trombone section lightly coming in just emotionally sucked you in. You know, rather than starting with something big and really blasting.

AAJ: He was really good at creating a mood.

TK: Yes, setting a mood before jumping into something that was really swinging. I never missed a note on any of the nights that I was there. I was in the front row with my mouth hanging out the whole time. One of my favorite bands is when they brought Peter in to play drums. The camp had so much going on during the day that I remember not eating and only having one meal at the end of the day if I had time. I was running all over the place trying to catch everything I could. There were other classes than the ones that I was directly involved with. There were classes on theory and sectional classes. I wanted all of it, I wanted to experience all of it. At lunch time there was some kind of get together and I wanted to be involved, so I would just skip lunch.

AAJ: You'd rather consume all of that than a sandwich.

TK: (laughing) Yes, that's exactly right. Later in the day I would realize that I hadn't had breakfast either. So, I would grab a piece of chicken at night and that would be the extent of food intake for the day. When my mom came to pick me up, she said I looked at her like a wild tiger. I had run myself down so much that whole week. I was malnourished and dehydrated, but I was the happiest kid on the planet. She picked Ray and I up and immediately took me to the hotel because I looked like I was about ready to pass out. I had this huge meal and she just kept on ordering me more food. I got a little sleep and then we went back and played in a concert that night.

AAJ: The camp must have been almost magical at that age.

TK: It absolutely was magical. I was thirteen when I started at the camp. You were supposed to be fourteen to be eligible. It was the only time my parents ever lied (laughing).

AAJ: (laughing) A little white lie that clearly was for the best of everyone and hurt no one. Long after the camp, there was that one time in Singapore. Apparently, there is a story of a good time, that Jimmy Haslip "instructed" me to ask you about. He said that he could tell me but that he'd let you tell the story(laughing).

TK: (laughing) That's hilarious. I was there with Stern and Weckl and Bob Franceschini. We were playing a gig there. and The Yellowjackets were playing there as well. On the closing night of the festival they asked if the two bands would get together and play together. We thought that would be kind of fun, certainly something very different. We could do some of our stuff and some of their stuff.

AAJ: And Mike and his band thought so as well, I take it?

TK: Yes, they were in. The first concern is how do you do it with two bass players.

AAJ: Oh, yeah that's true. Multiple drummers, guitars, and saxophones work easy enough but....

TK: Yean and also Weckl got really sick from something he ate and couldn't play. He had food poisoning and was out of the mix. But Marcus Baylor was the Jackets drummer at the time. He had been one of my students years before back in St. Louis when I was teaching at the college there. So, I knew Marcus real well and that worked out okay. When we got there, there were two humongous bass amplifiers. One on each side of the stage. It was hilarious. The one I wanted to use was stage right and the one Jimmy wanted to play was stage left. But he's left-handed and I'm right-handed. So, we had to get the guys to move the amps. What we decide to do was to stand right next to each other. We were like bookends with both of our bass necks sticking out in opposite directions. We had Franceschini and they had, oh gosh, their longtime saxophonist, ah...

AAJ: Mintzer? Bob Mintzer?

TK: Mintzer, yes, and with Russell Ferrante playing keyboards and of course Mike on guitar. I'm trying to remember how we came up with enough material that all of knew well enough to play together. As I say that, I recall that Mike had done a record with The Yellowjackets not too long before that.

AAJ: Lifecycles(Heads Up International, 2008), yeah.

TK: Yeah, it was fun and a unique experience in that you never get to hear your own instrument on stage.

AAJ: Yeah, what makes it interesting is that having two bass players is unheard of. A very rare occurrence. How did you go about dividing up the songs and/or the playing time?

TK: We would play sections of the song. Like I would play part of the melody up to the bridge and then he would play the bridge out. Then he might keep going and play the first solo and I would follow with the second solo. It was a ball. We would just kind of nod at each other, like you got it. We went back and forth and really had fun with it. I have to say that Jimmy is one of my favorite bass players to listen to, along with Anthony (Anthony Jackson) and maybe a couple of other guys. I have learned so much just listening to him play. To have the opportunity to be up there together as friends was great. I mean we were cracking jokes and giggling. It was a very memorable experience.

AAJ: I'd have to think too, that it might be the only time you had such an occurrence of being on stage playing alongside another bassist.

TK: It's funny you should mention that. I've been doing the jazz cruises every year for about the past fifteen years. Marcus Miller is the musical director. We did a gospel show with Take 6 and some others. I was playing upright and at the end of the show Marcus came out. We were doing just a little bluesy kind of thing that he was going to play on. When that part came up, I started to pack up and Marcus said, "Where are you going?" I said, "I guess nowhere." He was like, "let's go, let's do this, let's play," Inviting me to stay and play together. We did kind of the same thing, backing up each other's solos. I was trading eights with Marcus on the upright. He was playing an electric.

AAJ: That had to be very cool. Especially spur of the moment like that.

TK: Man, it really was. There is such a camaraderie there in a shared instrument. It felt really natural. You know too, that you connect in the fact that guys like Jimmy and Marcus are doing the same thing and living the same life that I do. You don't often think of it so much that way or at the very least not so intently.

AAJ: I talked with Marcus about the cruises a couple of years ago. Among many other things, he mentioned the special and unique moments that happen on the cruise. Relating that so often you run into other musicians at the airport or some other quick hello and good-bye and mostly that's the extent of it. But being captive, so to speak, on a ship for a week creates many opportunities for on stage pairings that otherwise would never happen. People can be seeing and hearing once in a lifetime performances.

TK: That right. That is exactly what Anita Berry envisioned when she started the first jazz cruise. She was from St. Louis, so I had known her for a long time. She was a huge fan of the music. She was very knowledgeable about it and was a highly visible individual. She was well connected in the jazz world and brought in Eddie Higgins to be the musical director at the beginning.

AAJ: So, you must really enjoy the atmosphere of the cruises to have gone out for fifteen consecutive years.

TK: Very much so. Anita created the feel of a musician's picnic. With everyone in good cheer, with good vibes. That feeling rubs off on the people that are there to listen to the music. It's all very friendly and that is reflected in the music.

AAJ: A musician's picnic. I like that. A succinct and appropriate term. It sure has been successful and grown into multiple tours.

TK: That's for sure. The first cruise had eighty musicians and fifteen hundred passengers. Now it's close to one hundred and fifty musicians and in the three thousand to thirty-five hundred range of passengers. Then too, there are three separate jazz cruises now. The original cruise, along with the Smooth Jazz Cruise and the Blue Note Cruise. And they all sell out well in advance.

AAJ: Hopefully next January they will all be able to set sail again. You mentioned earlier about playing in China. What was that experience like? Had you ever been to China before?

TK: I've been there several times over the past few years, touring with Mike. I love going over there. I can't wait to go again. The population is just enormous. Driving through Beijing and Shanghai is amazing. They are just so vast, so many people. It's really a great experience. Audience wise it still feels young regarding the music. It's still kind of a new thing. People are quite sweet really. They come to listen, but they really don't know the etiquette of being a jazz audience. We played mostly large venues and there was no clapping for a solo or applause of any kind. There would be some children running around and that sort of thing.

AAJ: That's interesting about the etiquette. But the lack of applause didn't mean they weren't listening.

TK: That's exactly right and I wanted to be clear about that. The audiences were great, and they really loved it. In many cases they just really didn't know what to expect with the music. The energy is great. You can tell when people are happy and enjoying something. There were so many smiles. People were very respectful of the music and of us. It's a really great feeling to be there. I love the entire Asian part of the tour. Japan and Taiwan are wonderful places to travel to as well.

AAJ: You have of course traveled all over the world. What two or three places do you enjoy the most?

TK: Australia most definitely. Melbourne, specifically, is a big city with a small town feel to it. It's just very easy and relaxed. People have a good humor about them. I must say I love the accent. I dig the people. They are very laid back and friendly. People are very upbeat and always in a good mood. When you are touring you are exhausted much of the time. Walking around in Melbourne just has an easy relaxing feel to it. I started going there in about 2000 with Weckl's band. Drum Tech brought Dave over to play several times and I always was part of that. Drum Tech also brough drummers like Steve Smith and Steve Gadd over to Melbourne as well.

AAJ: Interesting, how about one more and we'll move on?

TK: Scandinavia. My brother and I first started touring Sweden in 1980. I just have very precious memories of being there. It's so clean and nice. The people are very sweet. I have had nothing but really good interactions with people in that part of the world. The Netherlands has a very similar vibe. I think I like places that are a little quieter, a little laid back. Anywhere you go in Sweden or Norway you can go for a walk and its beautiful. It's a great decompression from the hustle and bustle of all the traveling. I feel very fortunate to have been able to do a great deal of international traveling.

AAJ: It's great that you not only have had that experience, but that you clearly enjoy and appreciate it so much. What about venues? From ambiance, to sound, to audience appreciation, acoustics, and everything else, what two or three stages have you best enjoyed your space?

TK: Ronnie Scott's is one that comes to mind immediately. It is such a comfortable room. So very cozy. Again, too, you can add British people to what we were just talking about. The people there are terrific and have a great attitude. Ronnie Scott's sounds great, but what makes it so special is looking out over the audience. It is a place where you can truly breathe in the history there. I've been going there long enough that I remember that Ronnie used to come out before the show and do a little comedy act and tell jokes. That was twenty-five years ago. It's the quintessential night club. Now I also love playing outdoors. I have played a lot of festivals. Outdoor venues are super for a bassist. Horn players don't like them so much because the sound dies so quickly. For bass players you get to hear yourself quickly and its gone. Indoors its bouncing all over the place and can get a bit of a mushier sound.

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