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Yaron Stavi: Profoundly Bassist

Sammy Stein By

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Stavi is more often than not found playing jazz and double bass these days. I wondered when he had made the switch. Stavi says, "Around the time I began playing bass, I was first exposed to jazz. I found it interesting, challenging and fascinating. It really felt like a music in which you could express a lot of things in your playing. I got more and more into jazz and realized that if I really want to play jazz, I should play the double bass. At the age of 17, I got my first double bass and started taking lessons. I actually studied classical double bass playing. This brought me back to classical music which was always there somewhere and was the place where I started from. I loved playing classical music on the double bass as well as jazz. With the double bass and the electric bass, I really felt that I found my place in music and that music found its place in me. During that time I listened a lot to jazz and got inspired by people like saxophonist John Coltrane, trumpet player Miles Davis, bass players Charles Mingus, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden and Jaco Pastorius as well as other players."

From the point of view of the bass, Stavi says his main influences are Carter, Haden, Ray Brown, Mingus, Pastorius, McCartney, m: Sting = 20901 and Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Brick Fleagle. "There are many more bass players who I love," he says, "but if I need to mention just a few, these would be the ones."

Though primarily influenced by the sound of the bass, Stavi has a diverse taste in music and this is reflected when he discusses what he listens to now. "I listen to quite a lot of kinds and genres of music," he says. "I guess more than anything, I like to listen to songs. Nothing does it to me more than a great song. I listen to rock and pop songs a lot. I go back and listen often to the artists that inspired me and made me play music in the first place—the Beatles; Springsteen; Stevie Wonder; the Police; vocalist, keyboard player and writer Brian Wilson and Pink Floyd. I love listening to some groovy stuff—Prince, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson and lots of Motown artists. I love Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page is my all-time favorite guitarist. I love writer and musician Peter Gabriel, guitarists and composers Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There are many more, but I can't mention all of them."

Stavi is also interested in World Music. "I am a huge fan of Brazilian music." He comments, "I love Samba, Choro, Bossa Nova, MPB (Música popular Brasileira— a trendy, Brazilian music linking samba and regional Brazilian music). I obviously admire the great musician and writer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the incredible singer and guitarist Joao Gilberto. I love singer Elis Regina, songwriter and guitarist Joao Bosco, songwriter Djavan, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, singer Maria Rita and more. When it comes to jazz I still go back to the giants of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s—sax players Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, Davis, keyboard player and writer Herbie Hancock and Haden and Carter again. Also the band Weather Report and pianist and composer Keith Jarrett. I love Tango music. I used to listen a lot to Astor Piazzolla, the band leader and composer, and love his music. Last but not least, classical music—I listen to Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart. I am a huge Mahler fan. I love Ravel, Debussy, Bartok, Shostakovich. There is so much great music to listen to....I wish there was more time to do it."

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