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Checking out the New York Jazz Scene

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Rompi, Apr 17, 2017.


  1. Rompi

    Rompi

    Nov 8, 2013
    Hey all

    To my excitement, I'll be visiting New York for 3 weeks in July to check out the awesome jazz scene over there. I'll be staying in Brooklyn for the first week and studying at NYU through their jazz improvisation summer course in the second two weeks. I have a few questions for more seasoned bassists who either currently live in or have been to New York in the past.

    1. I've been doing my research on renting a double bass during my stay. I know a few people who have rented from the David Gauge store and were very happy with the quality of the instrument. However, it seems like this option is very expensive and as a student on a tight budget, I would like to try to minimise costs. Are there any go to places in New York for affordable double bass rental? I found a place called 'The Bass Garden' that looked more affordable and I found a trading site called 'Rent a Bass' that looked interesting. Has anyone had any experience with either of these places? I will need a pickup and preferably a bow.

    2. While I'm there, I was thinking of trying to organise a couple of lessons. At the moment, I'm really trying to get beneath the surface of the American jazz tradition through listening and transcription. A long term goal I have is to play with that amazing intensity and groove that is found in so many double bassists in the NY scene (eg. Reuben Rogers, Matt Penman, Christian McBride, Larry Grenadier, Linda Oh). Has anyone had a lesson from a kickarse player that was really awe inspiring and helped you to understand what you needed to do to bring your playing to the next level? I'm even open to having lessons with non double bassists if they were particularly enlightening.

    3. Finally, are there any clubs or hidden gems that are worth knowing about? As an outsider, I'd love to know what's worth checking out at night.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    To answer #3 first, check out the last 5 or so pages
    The New York City Jazz Record.

    There are some folks that rent out basses for those coming into the city for a performance, but I don't know anyone that does long term rentals other than Gage. If Geoff (Bass Garden) is renting basses, just be aware that he's a little north of the city, so it's Metro North in addition to subway.

    As far as #2, not really? When I first moved here, I had a similar idea. But a couple of one-off lessons don't really offer enough opportunity to make deep, significant change in your playing. You can grab one or two things that can give you material to practice for years, so it's not like it's not worth it. You just need to make sure you're grabbing a lesson with someone who can communicate that concept in a cogent fashion. My personal recommendation would be one of the following:
    Neal Miner
    Thomson Kneeland
    Alexis Cuadrado
     
    Treyzer likes this.
  3. JmJ

    JmJ

    Jan 1, 2008
    NYC
    55 Bar (55 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014) has good musicians, music starts at 7 PM and is free at that time (headliners in the evening usually charge $5 or $10)
     
  4. Doctor_Clock

    Doctor_Clock The Moon Machine Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    If you are in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens area) check out legendary luthier and Bass player Carl Thompson on Sunday nights at Pane Vino
    Music Events - Panevino Restaurant
    CARL THOMPSON & FRIENDS
    Live Jazz Music
    7pm -10pm
     
  5. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    If you do take a one off lesson from a player you admire, ask SPECIFIC questions about what they do well and what you want from them.
    Otherwise you'll just pay $100+ to have a someone correct your left hand for an hour! We all need this but you can get a better deal on it with a basic pro teacher.
     
  6. massimo

    massimo

    Jul 29, 2006
    Paris (France)
    All previous advices are good...
    Don't hesitate to give Geoff ( Bass Garden) a call to rent a bass.
    About lessons i can recommend Neal Miner.
     
  7. Will Yager

    Will Yager Supporting Member

    May 7, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    It might be outside of your budget, but I think Ron Wasserman rents basses too.

    New York City Double Bass Rentals

    Gene Bertoncini plays with a friend of mine most Thursdays at Ryan's Daughter.
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The other thing - make as many of the jam sessions as you possibly can. It's one thing to study with somebody to try to get to that "intensity and groove", but there's nothing like being in the middle of the ensemble with a drummer and pianist who are bringing some fire to the stand. Sure it's a mixed bag with no certainty of who's actually going to be on the stand when you get there, but they generally run a pretty tight ship, with sign up sheets and no line of 20 tenor players looking to solo for a hundred choruses on a blues in F. Drummer Diego Voglino runs a nice jam session in Brooklyn at Halyards (3rd ave and 6th street) on Tuesdays, the house band this week was Adam Kolker, Ugonna Okegwo, and Bruce Barth. SMOKE has sessions, Kitano ( I think bassist Iris Ornig still leads that one?), Small's (when a guitar player buddy of mine was in town a couple of weeks ago, he got to play with Roy Hargrove at the Smalls session), Fat Cat, Cleopatra's Needle
     
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  9. tinyd

    tinyd

    Mar 11, 2003
    Ireland
    I was in NYC for the first time a couple of weeks ago and while I didn't go to the jam session there, I saw some great music at Smalls so I'd definitely add it to the list of places to visit.
     
  10. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    Congrat for the Nyu summer camp, will you be staying in their dorm? Third north or Founders Hall? If so Village vanguard, Cornelia Street Café is pretty close and a bunch of other. But for was it's worth when I did it in 2014, there was concert every night at the province town playhouse close to Washington square park (close to the the main eating places for the meal budget) for the student of the camp (free). Dave Liebman, Mark Helias, Gerald Clayton I saw so many concert in these three week it's not even funny. And you'll also have to play concert there. Instead of trying to get lesson from people take advantage of the coaches you'll have I remember Andy Gravish, Dave Pietro and especially Andy Milne that I have bug probably 1+ hour after each day after the rehearsal. Also enjoy the recording session on friday, if still running. My cues would be to enjoy the city while you are there more than trying to get music stuff going. You'll be in music 24/24 from monday moring to thursday evening, so get some of that new york vibe, you might start to understand some player more by "living" there for a few week. If you got more question hit me up!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  11. dkziemann

    dkziemann

    Dec 13, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    Endorsed by D'Addario
    I agree with a lot of the above comments. I'd also reach out to Marco Panascia—monster bass player, beautiful human being, and great teacher!
     
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