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Jazz Bass Teachers

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Justin K-ski, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Since threads pop up every other day about technical/classical teachers I though it would be important to have a thread about jazz instruction and where to get it and who from.

    So anyone who has taken jazz lessons please list them here, along with info on teaching positions or private lessons as well as locations. Also leave some comments on what you took away from the lesson and how productive you thought it was.

    And lastly let's not limit ourselves to bass players. Some of the best teachers to learn from are chord players and drummers and ever horns.

    My jazz education has been mainley with a guitarist, Joe Federico, who was a student of Dennis Sandole. Dennis was a great improvisation teacher who taught Parker, Coltrane and Cannonball, to name a few. He isn't one of those guys whos gonna yell at you until you practice four hours a day, but if you practice his material and really learn it well you see incredible results. He teaches in philly, south NJ, and princeton NJ.

    I also studied breifly with Cameron Brown. He was good but unfortunaly there where no lessons, but a daily masterclass. I didn't really take that much away from working with him, mainley because he said what's been said 100 times. Practice slow with and with out a metronome and play a clear harmonically asolid bass line.

    Anyone else care to chime in?
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Strikes me as a waste of electrons.

    If somebody's looking for advice about a particular teacher, a particular place or a particular problem, they can ask away (and frequently do). Same if somebody has some relevant comments about their lesson. Otherwise, making a list of who is paying which important people is probably just an ego-stroke.

    And I'd be very hesitant to slam somebody's teaching here. You never know when those words will come back to you ten-fold.
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Yeah this is the sort of thing that jacks me and perhaps others like me. I am an American and raised in a particular class of modern American culture, where slamming and getting slammed is common humdrum SOP.

    The caveat to constantly kissing other people's asses regardless of the glaring truths of life (which of course include both favorable and unfavorable - and ever evolving - opinions of ourselves and others for our character and actions) is told and retold to all of us in The Emperor's New Clothes.

    The real problem I think you point to, Sam, is something that the music industry and all its facets occasionally encourages because there is money to make and food to put on the table. We get to hear often about some famous musician who is known on the "inside" for being easy to get along with and enjoys being a team player...but who, when we hear him/her, is clearly not the best musician in the world for it.

    I know I've burned bridges myself for reasons that had nothing to do with whether or not I had the chops or a potential worth cultivating...it had to do with my attitude and personality.

    That's life...and for anyone to argue that life encompasses only things we rationalize for some advantage or personal game, they won't get my buy in. Life is a huge rainbow with so many colors that we can't see...and part of who we are belongs, in my own opinion, to things we may never understand and master...we are their puppets...we are guided by muses...call it what you will.

    I've read enough of your posts on this forum to know you mean well by warning people not to burn bridges but I just couldn't help being possessed and letting my fingers move across my keyboard here again and see where the ride took me LOL please forgive any offense I just wanted to throw in my two cents for open honesty of thoughts and feelings and trusting that it serves us all best in the end
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    But in a general sort of way; studying improvisational concept with an instrumentalist who is NOT a bassist, sure, why not? Basically, what you are studying is NOT your instrument.

    Having the best of both worlds is great- somebody who has a great physical approach to the instrument AND a great improvisational concept AND the pedagogical wherewithal to teach them both. But there ain't that many of those out there.

    If you can't (either through lack of funds or lack of available teachers) study both concurrently, which should you try to hit first?
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Your loss, John. I move in circles -- both musical and professional -- where you see the same people again and again.

    I didn't say that. For example, I had an hellacious experience with one of my teachers at NEC 25 years ago. The guy is a well-known player and we hit it off like oil and vinegar. I don't kiss his ass -- you should read my reviews of his records -- but instead of slamming his teaching, you will NEVER find me mentioning his name. There is no way to tell that I ever was in this guy's studio, because I have NOTHING good to say about the experience except that it was short. I say nothing because he was, and is, the right teacher for somebody else. Probably somebody who wants to learn about auto-body repair, or whatever.

    . . . and that's one reason I'm not riding on your bus, John. "Glaring truths of life" are not "ever-evolving" for me. "Opinions of ourselves and others" are and consequently I do not treat them as GTOL. Besides, MY experience with Mr. x may be totally different from YOURS and we're both right. Besides that, what I bring from that experience ten years from now may be different from what I brought from it twenty years ago.

    Johnny, I'm a part-time jazz bassist, full-time careerist and double-time father and husband in Portland, the Jazz Capital of Southern Maine. Whatever pressure you may feel from "the music industry" rest assured that it does not affect me. (You had me chuckling, man.)

    That's right. Sooner or later we all come to grips with Glaring Truth Of Life Number 17b: Talent alone will not raise you to The Highest Ranks of the Profession in any profession.

    . . . and we are in this life to learn.

    John, thank you for your very gracious expression. It means a lot to me. That said and meant, The Glaring Truth of my Life is that I have made so many mistakes as a husband, father, professional and musician. All I can do is tell my tale and hope somebody learns. My goals include respecting everyone for what they have to offer, and not saying anything I would not want to hear later. Another goal is to play like my musical heroes. I fall way short of each, but that's life . . .

    Go practice.
  6. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Guy I think we missed the point of this thread.

    The idea was to have a thread as a kind of database for people who are looking to have an education in jazz bass and want to find a teacher to study with/a college to go to, much like the thread for audition winners on the orchestral side. I'm not sroking any egos or "slamming" anyones teaching nor should anyone else be.

    I will say another word about Mr. Brown though. I feel that the way the program was structured didn't give each player the time they really would have needed to gain a lot from the lessons. There is only so much you can say to 12 bass players of all ages and skill levels in only an hour a day. In rereading my post I can see how it would be misconstrued negativly, but that is not that case, I should have been more clear. Cameron was an absolute monster bassist and I feel like between the 5 hours I had with him and 11 other bassists, I barley scratched the surface of what he knew.

    So let's try to remain civil. One of the reasons for starting this thread is that I am looking for colleges and would like to hear who's students are doing well, how the big name bassists are as teachers and what lesser known guys will blow your mind, 1 hour at a time.
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And Sam'l's point is that two different people are likely to have two different experiences with the same teacher and that as soon as you get somebody posting about somebody "blowing their mind" yer going to get a post about that same somebody making somebody want to blow their brains out.

    What kind of car is good?
    Ford's are good.
    No, Ford's suck and the one I had fell apart.
    Then you weren't doing it right, cause the one I still have is 2,000 years old and in addition to never needing repair it produces gold bars.

    And so on. There was precisley this sort of back and forth about Gene Levinson a few months back; and if you are basing your decision to study with someone on input from a bulletin board, well, best of luck.

    As far as making a determination based on "who's students are doing well", you may be better served by approaching the sword from the handle , rather than the pointy end. See who's out there "doing well" and find out who they studied with and where and when.
  8. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    My idea with this thread came for the "Where to study jazz" in the newest downbeat. In those listings only big name faculty members are listed. Most of those guys are paino or horn players, with of course some exceptions like Buster Williams and Charlie Haden. For example, if I wanted to know if/where Dave Holland teaches (and (i think) I know he isnt presently), this would be my place to ask, instead of scouring the internet for details.

    When I first was accepted to pre-college I became aware of the gossip that surrounds Levinson. Everyone I talked who had studied with him either loved or hated, and everyone who hadnt had hear good or bad. But throughout the conversations I had I began (began) to understand his technique and philosophy on bass. Picking a teacher bases on an online message board would be foolish at best, but what I want to have available, to myself and others, is a mini-forum that will at least let us know who doing what and where. Then from that point, as well as other resources, it would be possible to set up a few lessons (as time and money permits) and try to find a teacher that you really click with.

    I'm not suggesting we etch a bible in granite slabs, just sketch out a roadmap on a peice of looseleaf.