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Racine, WI -- Basstown USA?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Mike Goodbar, May 26, 2005.

  1. My fair city was graced by the presence of a couple of first-class bass players lately.

    Last Wednesday, I was playing with a quartet at the local bar & grill, when in walks Gerald Cannon, who's played with Roy Hargrove, Elvin Jones, Steve Turre and others. GC is from Racine and was in town to visit family. He sat in on a couple of tunes, giving me the rare opportunity to hear my bass being played by a really masterful player. Gerald tore it up, coaxing a huge sound out of my Christopher hybrid, even during his extensive thumb-position forays. A real thrill to see (and hear) Gerald upclose after more than 10 years.

    Then, tonight, I got home late from work at 7:30 and flipped on the answering machine, and my buddy Steve is saying, "I have an extra ticket for the 8:00 John Clayton concert over at Prairie School, but you probably are already going." This one had gone completely under my radar, but I tore out of the house and drove across town to Racine's hoity-toitiest private school. In the theater, I spotted my buddy and, on the way to my seat, I nearly stepped on the feet of an elderly gentleman -- who turned out to be Billy Taylor! I looked around and recogized the president of Blue Note records, the editor of Jazz Times, and a couple of other faces. Turns out Johnson Wax (based in Racine) had been hosting a Jazz Forum all week, and tonight's concert was the culmination.

    Anyway, Clayton came out with his son, Gerald, on piano, Jay Ashby on trombone and Roger Humphries on drums. The quartet cooked on "Just Squeeze Me," "Speak Low," a couple of nice Brazilian tunes. The highlight was a father/son duet on "Django." John did some brilliant arco work, and Gerald is a m****f*****!! And Humphries completely knocked me out! Truly an unsung hero of jazz.

    Not bad couple of weeks bass-wise for our little armpit.
  2. joe_sorren


    Apr 7, 2005

    Had I known that Racine was to become such a hotbed for shows I would have moved back years ago (I grew up partly in Lake Geneva) :p

    Thanks for sharing these show experiences. It must have been pretty neat to see and hear your instrument be played by such a player, like being flooded with buckets of inspiration.
  3. Actually, Racine has a yearly jazz series at the Zoo called -- what else? -- Animal Crackers. I've seen some pretty heavy hitters there over the years, including Sonny Rollins, Betty Carter and Joe Williams.

    This year the lineup includes Terence Blanchard, Ahmad Jamal and Freddy Cole. I'm not a big fan of outdoor concerts, but sometimes I manage to hear a little bit of music over the crowd conversation. :rolleyes:
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I like Racine. My very first girlfriend was from there. If I'd known it would turn out to be a Jazz Bass Mecca, maybe I'd have stuck around a little longer.

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