A while ago Nick Wells, editor and owner of the excellent ibass magazine for iPad asked me to contribute to the tutorial section. This is when I came up with the ‘in session’ idea – bassists can play along to high quality original tunes played by real musicians. Each tune has a different focus – topics like time keeping, groove playing, improvisation, sound, technique, bass line creation, fills, etc. are all on my educational agenda with a view to enhance the vast skill set a bassist needs to do successfully play ‘sessions’ (session work, recordings, shows, playing in a band, etc.) and in the broader sense to improve their musicianship.
I’ve just finished writing the tune for Episode #9 called ‘Flytippers‘ and I thought it is time to introduce you to my most excellent ‘in session cyber band’ members and guests.
From the start it was Fran Merante from Greater New Haven, Connecticut on drums. Fran is a very accomplished drummer with heaps of enthusiasm which makes him a real pleasure to work with. He also has his video and sound recording chops together, two crucial skills in modern day music making. He is also a Berklee alumni which always helps the mutual understanding of music making, I feel.
Some cross pollination from the Funkestra led to Sid Gauld contributing his formidable skills to my tracks in form of great solos and tracked up trumpet riffs. Sid has an incredible work ethic and his heart is in jazz Improvisation, arranging and composing which makes us kindred spirits. Check out his website and latest activities with Incognito (coming up to 10 years for him!).
A recent and brilliant addition is pianist André Spang. I met Andre way back in the mid 90s at Berklee, both of us joining the Yellow Jackets ensemble and striking up a friendship ever since. Him being in Cologne, Germany and me being in London made it difficult to play on a regular basis, however, with the digital revolution that has taken place since, we can now enjoy joint music making yet again. His latest solo on ‘Xander versus Lohner’ is just brilliant (and his Grand Piano sounds amazing too;).
On guitar we so far had guitarist Eran Kendler from the Funkestra and my long standing friend Ken Husbands, who lives in San Francisco. Ken an I met in Paris in the early 90s when I picked up his number from a notice board in a music shop ‘jazz guitarist looking for other like minded musicians’. As it happens Ken is from Boston and for a while we were playing in a band called ‘FunkDis’ together, mostly in Boston but also Maine, Long Island and PA.
I also play quiet a bit of guitar myself – being a big Gibson lover I frequently play my Les Paul and 335 copy (with wonky tuning). Fender has my ticket for basses and although I do have a US Fender Strat – the Gibson LP and 335 always win for me;)
The latest addition to my cyber band is amazing percussionist Karl Van Den Bossche. He just laid down some brilliant tracks on the new Funkestra album ‘The Time Thief’ and having enjoyed his musical magic touch he is a logical addition.
Karl’s CV is nothing short of ridiculous and he played with many of my favorite acts and records – Incognito, Sade, Maxwell and Jamiroquai. His groove is just impeccable!
Just thinking of my next composition for installment #10 and hoping I will get Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Pointner to play guitar on it. Wolfgang is an incredible guitarist with great facility and serious jazz chops having studied with Karl Ratzer, a guitarist’s guitarist. Again, making full use of digital technology will help to musically reconnect with my teenage musician buddy – we started out on our respective instruments together and I still recall the joy of discovering the sound that triads made once we stuck sevenths on top. I’ll never forget our excitement playing Am7 – D7 – Gmaj7 – Em7! We thought we made it as jazz musicians – haha!
If you want to hear my tunes performed by the ‘in session cyber band’ either buy the iBass mag or download the tracks and minus bass versions synced to scrolling bass charts on the in-App Store of the KR Player for iPad. Download here on the Apple App Store.