CBC 209: Joe Conyers on Curtis, being yourself, and musical entrepreneurship

Philadelphia Orchestra assistant principal bassist Joe Conyers is featured on today's podcast

Philadelphia Orchestra assistant principal bassist Joe Conyers is featured on today’s podcast

I’m thrilled to bring you this episode featuring Joe Conyers.  Joe is the assistant principal bass for the Philadelphia Orchestra and is the founder of Project 440, a nonprofit organization that brings music to young people in Philadelphia.  We’re joined on this episode by John Grillo, my longtime podcast collaborator.

John and I talk with Joe about topics such as:

  • growing up in Savannah
  • studying with Hal Robinson at Curtis
  • the audition circuit
  • becoming comfortable with your own playing
  •  the mission of Project 440
  •  conducting Philadelphia’s All-City Orchestra


CBC 208: Guy Tuneh on transcriptions, live performance, and musical curiosity

Soloist and chamber musician Guy Tuneh returns to the podcast

Soloist and chamber musician Guy Tuneh returns to the podcast

Today’s episode features soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist Guy Tuneh.  Guy was on the podcast way back in 2007, and a lot has changed for him in the intervening years.  His previous interview was one of our most popular episodes of all time, and in this talk we go even deeper, digging into why Guy makes music, how he approaches every single note he plays, and what motivates him to search out new repertoire and bring it to the double bass.

Guy has been working on several new recording projects, and we feature two of them today.  We are including an excerpt from Beethoven’s Romance in G Major before the interview, and we close out the episode with a complete track of Guy performing Bach’s Allemande from the Violin Partita in D minor.

You can learn about Guy’s upcoming solo appearances, recordings, and other details at his website guytuneh.com and on his Facebook page.  We also have a video version of this episode on YouTube.  Enjoy!

CBC 207: Claus Freudenstein on heavy metal, minibasses, and arranging

International Society of Bassists board member Claus Freudenstein is pushing boundaries and creating innovative projects in the world of the double bass

International Society of Bassists board member Claus Freudenstein is pushing boundaries and creating innovative projects in the world of the double bass

Today we’re featuring Claus Freudenstein, who is pushing the boundaries of the double bass in some really interesting ways.  Claus is innovative on a number of fronts.  He joined the world of the bass later in life than many people, and he came to it through heavy metal and the electric bass.  This resonates greatly with me because this is the exact same way that I arrived at the bass.

Claus has taken this love of heavy metal and channeled it into the Bassmonsters, a bass ensemble that is expanding the repertoire into metal and bringing a whole new audience into the fold.  We feature three clips from their first album Classic Meets Rock: Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns & Roses, Creeping Death by Metallica, and Thriller by Michael Jackson.  You can find this album on Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes.

Claus is looking for a new record label to publish the latest Bassmonsters release.  He has some tracks to pass along, so listeners, if you have ideas for a new label for Claus, send him an email and let him know.

Claus has also been quite innovative in the world of teaching with his creation and popularization of the mini-bass.  We discuss Claus’ work in education, his approach to repertoire, arranging and composing, and many other topics.  Enjoy!

CBC 206: Auditioning for Music Schools

Trevor Jones and Jason Heath talk music school options at the 2016 Chicago Bass Festival

Trevor Jones and Jason Heath talk music school options at the 2016 Chicago Bass Festival

Trevor Jones and I have done joint clinics in the past, but this is the first one since restarting the podcast, and I figured that it would make sense to put it out this week since we just released our conversation a few days ago.

This talk was held at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall as part of the 2016 Chicago Bass Festival, which is an event put on by the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. Michael Cameron of the University of Illinois and Allan Dennis, former double bass professor at the University of Wisconsin and the MYA executive director, were both in the audience, so you’ll hear us refer to both of them a couple of times during the talk.

I left Curtis off of my list of schools putting out successful auditions, but of course that should be at the top of the list! My mistake.

Some of the questions from the audience are kind of hard to hear, you’ll get the gist of the question as soon as Trevor and I start talking again.

We talk about Don Greene’s excellent books on auditioning—all three are highly recommended:

CBC 205: Trevor Jones on musical pit work, scheduling creativity, and finding balance

Multi-talented double bassist Trevor Jones is today's featured guest.

Multi-talented double bassist Trevor Jones is today’s featured guest.

Today’s episode features double bassist Trevor Jones. It actually amazes me that this is the first time that Trevor has been on the podcast. Trevor kind of does it all: he studied classical bass with Rob Kassinger at DePaul University but got a music education degree as well He has played for years in the rock band Molehill but also maintains a full-time performing schedule as a theater musician, and he has a salaried double bass teaching job at Illinois Wesleyan University as well.

About Trevor:

Based in Chicago, independent artist Trevor Jones works in a variety of musical settings. He performs with regional orchestras throughout the Midwest including the Elgin Symphony and is a substitute with the Grant Park Orchestra. He has also recorded for Realize Records on Chris Bruni’s album Watch Me Burn and Kate Quinby’s album Tribute To Water and has co-written and recorded two albums: Tin God and Equinox with his Chicago-based alternative rock group Molehill.

Trevor is the upright and electric bassist at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL and his credits include Jeff®-Award Winning Musical Hero that was premiered in the Summer of 2012 and reprised in 2014 at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL. For the Glory with music Tony Award® nominee Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel), Battlecry by Paul Bogaev (Aida, Spiderman). and the World Premiere of October Sky.

While growing up in Gettysburg, PA Trevor studied double bass with Duane Botterbusch of the Harrisburg Symphony, and continued with Andrew Kohn of the Pittsburgh Opera at West Virginia University. In 2009 he completed his Master’s degree at DePaul University where he studied with Rob Kassinger of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. While studying at DePaul, Trevor performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Cliff Colnot. Trevor earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at West Virginia University.

Trevor performs with the Chicago-based rock act Molehill. Molehill headlines some of Chicago’s most prominent venues and tours throughout the country. Highlights include appearances at CBS Studio Chicago, Metro (Chicago), Summerfest and SXSW. Their song “The Repeating” charted in the Top 10 of the KKBB Speciality Charts in 2015. Trevor has won an ASCAP+ Award for his songwriting for Molehill.

Trevor is in demand as an educator in the Chicago area and maintains a studio at Midwest Young Artists , the preeminent youth music program in the Midwest. In addition to teaching at MYA, Trevor is also the Instructor of Double Bass at Illinois Wesleyan University at DePaul University where he teaches String Pedagogy.

CBC 204: Tips for Teachers with Peter Tambroni

Double bassist and music education Peter Tambroni is today's featured guest

Double bassist and music education Peter Tambroni is today’s featured guest

Today’s podcast features a conversation with Peter Tambroni, who was an early guest on the podcast back in 2007 on episode 32.  Pete is the author of An Introduction to Bass Playing, which is now in its seventh edition, and is an active bass performer, teacher, and author.  You can learn more about Pete on his website petertambroni.com.

About Peter:

Peter Tambroni received his Master of Music in Double Bass Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign and his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the Crane School of Music. He has taught elementary, middle school, and high school strings and is a former faculty member of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Peter has been an orchestra director in Mannheim School District 83 since 2001.

From 1998 – 2005 he taught and coached at the Crane School of Music’s summer youth program. In 2006 he was the Mannheim Middle School’s PTA Teacher of the year.

Peter is an active double bassist performing throughout the Chicago area. He has performed with professional orchestras in New York and Illinois and in 2000 appeared on national television with the Bozo Super Sunday Show.

As a writer, he has been published several times in the international journal American String Teacher and on EnergyAddict.com, the website of best-selling author, Jon Gordon. His book, An Introduction to Double Bass Playing, is available at www.lulu.com/tambroni.

He also created and maintains the blogs MostlyBass.com and EvolvingEducator.com

Peter can reached via email at tambroni AT gmail DOT com

CBC 203: Adam Ben Ezra on YouTube fame, looping, and percussive techniques

photo credit: Paolo Galetta

photo credit: Paolo Galetta

Today we are featuring Adam Ben Ezra, who has exploded onto the double bass scene in recent years with his unique musical voice. Adam combines elements of Arabic music, Latin drumming, American pop, looping, and many other styles to form his own craft. He has become quite popular on YouTube, and his videos are fun and visually compelling. To me, Adam is an example of what I find so exciting about the bass world right now. He’s taking the instrument in fascinating new directions, he’s pushing the boundaries of technique, and he’s changing the very perception of the instrument.

I’d also like to welcome back our sponsor Discover Double Bass and let you know about their new double bass scales package. 17 different scale types are covered in all 12 keys, over one and two octaves, along with backing tracks.  Geoff Chalmers does an excellent job with these tools, which are clear, concise, and built to benefit your playing regardless of your current level.  Look for this course to launch in the next week, and check out Geoff’s many other offerings at discoverdoublebass.com/store.

We’re featuring excerpts from several of Adam’s songs:

Adam has become well-known for his drum’n’bass technique, which you will hear through all of these excerpts, and he offers a video lesson series on this technique as well as transcriptions of several of his tunes.  We have links to these in the show notes, and learn more about Adam’s music, tour dates, his upcoming master class project, and much more at adambenezra.com.

CBC 202: Chuck Israels on rhythm, amplification and jazz education

Jazz bass legend Chuck Israels is our guest on today's episode

Jazz bass legend Chuck Israels is our guest on today’s episode

Today’s guest is jazz bass legend Chuck Israels.  We start by covering more familiar topics like meeting Charlie Mingus, playing with Bill Evans, Bill’s use of rhythm, the importance of having concrete and specific role models, and then go deep into topics like Balinese wood carving (the time it takes to get good) – not creating your own artistic world without the traditions that preceded you, the perils of the “parallel case”, and commonalities among how great artists approach their craft.

Chuck has just released a new album on Dot Time Records titled Garden of Delights.  We’ll be featuring a few clips from the first three tracks of this album: The Skipping Tune, Garden of Delights, and Mingus.

I’d also like to welcome back our sponsor Discover Double Bass!  Their beginner’s course is arranged into 43 sequential HD video lessons arranged into eight chapters that cover everything from choosing your first instrument to the essentials of technique. You can check out this course as well as many other offerings at discoverdoublebass.com/store.

CBC 201: Ira Gold on bow strokes, musical curiosity, and practicing techniques

National Symphony bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold is back for a "round two" interview!

National Symphony bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold is back for a “round two” interview!

We’re featuring National Symphony bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold on today’s episode.  Ira was one of the very first interview guests for the podcast, and we spread it out over three episodes: 15, 18, and 43.  This “round two” interview was conducted almost a decade after the first conversation, and Ira has been incredibly active with all sorts of new projects.

In this interview, we talk about physical fitness and how it helps with all aspects of life, making the transition to standing full-time, what Ira listens for on an audition committee, wanting to make music with people who share the same musical values, how being a “curious person” opens yourself up to new experiences in playing, practicing techniques, turning practice into puzzle solving, and many other topics.
We also talked about the three summer camps at which he’ll be teaching:
You can learn more about Ira and all his activities on his website.  Enjoy!

CBC 200: Living a Fulfilling Life

Jason in Havana, Cuba just before turning 40

Jason in Havana, Cuba just before turning 40

I’m turning 40 today, the podcast just passed a million downloads, I wrote a chunky blog post that resonated with a lot of people, and I just got back from Cuba.  This is a different kind of episode where I share details on where I’ve been and where I’m headed in many areas of life.

If you haven’t read the above referenced post, check it out and you’ll find links to a lot of what I talk about in this episode.  More “regular” episodes to come later this week.