CBC 225: Nicholas Walker on musical influences, performing, and Domaine Forget

Ithaca College professor and International Society of Bassists president Nicholas Walker

Ithaca College professor and International Society of Bassists president Nicholas Walker

Today’s episode features Ithaca College professor and International Society of Bassists 2017 Convention Chair and Artistic Director Nicholas Walker. In addition to teaching at Ithaca College, Nicholas performs over 170 concerts a year in a wide variety of musical genres, he is a prolific composer, and he has taught for many years along with Paul Ellison and François Rabbath at Domaine Forget in Quebec.  Nicholas will be hosting the 2017 ISB Convention at Ithaca College next June 5-10.

We talk about his early musical influences, his experiences working with Paul Ellison and François Rabbath, balancing performing with other activities, and the Ithaca double bass experience.  We also go into great detail about a day in the life of a student at Domain Forget, which is a topic that we talked about with David Allen Moore back on episode 162 of the podcast.

We also feature several musical excerpts from Nicholas, starting with excerpt of a tune with singer songwriter Tenzin Chopak called “Just Don’t Go.”  We’ll also play a few excerpts of some of Nicholas’ solo bass compositions, and you can find complete recordings on his YouTube channel.  Enjoy!

Musical Excerpts:

Interview Highlights

Background and Early Years

  • started on piano, picked up bass in 4th grade, playing jazz early on and music with friends in addition to the public school
  • started taking lessons with Duane Rosengard, who was a student at Eastman at the time
  • played in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
  • studying with Mark Foley
  • with many of the people surrounding Nicholas, there wasn’t a big distinction between jazz and classical playing – it was all part of musical life for him

Working with Paul Ellison

  • moving to Houston and meeting Paul Ellison
  • Paul’s teaching style
  • the Domaine Forget double bass experience
  • Buddhist philosophy – any student who shows up has earned the right to learn
  • Paul’s comfort moving from student to teacher role

Working with François Rabbath

  • the right time to hear something from a teacher
  • how, exactly, can he help each particular person
  • his first experience meeting François

A Day in the Life at Domaine Forget

  • put the bass players in a barn and let them work
  • get up early
  • 8:30 am – all meet together – 25 students plus the two teachers
  • bodywork and 90 minute workout together
    • Stretching
    • Yoga
    • Feldenkrais Method
    • Alexander Technique
    • Pilates
  • bass workout together – all done by ear and by rote – no music stands – working together in a big circle
    • shifting exercises
    • bowing exercises
    • specific left hand techniques
    • hand frames
    • drop thumb
    • expansion
    • pivoting
    • hammer on / pull off
    • fingering patterns
    • etudes
  • at the end of the two weeks, they have a 90 minute routine that they do together without stopping – one exercise after another
  • all this material comes from meeting with all the students the first night and asking them their goals for the camp
  • 10 am – break followed by two hours of lessons
  • lunch
  • 1:30 pm – back in the barn for another 90 minute class with the senior faculty member
    • Paul does a lot of stroke work and body awareness
    • opportunity to introduce concepts like balance, arm weight, anything that came up in prior master classes
    • everything from the simplest open string playing to more complex bow bouncing, forward/reverse curve
  • 3:00 pm – master class
  • evening – concerts with notable visiting artists, bass recital, public master classes

The Double Bass Program at Ithaca

  • largely modeled on the way Domaine Forget operates
  • one of the nation’s oldest conservatories – Sevcik and Rachmaninoff were both on faculty
  • group classes for technique, orchestra rep, studio class in addition to lessons
  • alternative lesson approaches in addition to traditional one-on-one lessons

Performing, Teaching, and Composing

  • finding balance (or not finding balance)
  • being at peace with the choices you make
  • 170-180 concerts a year
  • the concerts and individual practice are where the “important stuff” happens

CBC 224: Peter Tambroni on Student-Centered Teaching and Life Planning

Double bassist and music educator is today's podcast guest

Double bassist and music educator is today’s podcast guest

Today’s podcast features an in-depth conversation with Peter Tambroni.  This is a “round two” conversation that builds upon the topics that we covered in our previous talk on episode 204.  Today we dig into fallacies surrounding public school teaching, instrument setup, life planning, instrument insurance, practicing ideas, teaching philosophies, and much more.  This episode is a gold mine for anyone interested in taking their teaching game to the next level!

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.

Interview Highlights
Fallacies Surrounding Public School Teaching
    • you don’t want to get too well-educated or you won’t be hired
      • Pete has never found that to be true in the various districts in which he has worked
      • everyone wants the best person for the position
      • most districts will do what they can to give you credit for your past experience
    • the right person for the job is the right person or the department philosophy-wise and personality-wise
      • people tend to focus too much on the nitty-gritty skills – it’s more about fit than anything
      • you should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you
  • replacing people that are:
    • good and well-liked
    • good and not well-liked
    • not good and well-liked
    • not good and not well-liked
  • Skills are easy to teach – personality and philosophy are not
  • people tend to not ask enough questions in job interviews
  • Pete always want to be somewhere where the administration supported fine arts performers practicing their craft – this was a question he posed in his interviews
  • look at the distribution of music teacher positions – are people full-time orchestra, part orchestra and part general music, etc?
  • what degree does fundraising play in the school?  this can turn into a nightmare
  • learning the other instruments as a music teacher
    • Pete took two extra semesters of violin and viola
    • music ed programs are not all requiring bass for music ed majors
Instrument Setup
  • the condition that many school basses are in – so easy to totally neglect them
    • a bass with action that is too high is a catastrophically worse situation for a young player than a violin with action too high
  • setup considerations for school instruments
    • fingerboard
    • bridge shaping
    • the need for a proper luthier
  • the extreme difficulty created for younger bass students by basses that are poorly set up
  • the advances that D’Addario has made in strings recently for students
Life Planning
  • investing vs. saving
  • index funds
  • Apps and programs
    • Betterment
    • Wealthfront
    • Robin Hood
  • IRAs
  • Roth IRAs
  • 403b investment programs for educators
Instrument Insurance
  • get a separate policy apart from your homeowners or renters insurance – these may not cover your instrument at a paying gig
  • Clairon
  • Merz-Huber
Practicing Ideas
  • teaching replacement fingerings
  • the challenge for bass players of heterogeneous string teaching (starting in D major, for example)
  • nothing beats Simandl for mapping out the fingerboard
  • Thomas Gale’s book Practical Studies for Double Bass is great for younger students
    • starts in 1st and 4th positions – allows for physical anchor point of thumb against the neck block
    • helps eliminate the “old-school bass vertigo”
  • teaching shifting
    • finding the goal note should not be a fishing expedition!
    • Mathias Wexler article about shifting in American String Teacher journal: “Throwing The Dart and Other Reflections on Intonation” from the November 2004 issue of American String Teacher.
    • this is a link to the shifting exercise Pete describes
    • shifting practice
      • play
      • stop
      • evaluate
      • play correct note if not in tune
      • repeat above procedure until shift lands right on
General Teaching Philosophies
  • try to teach for 10 years down the road
  • try to teach for the student’s next teacher
  • set people up so that things don’t need to be fixed in the future
  • having students nail a simpler piece versus struggle through a more difficult piece
  • empathizing with your students
  • don’t ask questions to “put students in their place”
  • it’s never strings versus band versus choir – though there are doubles, there are “string kids,” “choir kids,” and “band kids” – offering all programs brings music to a larger portion of the student body
  • we remember the emotion of experiences – emotion drives attention drives learning
How Gigging Helps You to be a Better Teacher
  • helps with empathy
  • opportunity to observe other players
  • opportunity to observe conductors
  • being respectful of the student’s time
Listener Feedback Links:

CBC 223: Katie Ernst on Singing, Jazz Bass, and Creativity

Jazz bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst is today's podcast guest

Jazz bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst is today’s podcast guest

Today’s episode features jazz bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst.  Katie was recently featured in the Chicago Reader, and Jason Moran describes her as “a great bassist, composer, and lyricist, she has an uncanny ability to mix traditions… following her voice is like reading a great novel.”  She is one of Chicago’s most active young bassists, with two recent album releases: her solo project Little Words and her trio album Twin Talk.

We talk about Katie’s years growing up in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, her “yearly check-ins” at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center with Jeff Campbell, studying at Eastman with Jeff Campbell and James VanDemark, and her educational work at the Jazz Institute of Chicago.  We also cover the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, her job directing the big band at the Wheaton Conservatory, differences between the New York City and Chicago jazz scenes, and much more!

Katie’s recent projects:

Listener Feedback Links:

Interview Highlights

Early Years

  • grew up in Naperville, product of Naperville public school system
  • piano starting in 1st grade – sang in church and in choir
  • took bass lessons with Jeremy Attanaseo in preparation for Eastman audition
  • Studied with Jeff Campbell and James VanDemark – worked on Romberg, Simandl, vibrato, other fundamentals with VanDemark
  • lots of summer camps in high school, fiddle camp, other camps – eventually found Birch Creek Music Center right before 9th grade – used Birch Creek as her “yearly check-in”
  • Jeff Campbell – focused on deep fundamentals  – applied lessons she learned during the summer throughout the following year
  • becoming a jazz vocalist while in high school – singing with the jazz band, etc.
  • the experience of playing the foundation and singing the melody simultaneously – interesting way to experience tunes
  • Katie encourages her bass students to sing as well – incredibly helpful for young improvisors
  • Katie got a bachelor of musical arts degrees at Eastman as well—kind of like a “doctorate lite’ – she studied linguistic analysis tools in jazz scat singing
  • Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program in Washington, D.C. – where she met Jason Moran

What drew Katie back to Chicago

  • didn’t want to go directly to a masters program
  • Eastman had a postgraduate internship program where they pay a stipend for you to work for a nonprofit
  • Katie called the Jazz Institute of Chicago and proposed that she be an intern
  • moved into Chicago itself – became connected with the community of creative music in Chicago
  • differences between New York City and Chicago jazz scenes

Current Projects

  • Twin Talk
    • interactive group – focus on exploring ideas together – elements of freedom and original compositions – groovy, melodic, experimental
  • Little Words
    • project under Katie’s name – Dorothy Parker poems set to music
    • powerful poems that have a singable quality to them – cultivated
  • Lessons learned serving as Big Band Director at Wheaton Conservatory
    • listening to the whole band
    • thinking programmatically when selecting music
    • how to articulate to a group of musicians how to “get” a certain style
  • Jazz Institute of Chicago – education program director
    • takes students to see performances
    • monthly meetings
    • opportunities to be an opening act for Jazz Institute concerts

Finding time for creativity

CBC 222: Lucy and the Count: Love Dreams from Transylvania

Midsummer's Music Festival members Jason Heath, Walter Preucil, and Elizandro Garcia-Montoya

Midsummer’s Music Festival members Jason Heath, Walter Preucil, and Elizandro Garcia-Montoya

Today’s episode is a live performance of Jon Deak’s quirky quintet Lucy and the Count: Love Dreams from Transylvania.  Written in 1981, this is a theater piece divided into three scenes featuring the solo bass in a dramatic, virtuoso role.  In the first scene, you can hear the creaking of the ship morph into a dramatic first theme.  The second scene is a dinner party and features each instrument “talking” during a dinner party.  The words that the instrumentalists are intended to imitate are written in the parts along with the contours of the speech, making for some crazy sonic effects.  The third scene portrays a ruined chapel with a coffin containing the Count.  The Count turns into a bat and visits Lucy in a particularly twisted finale.

This performance was recorded live at the Midsummer’s Music Festival for their Big Top Door County 25th Anniversary concert.  I’ve had the pleasure of playing with this fine ensemble for the past decade, and it was a real treat to get to perform this soloistic work with them!

Lucy and the Count: Love Dreams from Transylvania

Live Performance: July 12, 2015
David Perry and Stephanie Preucil, violins
Allyson Fleck, viola
Walter Preucil, cello
Jason Heath, bass
Alan Kopischke, narrator

Purchase parts through J.W. Pepper
Recording by Steve Lewis

CBC 221: Brandon McLean on audition strategies

Pittsburgh Symphony associate principal bassist Brandon McLean

Pittsburgh Symphony associate principal bassist Brandon McLean

Today’s show features Brandon McLean, who just won the associate principal bass position for the Pittsburgh Symphony.  Brandon has most recently served as principal bass of the Colorado Symphony, and prior to that he held positions in the Vancouver Symphony and the Florida Orchestra.  Originally from Seattle, Brandon did his undergrad at the University of North Texas, his masters at the Boston Conservatory, and studied at Carnegie Mellon after that with Pittsburgh Symphony principal bassist Jeff Turner.  He played in the New World Symphony before landing his first gig with the Florida Orchestra.

We dig into the details of the audition process, like how Brandon starts preparing long-term for the audition and how that preparation changes as the audition approaches, Brandon’s technique routine, which he keeps up throughout the audition process, the benefits of getting to practice in a large space like a concert hall, and routines in the days prior to the audition.  We also feature excerpts of Brandon performing the Dave Anderson Duets with Brendan Kane.

Books mentioned:

Interview Highlights

Audition Preparation Strategies

  • the process starts right after finding out what the list is
  • looks at what are the more problematic excerpts for him and begins by spending time on those
  • about 5 weeks out, he starts to get more disciplined
  • for a long time did the system of ranking what the more difficult excerpts are and spending the most time on those, but he found that then the audition would come up and they’d ask for the excerpts that he didn’t spend as much time on
  • breaks up practice session into 10 minute increments; practices for an hour or an hour-and-a-half in a couple of different segments in the day
  • keeps himself disciplined to no more than 10 minutes on a specific excerpt
  • breaks up the last as many ways as possible:
    • top to bottom
    • bottom to top
    • skip and do every 3rd excerpt
  • 2-3 weeks out, he shortens that 10 minutes per excerpt to 3-4 minutes per except so that he’s hitting everything briefly just about every day
  • Brandon generally runs things at 75% tempo most of the time
  • he can generally play this under tempo—it’s getting them up to tempo that’s the real issue
  • there’s some point between that 75% and 100% tempo that he can usually solve most of the technical problems
  • problems associated with fast excerpts were dealt with away from those excerpts – dealing with technical studies that helped
  • during audition prep, Brandon still spends at least 30-45 minutes still doing scales and technical exercises
  • he cuts that down when getting really close to the audition

Brandon’s Technique Routine

  • pick a scale
  • slow bow practice (whole notes) using Intonia software
  • then does a different scale with half notes, quarter notes, etc – gets himself playing pretty quickly
  • do something similar with arpeggios after that
  • right hand practice
    • string crossings
    • spiccato
    • exercises to get his right hand moving a little quicker

Playing in a Large Space and Recording

  • the benefits of getting to practice in a large space (concert hall) – he didn’t get this until later in life
  • getting over the idea that he doesn’t really know what he sounds like objectively (similar to getting over the way your voice sounds when you play back a recording)
  • the angle that you play the bass – no one else will ever hear your bass playing from that angle—it’s such a specific thing
  • things started to turn on the audition front for Brandon when he started to get really serious about recording himself
  • Brandon had a pretty steady path of progress in auditioning – not advancing, then getting to semis, then making finals, then runner-up for a bunch of auditions
  • Brandon realized at a certain point that he just wasn’t a very natural audition taker
    • had to start treat audition taking as his job
    • dealing with the mental discipline of audition taking was something that took him a while to get a grasp of
  • Don Greene books helpful in terms of centering, etc.
  • Brandon has gotten away from thinking that he just needed to have a really good day to win an audition
  • after teaching students and observing them nervous and not nervous, he has concluded that there isn’t nearly as much difference in the two states as the students think
  • When he wasn’t doing well in auditions, he had actually lost those auditions months in advance

Routines as the Audition Approaches

  • usually flies in the day before – flying in too early usually psyched him out
  • it’s amazing what tiny things can seep into your mind during an audition
  • when he goes, he generally doesn’t talk to people at the audition
  • running is helpful
  • doesn’t try to change anything lifestyle-wise coming up to the audition – changes only cause problems

Links from Listener Feedback:

CBC 220: Gabe Katz on switching from music performance to education

Double bassist and orchestra director Gabe Katz

Double bassist and orchestra director Gabe Katz

It is my pleasure to present this interview with Gabe Katz.  Gabe and I have had so many commonalities in our career trajectory, and we have both ended up finding a really satisfying musical niche in the world of secondary school orchestral conducting.  Now, by the time you’re listening to this, I will have moved on from this career, but of the past seven years this is what I did, and this is what Gabe has also started doing these last couple of years.

Prior to his current job teaching orchestra at the high school level in suburban Houston, Gabe held two overseas jobs: one in Durbin, South Africa, and one in Guangzhou Orchestra in China.  He also worked in Singapore and in Macao.  He ended up meeting up with Hal Robinson while in China and ultimately moving back to the US to study in Hal’s private studio and take auditions.

We cover the thought process that took him from the performance world into the education world, going back to school at Duquesne in Pittsburgh and his experience taking music education courses at an older age, and the unexpected joys and satisfactions of teaching in the public schools.

Interview Highlights

  • started college at Oberlin with Scott Haigh
  • transferred in undergrad to SUNY Purchase and studied with Tim Cobb
  • MM Carnegie Mellon with Jeff Turner
  • Summer Festivals:
    • principal bass of NRO
    • Music Academy of the West
    • others
  • Manhattan School of Music for Performers Diploma – worked with Tim Cobb again
  • driving all over the place doing freelance gigs, making it to semi-finals for some auditions, but started scouring the Internet for overseas opportunities
  • got an orchestra job in Durbin, South Africa
  • got a job as principal bass of the Guangzhou Orchestra in China
  • also worked in Singapore and Macao
  • meeting up with Hal Robinson while in China and ultimately coming back to the United States to study privately with him
  • was thinking about going back to school – deciding between doctorate or getting certified to teach – postbox programs
  • ended up doing a post baccalaureate program at Duquesne with Steve Benham, who is President-Elect of the American String Teachers Association
  • Gabe’s goal was to get a high school orchestra teaching job
  • Gabe ended up getting a high school orchestra director job in suburban Houston – a plum gig for sure!
  • the high level of high school students in this area – comparable to an undergrad population at many music schools
  • getting into conducting – the high level of satisfaction that results from studying scores, planning rehearsals, picking repertoire
  • Gabe knows that he’s changing lives every day in this new gig – there’s a positivity and excitement to it which he’s feeling that you’ll pick up on as you listen
  • his 20-year-old self would have thought that he was a “sellout”
  • Orin O’Brein: “You’re never done learning.” – music is a journey, a lifelong learning path
  • conducting is a culmination of everything you’ve ever learned (Gabe says this and I totally feel that as well!)
  • how Duquesne keeps its music education program elite
  • The University of Michigan string teaching legacy – Steve Culver, Bob Gillespie, Bob Phillips, Steve Benham
  • most Bachelors of Music programs train you to:
    • A: Work at Starbucks
    • B: Win an orchestra job
  • Hal: “You’re offering yourself as a product.”

CBC 219: Gjorgji Cincievski on arranging, multi-meter, and life in paradise

Malta Philharmonic principal bassist Gjorgji Cincievski

Malta Philharmonic principal bassist Gjorgji Cincievski

Today we’re chatting with Gjorgji Cincievski, who is the principal bass of the Malta Philharmonic and has been putting out some very cool arrangements for Hoffmeister, including an arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for violin, viola, and double bass.  You’ll be hearing excerpts from this piece on Gjorgji’s new recording throughout the episode, and we have a link in the show notes where you can get a copy of the recording and of the sheet music, as well as several other arrangements by Gjorgji.

Gjorgji will also be hosting the Malta Double Bass Summer Camp from August 22 – 28.  Check out more details about this camp here.

Interview Highlights

  • growing up in Macedonia
  • the polyrhythms that are a part of folksongs in this country
  • life in Malta
  • publications for Hoffmeister
  • trio arrangement of the Goldberg Variations, for violin, viola, and double bass
  • many other arrangement projects on the horizon for Hoffmeister

CBC 218: Arnold Schnitzer on dirty jobs, ergonomic basses, and maker competitions

Double bass luthier Arnold Schnitzer

Double bass luthier Arnold Schnitzer

Today we feature double bass luthier Arnold Schnitzer.  Arnold has had an interesting career path, from gigging around the East Coast as a youth to entering the corporate world and finally finding his way to the word of instrument repair.  We talk about a wide range of topics, including information versus knowledge, wisdom, and street smarts, and the perils and pitfalls of the information age.

We also dig into Mike Rowe‘s Dirty Jobs (there’s a great interview with him on the Tim Ferriss podcast) – this all starts about 20 minutes into the actual interview – and training people for the jobs that actually exist, and the “in-between” jobs.  This is quite a conversation—be sure to check this out.  There’s a lot of food for thought here.

We also get deep into instrument construction, setup, maker competitions, wolf tones, and the Oberlin Bass Workshop, which Arnold serves on the faculty for and which sounds like a very cool event.  I know that you’re really going to enjoy this conversation with the always interesting Arnold Schnitzer!

Interview Highlights

Early Years

  • born in Miami Beach (South Beach), FL
  • moved up to Far Rockaway, NJ when he was young – dad was in construction
  • dad got them a boat but Arnold and siblings had to figure out money for gas and fix it up
  • his story of getting this Bohemian bass in his late 30s while working corporate recruiting gig and making good money but hating the job and basically just figuring out on his own (consulting people along the way) how to take this old beater bass apart and totally reconstruct it

Information versus Knowledge

  • we talk about information vs. knowledge/wisdom/street smarts – this is an illuminating discussion
  • Arnold is a jazz musician from way back, and he sees instrument repair as a constant improvisation
  • we talk about Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs (there’s a great interview with him on the Tim Ferriss podcast) – this all starts about 20 minutes into the actual interview
    • alternate paths to going to college for x, y, z – people getting trained for the jobs that actually exist
    • traditional jobs are disappearing
    • the in-between jobs are the ones that aren’t going away – electrician, plumber, instrument repair, air conditioning service – and these can pay really well!
    • training people for jobs that have gone out of vogue
  • being a luthier does involve working with your hands, but it really involves working with your brain – problem solving with your command center

The Future of Employment 

  • looking at predictions of jobs in the future and the rise of the worker less economy, think twice about going to college and racking up $100,000 in student loans
  • musicians are the most conservative people on the planet… especially rock & rollers

Double Bass Setup and Construction

  • ergonomic contrabass – thought it up while on painkillers
  • wolf tones on the bass
    • all basses will have some wolfiness
  • clarity mainly comes from setup rather than construction
    • what brands of strings can help with clarity
    • other adjustments that can be made to help with clarity
  • thoughts on maker competitions – judges are looking at basses through the eyes of the violin world
  • motto of Oberlin Bass Society: “everyone teaches, everyone learns”

CBC 217: Jerry Fuller on early music, creativity, and business world lessons

Double bassist and early music specialist Jerry Fuller

Double bassist and early music specialist Jerry Fuller

Today’s episode features double bassist Jerry Fuller.  I’ve known Jerry for well over a decade at this point and have found him to be such an interesting person.  Jerry is best known in the music world for his work in period performance—in fact, he won an award for historically informed performance from the International Society of Bassists in 2015, and he is also a former ISB board member.

We cover Jerry’s early years in music, attending Northwestern in bass studio of rock stars including Hal Robinson, Curtis Burriss, and Rufus Reid, and his time spent performing in the bass section of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and in Switzerland.  While he was in Lyric, Jerry attended business school at the University of Chicago and has worked for most of his professional life in the world of business while simultaneously keeping up an active musical life, and we talk about his what prompted this decision to attend business school and what his experiences in that world have been like.

We get into details about how period performance differs from modern technique, how players can explore the world of period playing, and the role of the bass player in the continuo.  We also have a great discussion on creativity in music and answer listener questions from Gaelen McCormick and Dan Carson.

Jerry has gotten into traditional jazz recently, and we’ll open up the episode with an excerpt featuring Jerry performing C’est si Bon, and we’ll close with a duet by Bernhard Romberg with Richard Hirschl on cello.

Links to check out:

Interview Highlights

Early Years and Career

  • grew up in Wisconsin – inspiring encounter with Roger Ruggeri of the Milwaukee Symphony
  • accepted into Northwestern University bass studio with Warren Benfield
  • joined Lyric junior year of college, promoted to assistant principal
  • enrolled in business school at University of Chicago while still playing in Lyric
  • went to work for American Hospital Supply Corporation and found an amazingly creative group of people there
  • joined orchestra in Switzerland

Early Music

  • physical and mental differences in early and modern playing
  • what instrument really “drives the bus” in continuo playing
  • outlets for learning more about early music performance
  • switching between early and modern setups

Careers and Creative Outlets

  • personality and temperament play a huge role into us figuring out what we should do in the world career-wise
  • temperament over skill level
  • creativity in music and life

CBC 216: Todd Coolman on jazz bass lines, recording projects, and classical foundations

Jazz double bassist Todd Coolman

Jazz double bassist Todd Coolman

Today’s podcast features an interview with Todd Coolman, who has just released his latest album Collectibles.  Todd is actually playing a CD release event tonight at Smoke Jazz Club in New York City to celebrate the release of the album, which also features Bill Cunliffe on piano and Dennis Mackrel on drums.  This is the second time Todd has appeared on the podcast—you can hear his interview with Win Hinkle in our archives.

Todd and I cover all sorts of interesting topics in this interview, including his experiences moving from a full-time faculty position down to part-time and the opportunities that opens up for him.  We talk about his classical foundation on the bass and dig into classical and jazz crossover and how lessons learned in one genre are valuable in the other.  We also talk about skills the modern music student needs to be successful and what colleges can do to help facilitate this, and we get into details about recording this new album.

If you enjoyed this episode, check out our interviews with Carlos Henriquez, Chuck Israels, Larry Gray, Ron Carter, Lynn Seaton, and Rufus Reid!