Berklee bass prof talks about daily epiphanies, Leland Sklar’s influence and more
By David Sands
Daniel Morris, or “D Mo” as he’s known to those close to him, is one of those special players, who not only knows his way inside and out of the electric bass, but also carries a deep passion for sharing the wisdom he’s learned with others.
A professor with the Bass Department at Berklee College of Music, he’s been teaching at the Boston institution since 1988. Popular with students, he teaches a variety of courses including “Electric Bass Pop Repertoire,” “Rhythm Section Ensemble,” and “Bass Lines from Motown/Atlantic” in addition to private instruction. And he’s earned a reputation for tailoring his teaching to meet the needs of his students.
A graduate of Berklee himself (as well as an alumnus of Ithaca College), he came to the university after serving as the bass player for the James Montgomery Blues Band and the Jon Pousette-Dart Band. Over the years, he’s also performed with Bo Diddley, Robben Ford, James Cotton, Young MC and Paula Abdul. Right now, he regularly gigs with Calypso Hurricane, a Massachusetts-based calypso/reggae/ska/jazz band.
As an educator, Morris has developed his own style of teaching, the MoMethod, which stresses Groove, Ears, Sound, Taste. He’s also written two books, Instant Bass and Essential Rock Grooves for Bass. The bassist is also a regular performer at L.A.’s WESTFEST concert series in support of the Wehmiller Scholarship, an annual award that benefits a current student enrolled at Berklee.
During a recent visit to Berklee, FBPO’s Jon Liebman got a chance to speak with Morris about his thoughts on teaching and his time playing with James Montgomery Blues Band and the Jon Pousette-Dart Band.
Watch our interview with D Mo here!
Watch a fun video of Jon, Danny and Jon Finn of Berklee’s guitar dept. demonstrating the typical lack of respect awarded to bass players when they take their solos.
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