Features – Bass Player Live 2011

Jon Liebman, Stanley ClarkeBass Player Live! 2011

 From Jack Casady and Larry Graham to a special Anthony Jackson tribute to James Jamerson, this year’s BPL! did not disappoint.  We’ve got some great photos to prove it!

FBPO attended Bass Player Live! October 22-23 at S.I.R. Studios, Los Angeles. As usual, it was a who’s who – and a what’s what – of bass legends, leaders, sidemen (and women), basses, strings, amps… just about anything a bass enthusiast could want.

Concurrent sessions and workshops continued non-stop throughout both days, covering the gamut of styles.

Must-see photo gallery, below!

Presentations/performances were conducted by Oskar Cartaya, Abraham Laboriel, Rickey Minor, Adam Nitti, Hadrien Feraud and several others, including Brian Bromberg, who announced, via a special press conference, his forthcoming BassOnTheBroadband.com website, which will provide a vehicle for bass players to get their music heard worldwide (watch FBPO for more information on this exciting endeavor as it unfolds).

Other highlights included:

  • A “Rock Roundtable” with James Lomenzo, Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, dUg Pinnick and Dave Henning;
  • A panel discussion with bass icons Jonas Hellborg, Steve Bailey and Leland Sklar (billed as JoStLe), covering the state of the music business, past, present and future (including Sklar performing his memorable bass line to James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face”);
  • A Hip-hop/Funk/R&B Roundtable with Divinity Roxx, Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and Snoop Dogg’s Robert “Bubby” Lewis;
  • A series of workshops from the bass department at Hollywood’s Musicians Institute, now chaired by Stu Hamm. Among the session titles: Uprights Can Rock!; Marketing Your Music; Slap Vocabulary and Groove Workshop; Injury Prevention for Bassists and Metal Bass Session

Casady performed an acoustic Hot Tuna duo set with finger-style guitar icon and fellow band mate Jorma Kaukonen. Next was an all-Motown set, featuring James Jamerson, Jr., with a cameo appearance by Pino Palladino, who performed “Road Runner,” his favorite Jamerson line.

The highlight of the evening was Larry Graham, sporting his signature long white jacket with matching hat and pocket stuffer, fronting his own band in a medley of Graham Central Station material, followed by a succession of Sly & the Family Stone hits, including “Dance to the Music,” “I Want to Take You Higher” and “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.” Joining Graham in closing the set were über-funksters Miller and Verdine White, performing a bass trio jam that had everyone on their feet.

Wrapping up the evening was the traditional bass player jam, led by Steve Bailey, featuring Alex Al, Brian Bromberg, Phil Chen, Hadrien Feraud, Tal Wilkenfeld, Adam Nitti, Tim Lefebvre, Andrew Gouche, Janek Gwizdala, Jack Casady (who returned for a special encore performance) and Chile’s Igor Saavedra with his 8-string bass.

Sunday’s schedule, in addition to the regular clinics and exhibit hall, included up-close sessions honoring all three inductees, beginning with a one-on-one dialogue between Jack Casady and Bass Player’s Chris Jisi. The audience hung on every word, as Casady recounted the fascinating history of his early days in Washington, DC, to the formation of Jefferson Airplane, band tales, bass line reenactments (including “Somebody to Love”) and much more!

The James Jamerson appreciation was conducted by way of a panel discussion moderated by Allan “Dr. Licks” Slutsky, featuring James Jamerson, Jr., Phil Chen and Pino Palladino, all reminiscing about their experiences with the Motown legend and performing their favorite Jamerson bass lines. Recorded examples of Jamerson’s work were also played and discussed.

Bringing the show to a close was Larry Graham, jamming with drummer Brian Braziel, telling stories and just plain having fun. Marcus Miller joined the fray for an extended two-bass-and-drums all-out funk jam, bringing BPL2011 to an upbeat, feel-good ending.

Also spotted in the crowd during the two-day event were David Pastorius, Bunny Brunel, Stanley Clarke, Norm Stockton, Darryl Jones, Jimmy Earl, Putter Smith, Ed Friedland and Bryan Beller, to name but a few. Among the comments overheard after the show was “How is Bass Player going to top this next year?” I, for one, look forward to finding out.

Story by Jon Liebman
Photos by Adam Liebman

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