Michael Manring

Solo bass virtuoso talks about “reverse engineering” and his newest release

Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
June 24, 2019

By David Sands

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost solo bassists, Michael Manring has made a career of taking his instrument into exciting new terrain. Known especially for his work with the fretless bass, he’s developed a reputation for exploring unconventional tunings and techniques while still maintaining a deep emotional connection to his music. Throughout the course of his career he’s played thousands of shows at venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and Tokyo’s Yamaha Hall NS also found success as a session musician and sideman playing with artists as diverse as Folk musician John Gorka, Primus drummer Tim Alexander, new age keyboardist Suzanne Ciani and experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser.

Growing up in northern Virginia, Manring played classical bass in high school orchestra while also moonlighting with local groups playing everything from garage rock to big band music.  He later went on to study for a brief time at Berklee, but left after his freshman year to tour the country with a band playing Top 40 music during the era when disco was king. Following that, he returned to the D.C. area, where he struck up a close friendship with the late guitar virtuoso Michael Hedges, who he would collaborate with extensively in the ensuing years. Manring went on to study and tour with the great Jaco Pastorius in the early 1980s. Not long after that, he signed a contract with Windham Hill Records that ended up resulting in several solo releases, steady work as a studio bassist. Over the years, he’s also played in the fusion group, Montreux, the Miles David tribute band Yo Miles! and the world/jazz/folk ensemble Demania. Beyond that, Manring  has also earned two gold records, received Grammy and Bammie nominations and a Berklee College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award and was profiled in the PBS documentary, The Artist’s Profile: Michael Manring.

FBPO’s Jon Liebman met with the prolific Mr. Manring during this year’s winter NAMM show for a conversation that covered recent exploits like “reverse engineering” music by Miles Davis and John Coltrane and a slew of current projects, including an upcoming solo release.

Watch our interview with Michael!


See Jon’s blog, with key takeaways from this interview, here.

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