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Chicago, IL








546 - Expat Adventures

Today’s episode features the following past podcast guests on the topic of expat adventures: John Goldsby- WDR Big Band Marc Ramirez Jennifer Downing Olsson Charlie DeRamusKristin Zoernig Listen to more “best of” episodes at Listen to Contrabass Conversations with our free app for iOS, Android, and Kindle! Contrabass Conversations is sponsored by: D'Addario Strings This episode is brought to you by D’Addario Strings! Check out their Zyex...


545: Traveling with a Bass

Today’s episode features the following past podcast guests on the topic of traveling with a bass: Ron CarterDiego Zecharies Nick Lloyd Kevin SmithMarco Panascia Listen to more “best of” episodes at Listen to Contrabass Conversations with our free app for iOS, Android, and Kindle! Contrabass Conversations is sponsored by: A440 Violin Shop An institution in the Roscoe Village neighborhood for over 20 years, A440's commitment to fairness and value...


544: Bass Humor

Today’s episode features the following past podcast guests on the topic of bass humor: Joel ReistLeigh MeshLucia TurinoKevin Smith Derek Jones Listen to more “best of” episodes at Listen to Contrabass Conversations with our free app for iOS, Android, and Kindle! Contrabass Conversations is sponsored by: D'Addario Strings This episode is brought to you by D’Addario Strings! Check out their Zyex strings, which are synthetic core strings that...


543: Yung-Ho Fu on Bach

I had the chance to spend time in person with Yung-Ho Fu during a recent tour to San Francisco with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, where he serves as principal bass. Our mutual friend Cielito de Jesus connected us, and we had a wonderful time talking about his recent edition of the Bach Cello Suites as well as his recording of these wonderful works. Listen to Contrabass Conversations with our free app for iOS, Android, and Kindle! Contrabass Conversations is sponsored...


542: Valentina Ciardelli on Frank Zappa and chamber music

Valentina Ciardelli is one of my favorite young double bass artists. She’s on a mission to showcase the double bass in a chamber music setting and elevate its prominence outside of the bass world. She’s also a huge fan of Frank Zappa, and she has arranged many of his works for solo double bass. You can learn more on her YouTube Channel and in this engaging and wide-ranging conversation! Listen to Contrabass Conversations with our free app for iOS, Android, and Kindle! Contrabass...


541: Sean Conly on being a working jazz musician

I had a great time chatting with bassist, composer, and educator Sean Conly during my recent trip to New York City. Sean studied with Rufus Reid and Todd Coolman at William Paterson University and has worked with Freddie Hubbard, Regina Carter, Nicholas Payton, and many other prominent jazz artists. Sean also teaches for The Bass Collective in New York, which emphasizes learning by doing and faculty performing alongside students. We talk about this approach to education and its benefits,...


540: Mike Forfia on career decisions

I’ve been hoping to chat with Mike Forfia for the podcast ever since I heard that he won the 2015 International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition and would be one of the headliners for the 2017 Convention. In addition to being a great jazz bassist, Mike is the Student Success Academic + Career Advisor at The New School in New York City. Mike is a deep thinker and has made several career decisions that may seem surprising to outside observers. We talk about Mike’s journey from Akron, Ohio...


539: Michael Thurber on endless possibilities

You’ve almost certainly encountered Michael Thurber’s work in the past. Michael co-founded the incredibly popular YouTube channel CDZA, producing videos like Story of the Bass. Michael went on to play bass on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and he is now composing critically acclaimed music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, hosting his Thurber Theater, and writing for an incredibly array of other projects. Michael and I got connected by Lyris Hung of D’Addario Strings and chatted live...


538: Marco Panascia

When I put out a call for interview requests for my New York City trip, Marco Panascia was one of the most-requested bassists. In fact, Marco has been requested as a guest many times over the years, and he and I have also talked about doing an interview for the past few years. Being able to chat in person with Marco was an added benefit! Marco and I cover all kinds of interesting ground, like his journey from Italy to the United States, how he established his career in the US, getting to...


537: ISB - State of the Union

We’re talking with International Society of Bassists President Nicholas Walker about new directions for the organization. A lot has been happening behind the scenes at the ISB, and I’ve been privileged to be on the board and a part of these restructuring. We dig into this and much more in today’s conversation. Below is Nicholas’ column for the fall 2018 edition of Bass World. This will give context to much of what we’re talking about. Enjoy, and please join the ISB is you’re not a...


536: South African Double Bass Course

I spoke with South African double bassist Zanelle Britz about her launching of the first ever double bass course in South Africa, which will take place December 9-12, 2018 in Cape Town. Learn more about the event and donate to support it at More about the South African Double Bass Course (from their website): The National Youth Orchestra is hosting our first ever course exclusively for the Double Bass! We are so excited - there are very few opportunities for...


535: Lisle Atkinson and Jazz legends

When Jay Starkes of the Neo Bass Ensemble called me up to let me know about an upcoming performance, I knew that I had to check out this group. Lisle Atkinson, the group’s founder, has been on the jazz scene in New York for decades and has played with some of the biggest names in the business like Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Clark Terry, and Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Big Band. Lisle was in the New York Bass Violin Choir along with Richard Davis, Ron Carter, Milt Hinton, Michael Fleming,...


534: Alanna Jones on auditioning in New Zealand

When I heard from Rice University bass professor Tim Pitts that his former student Alanna Jones had won a spot in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, I immediately dropped her a line and asked if she’d chat about this recent audition for the podcast. She accepted, and we had a great talk, not only about the NZSO audition but also about her journey from Green Bay, Wisconsin to New Zealand, her time studying with Scott Pingel at the San Francisco Conservatory, life as a member of the Rice...


533: Kenny Davis on Jazz and Classical chops

Kenny Davis is one of the most in-demand bassists in New York. You name it—he’s played it. From playing in the Tonight Show Band for several years to recording, touring, and performing with artists like Herbie Hancock, Cassandra Wilson, and Freddie Hubbard, Kenny has been in involved in an astonishing array of musical projects. We also happen to have quite a bit of shared background. Kenny grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where I lived for over 20 years. We also both attended Northwestern...


532: Blake Hinson on auditioning and practicing

Blake Hinson serves as Assistant Principal Bass of the New York Philharmonic and teaches bass at Stony Brook University. He previously served as principal bass of the Grand Rapids Symphony and was a fellow in the New World Symphony. Many podcast listeners have requested Blake as a guest, and as I was planning my trip to New York City, I knew that I wanted to connect with him and talk about his time studying with Hal Robinson and Edgar Meyer at Curtis, his path through the audition world,...


531: Ron Wasserman on 1000 Nutcrackers and career diversity

Ron Wasserman has been a frequently-requested podcast guest over the years, and it was such a pleasure to be able to sit down with him in person and dig into all kinds of topics. In addition to being the longtime principal bass for the New York City Ballet, Ron is the founder and artistic director of the New York Jazzharmonic, an active composer, and wears many other hats. On his website, Ron describes himself as follows: Ron Wasserman is (in this order): 1. a native New Yorker 2. a...


530: Barrie Kolstein on 70 years of business

I first spoke with Barrie Kolstein for the podcast back in 2008 with my frequent co-host John Grillo. Barrie has been in the double bass business for nearly 50 years, and Kolstein Music is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Barrie and I cover all kinds of new ground in this long-overdue “round two” conversation, including what it was like working with bass legends like Fred Zimmermann and Orin O’Brien, new product innovations like silicon rosin cases, the Busetto bass, and new...


529: Upton Bass

One of my all-time top interview requests has been to chat with Gary Upton and Eric Roy of Upton Bass. As I was booking my trip to New York City, I knew that spending a day at the Upton barn in Mystic, Connecticut was a must-do. Eric, Gary, and I had a great conversation about all kinds of things, like the unconventional way in which they established Upton Bass, how the company grew from selling bass accessories to building over 120 basses a year, staying ahead of various online trends in...


528: Kieran Hanlon on Bach for the bass

Kieran Hanlon, bass professor at The State University of New York at Fredonia and also a past podcast guest, has been hard at work putting together a Bach project. Titled Practical Bach for the Double Bass, this project involves transcribing select movements of the Bach cello suites into the lower positions of the double bass. Kieran shares his inspiration for the project on his website: I have always thought of solo Bach movements as musicianship and style etudes alongside their clear...


527: Michel Taddei on balancing many roles

Michel Taddei likes to keep busy with a wide variety of musical roles. Michel is Principal Bassist of the Berkeley, Fremont, Symphony Napa Valley, and Pacific Chamber Symphonies, as well as the Mendocino Music Festival and San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and serves as Assistant Principal Bassist of the California Symphony. That alone sounds like a lot of activity, but Michael also is the Administrative Director of Music at The Crowden School, is an active conductor, and is a singer with a...