Giovanni Bottesini: Composer, Conductor, The Paganini of the double bass, who elevated the instrument from background support to center stage.
Originally a violinist from a talented but poor musical family, Giovanni wanted to attend the Milan Conservatory. A scholarship was his only option. Unfortunately by the time he was able to apply, the only positions left were for bassoon and double bass. Unfazed Giovanni shed for a few weeks, nailed the audition and after 4 years of study, went on to become the most famous double bass soloist of his time.
P.S. Free show tonight at the Tiki Hut in Hilton Head Island, SC! Festivities start around 6.
Dave Anderson: Principal Bassist of the LPO, Composer, Teacher, Bad Mofo and a great human being.
What can’t this man do? Master of classical, jazz, rock and roll and everything in between. Composer, performer, teacher of the highest levels, he is known throughout the world of bass as a true badass. He has studied and played with everyone, and I mean everyone. Frank Proto, Jaco Pastorius, Bobby McFerrin, John Paul Jones, Hal Robinson, and too many others to count. I was very lucky to have him as my teacher and I am deeply grateful for all of the knowledge and skills he passed on to me. DERF!
Duets Performed by Gaelen McCormick and Ed Paulsen
P.S. Gig tonight at the Blue Light Live in Lubbock, TX. Show starts at 11 PM.
Joe Tarto: bassist, tuba king, composer and arranger whose career spanned over six decades
After his stint in the Army band during World War I, Tarto broke into the New York music scene and quickly became the go to man for the low end. He recorded, composed and arranged for jazz greats like Bix Beiderbecke and Fletcher Henderson and he was a member of the CBS and NBC studio orchestras. On top of all of that, he recorded the background music for Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons. A true badass.
P.S. Gig tonight at Scruffy City Hall in Knoxville, Tennessee. Show starts at 10.
Cornelius Boots: bass clarinet/zen flute virtuoso, heavy chamber music composer, supreme badass
Composer/Bandleader of the worlds’ only original bass clarinet quartet and an absolute monster musician.Cornelius Boots
is a true master of music. From his accoustic heavy metal music to zen flute, Cornelius is a man of extremes.
P.S. Gig tonight at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale, CO. Show starts at 8:30.
Craig Butterfield: Jazz and Classical double bass ninja badass, professor
Craig Butterfield’s unbelievable command of the double bass has taken him around the world and through some of the most prestigious ensembles. From touring with Maynard Ferguson to performing for the king of Thailand, Craig Butterfield has proven himself to be a total bad ass, capable of playing all types of music at the highest level.
P.S. Gig tonight at the Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis. Show starts at 10.
François Rabbath 1931-
Classical Upright Pedagogue/Solist/Composer/Badass
To start things off, here’s a clip of François being a badass/throwing an upright out of a window.
Born in Aleppo, Syria into a musical family François, taught himself bass at the age of thirteen. He continued studying at the Paris Conservatory where he quickly surpassed his teachers and established his solo career. His three-volume double bass method, Nouvelle technique de la contrebasse, smashed the previous technical limitations of bass, became standard reading for bassists worldwide, and started generations of new virtuosi.
A short composition by Rabbath called Iberique Peninsulare, performed by Volkan Orhan.
P.S. Gig tonight at 10th Avenue Burrito in beautiful Belmar, New Jersey. Show starts at 8:30.
Frank Proto: Double Bass Trailblazer/Badass
Frank Proto was born in Brooklyn, New York. He began his musical studies with piano at the tender age of 7 and started learning double bass at the age of 16. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music in 1963 where he performed the first solo double bass recital in the history of the school.
Not content with the poor quality and limited selection of works for double bass at the time, Proto decided to write his own. His first composition, Sonata 1963 for Double Bass and Piano, is so badass it immediately entered the standard double bass repertoire. It has been performed by thousands of bassists worldwide.
Isac Ryu – Double Bass
Min Young Park – Piano
This was just the start of Proto’s professional career as a bassist/composer. His accolades and compositions are too numerous to list here, so go check him out, there’s plenty more out there to discover.
P.S. Gig tonight at the Animas City Theater in beautiful Durango, Colorado. Show starts at 9:30.
Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (October 7, 1798 – March 19, 1875)
Master luthier, inventor, and general badass, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume was not one to accept the limitations of his time. A constant experimenter, Vuillaume sought to improve existing string instruments and extend the range of the orchestra. This leads us to my favorite of his inventions, the octobass.
Standing at an imposing eleven and a half feet tall, the octobass is so large, players have to pull levers on the heel of the neck, connected to pads over the fingerboard, to fret the strings. The three string octobass was tuned an octave below a modern double bass with an extension, all the way down to a C0 (16.25 Hertz). That is a full octave lower than the lowest C on a piano.
Unfortunately the size and cost of the octobass stifled it’s adoption throughout the world. It is used to great effect in some orchestras who are lucky enough to own a surviving example or modern recreation
Here is a short video of Nico Abondolo warming up on an octobass before a recording session.
Here is an octobass playing with an orchestra for a bit more context.
Nicola Moneta on octobass.
P.S. Gig tonight at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA. Show starts at 9:30.
Throughout history, there have been musicians who through supreme dedication and an unreal amount of hard work, transcend the supposed limits of their instrument. DaXun Zhang is one of those few.
Playing since the age of nine, DaXun was accepted at Central Conservatory of Music in Bejing when he was just 11. Daxun Zhang has conquered competitions normally dominated by violins and cellos, becoming the first double bassist to win the WAMSO Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Audition. This man is an utter badass. His awards and accolades are too numerous to list so here are some performances instead.
P.S. Gig tonight at the Broadberry in Richmond, Virginia. We will be joined by Richmond’s own, Yo Mamma’s Brass Band! Doors open at 8.