Contrabass Conversations double bass life
Summary: Contrabass Conversations features interviews and performances from top leaders in the world of the double bass. Podcast host Jason Heath dives deep into what makes these world-class artists tick. With 2 million downloads and counting, Contrabass Conversations is the most popular podcast for double bassists. Join the community and experience life on the low end of the spectrum!
Dan Styffe is constantly pushing new boundaries and exploring new territory on the double bass. He has been extremely active on a number of fronts since our last podcast with him back in 2017. We caught up with Dan at the 2019 International Society of Bassists Convention to chat about some of his many recent premiers and recording projects. Enjoy!
Nick Scales and I have known each other for years, and it was great to finally get a chance to sit down and do an interview. Nicholas has been on the faculty of West Texas A&M University since 2005 and is a frequent guest artist and presenter at various conferences. We cover some very fun memories of his time playing with Inez Wyrick and David Murray back in the Amarillo Symphony (where Nick is currently principal bass). You’ll love this fun romp through bass history with Nick—enjoy!
Fausto Borém is the Grand Prize winner of the 2018 International Society of Bassists Research Competition. His document, titled Intonation in the Performance of the Double Bass, was presented at the 2019 ISB Convention. Fausto has been on my “to interview” list for years, and it was great to have the opportunity to connect with him in person for the podcast! We talk about his ISB presentation and much more. Enjoy!
I was introduced to Helen Svoboda by jazz bass mainstay and past podcast guest John Goldsby. Helen is exploring a variety of interesting solo and collaborative projects on the bass, including her Vegetable Bass series, her bass and tenor sax duo Meatshell, her chamber-oriented Sprout project, and more. Helen is pushing into fascinating new territory on the bass and is a compelling and original artist. Enjoy!
Vassilis Papavassiliou presented a session titled Vibrato Revisited part 2 at the 2019 International Society of Bassists Convention, and we had the chance to sit down for a few minutes and explore some of his new findings. Vassilis appeared on the podcast in 2018 to cover this topic, and he has created an excellent website that digs into his research and findings on the topic. I hope you enjoy this thought-provoking conversation with one of the double bass’ great thinkers and players!
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Bert Witzel is the latest addition to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra bass section. He served as principal bass of the Louisville Orchestra for many years prior to winning an audition for his current position. Bert is also the author of Scales for the Double Bass. We dig into Bert’s journey through the music world, the highs and lows of auditioning, and what Bert has learned in the process. Enjoy!
Michael Trowbridge is a former public school orchestra director and an active bass teacher, presenter, and author. He is the co-author of Measures of Success for String Orchestra and the author of Everybody’s Electric Bass Method, both published by FJH Music. Mike and I dig into some of my favorite interview topics, like life in the trenches as an orchestra director, how the teaching world has changed over the decades, and proven methods for connecting with different groups of students. Enjoy!
Melbourne Bass Day preview with Rob Nairn
Andrés Martín is a longtime friend and collaborator of mine. Even though we regularly see each other at events like his Latin American Bass Festival, the Golden Gate Bass Camp, it has been over three years since he appeared on the podcast. Recorded live at the 2019 Golden Gate Bass Camp, Andrés and I chat about his beginnings as a composer, what it was like writing The Heart Knows No Borders for Gary Karr, and how working our regularly has changed his approach to bass, composition, and life in gener
Elisa Janson Jones is an entrepreneur, author, educator and the founder of the International Music Educator Summit. I was introduced to her through an appearance on Andrew Hitz’s The Entrepreneurial Musician podcast, and I know that she’s be a great person to have on this podcast. This is an honest, raw, and different kind of episode, and Elisa and I talk about successes and failures, how careers evolve for people over the years, taking charge of your own life, and many other topics.
Brian Bromberg has been on my “to interview” list for years, and it finally happened in person at the 2019 Golden Gate Bass Camp. In this conversation, we talk about Brian’s early career, lessons learned from drums and how starting with drums affected his bass playing, what most people don’t know about recording a bass, and much more. Enjoy!
I had the pleasure of meeting Jean-Philippe Viret in person and interviewing him during Cielito de Jesus’ wonderful Rabbath Institute Los Angeles. Jean-Philippe is one of the founding members of l’Orchestre de contrebasses and has had a rich career as a jazz bassist and composer in Paris for decades. We talk about his early years, the founding of l’Orchestre de contrebasses, exploring creativity, and much more. Enjoy!
Valentina Ciardelli is one of my favorite young bass artists, and she and I share a passion for the music of Frank Zappa. Valentina is launching her first album, titled Zappa, Puccini, Tabakov, Ciardelli: Music from the Sphinx, on September 20th, 2019. We talk about a wide array of topics, ranging from her recent arrangements and recording of Cletus Awreetus Awrightus and many other works to how she got permission from the Zappa estate to record Frank Zappa’s music.
Christian Dillingham is a longtime friend and musical collaborator of mine. He and I played together in a bass quartet when we were both living in Chicago, and he has continued to develop an interesting career in the classical and jazz worlds. We dig into our shared history, what it has been like living in Chicago, life on the South Side, and much more in this in-person chat at the 2019 International Society of Bassists Convention. Enjoy!