Creating a Top Ten Jazz Bass Schools List

A recent comment from Carol on my Advice for Aspiring Music Performance Majors post sparked my interest in creating a similar list for top-tier schools for jazz bass study. Commenting on Karl Olsen’s Orchestra Audition Winners List, Carol writes:

Jason, congratulations on your wedding (what a handsome couple!). I love your advice to bass performance majors. My son, a h.s. senior, is searching colleges now. He prefers jazz, actually, so I wonder if your Big 4 universities (Rice, Boston, e.g.) are best for jazz too. More so, my young bassist wants to produce new jazz cds — he’d rather go live in Milan to study the industry with Nicola Conte than go to college at all. If he weren’t so busy with homework I’d make him read every one of your posts, Jason. You’re amazing.
~Carol, mother of a bassist

While “success” in jazz may be harder to quantify than in the orchestral bass world (not that winning a job is the only determining factor in classical instrumental success–if that’s so, I’m a total failure!), it would be interesting and educational to survey double bassists and come up with a list of schools with an established track record of turning out jazz double bassists that go on to have successful performing careers.

Readers–let me know your recommendations, and give a reason or two why you recommend this school. Here are a few top-tier jazz schools to get the list going. Please leave a comment with your own suggestions!

Best Schools for Jazz Bass

Please help to fill out this list (along with any reasons for your choices), and we’ll get a survey going!

7 thoughts on “Creating a Top Ten Jazz Bass Schools List”

  1. I’d add University of North Texas, where Lynn Seaton is the jazz bass master. Also Berklee College, home of Rich Appleman and a great tradition of turning out highly accomplished bassists (as well as other instrumentalists, of course). Is Cal Arts where Charlie Haden teaches? If so, thumbs up there!
    Did you choose the other schools based upon who the bass instructor is or on what players have come out of the particular program?

  2. These are just schools that I thought of on the fly–Berklee and UNT are certainly top-notch as well. Cal Arts is where Charlie Hades is based.

  3. I don’t know if they would make the top ten, but I have heard that both DePaul and Northern Illinois have jazz programs that are respected nationally. I have no idea who the jazz bass teachers are however.

  4. Where’s Berklee College of Music in there? We’ve got so much more for jazz than a few of those. But I guess I’m bias but not to be in the top?

  5. William Paterson University: Steve LaSpina and Marcus McLaurine, Jazz Bass. John Storck, Classical Bass. Excellent jazz program-a real rhythm section school. Mulgrew Miller (look him up, famous jazz pianist) is the director.

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