This is a new series I’m starting highlighting people involved in forward-thinking projects. This first edition highlights double bassists (understandably) that are “moving the needle” in interesting ways. Not all “Innovators” editions will feature bassists, but this first one will. If you have an idea for an innovator, leave a comment or send me an email at email@example.com.
Innovator No. 1: Barry Green
It is astonishing to think about how much Barry has accomplished in his decades of musical activity. The man is an idea machine and is constantly pivoting (a spectacular and enviable talent) to focus on new opportunities and ideas. From his years creating a vibrant “Green Machine” bass scene in Cincinnati to his studies with Rabbath, Barry is a perpetual innovator. Non-bassists will know Barry best for his books The Inner Game of Music, The Mastery of Music, and Bringing Music to Life, but bassists may be best familiar with him for his ambitious projects like Anna’s Promise, which Barry, Jeff Bradetich, and I talked about in a podcast interview a few months ago.
Here’s a video covering what’s in store for Anna’s Promise, the final installment in Barry’s multimedia trilogy:
Innovator No. 2: Andrés Martín
Andrés is the composer of the music for Anna’s Gift and Anna’s Promise, and he has taken the double bass world by storm with his unique and compelling compositional voice. His first double bass concerto has been performed a great number of times worldwide, and he continues to contribute prodigiously to the repertoire, pushing the boundaries of the instrument in many interesting directions. Andrés and I sat down for a podcast interview recently and talked through his compositional process, which you’d find both interesting and inspirational.
Here’s a video of Andrés performing his first bass concerto. This will make you want to drop everything you’re doing and get a copy of the music–it rocks!
Innovator No. 3: Adam Ben Ezra
Adam is the first person in a long time that made me drop everything that I was doing and run to the bass for several hours to try to figure out a riff. I must have spent three hours straight practicing Can’t Stop Running when I first heard it on Facebook. Adam and I had a great chat for the podcast a few weeks back. His style is completely his own and is both fun and compelling. If Adam is the future of the double bass, the future looks quite bright indeed.
Here’s the video for Can’t Stop Running, which pulled me in both musically and through the amazingly unimpressed dog in the background:
I just wrapped up a great interview with double bassist Claus Freudenstein this morning. You may know Claus as the inventor of the Freudenstein minibass, which has been transforming how young students are taught. You may also be familiar with Claus and his work with the heavy metal-inspired Bassmonsters, or his work as a member of the International Society of Bassists board of directors. Claus is actively changing the world of the double bass on a number of fronts, and he’s the exact sort of person that I love featuring on Contrabass Conversations. Look for this episode to drop on Monday, April 25th (which also happens to be Claus’ birthday!).
Claus and I got pretty deep into the topic of arranging, and Andrés Martín came up several times (check out this link to hear Andrés talk about how he first got into arranging). Here’s a great clip of Claus and Andrés performing for Encuentro Latino Americano de Contrabajos, which Andrés puts on each year. Be sure to check out our podcast featuring Andrés, and stay tuned for our episode with Claus very soon!
We feature two guests next week on Contrabass Conversations that are both associated with contemporary music for the double bass.
Andrés Martín episode on Monday
Andrés is a compelling new compositional voice in the world of the double bass. If you haven’t checked out his music before, check it out immediately–you’ll be hooked. Here’s a video featuring Andrés performing his first bass concerto:
Bert Turetzky episode on Thursday
Known as the “Father of Modern Bass Playing,” Bert Turetzky has been a major force in the world of the double bass for decades. He has recently written an autobiography titled A Different View. Here’s a video featuring Bert describing some elements of the book:
One piece that I find particularly powerful is “43” by Andrés and Donovan Stokes (a former Contrabass Conversations guest). This work commemorates the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero and also happens to be the exact number of bass players performing in this video. Check it out–it’s good stuff: