We’ll be featuring an interview with and music from jazz bass legend Rufus Reid this week on Contrabass Conversations. I’m very stoked to get to be able to feature this great artist on the podcast! The list of notable double bass guests grows ever longer as we approach episode 100, and though we’ve definitely skewed toward the classical side of things on the podcast, we’ve been able to feature quite a few jazz artists as well, and we will continue to do so as the program continues. This interview was conducted by guest host Win Hinkle, a former member of the Florida Symphony Orchestra who also worked for many years as a trombonist, double bassist, and bass guitarist.
Rufus Reid is, without a doubt, one of the most influential bassists working in jazz today, and he has had a significant impact on double bass performance and pedagogy throughout his career. His book The Evolving Bassist was one of the earliest of the contemporary generation of double bass method books, and it continues to be a foundational text for double bass students. I recommend it to all of my students who are interested in jazz, and I use many of his exercises for arco study and sight reading practice even with students who only study classical music.
Rufus is also one of the kindest and warmest people that you’ll ever meet, as anyone who has spent any time with him can attest. When I was a sophomore at Northwestern University Rufus was the headliner on our spring jazz festival. Even though I was just some schmuck undergrad with so-so jazz chops, Rufus went out of his way to spend time with me (along with the other bassists in the NU ensembles), and I think that I’m a better bass player for it. I’m sure that bassists all over the world have had similar encounters, and it is a real pleasure for me to be able to feature this great artist ad human being on the podcast. Stay tuned for it on July 12th, and check out the Contrabass Conversations archives for more interviews and performances from jazz bassists.