What genre of music do you perform?
Straight ahead jazz – bebop, blues, ballads, bossa novas; Latin jazz – Brasilian sambas and Afro–Cuban mambos, etc.
When did you start performing?
I started in high school and college on guitar and piano then switched to acoustic bass during/after graduate school. I have a Master’s in Composition from Yale School of Music. I see myself equally as composer, arranger, performer and educator.
What city and state are you based out of?
I’m from New Haven, CT.
What about playing music makes you happy?
Communicating with fellow musicians and with the audience on the plane of musical language and human emotion. I try to always make an emotional connection with whatever music I’m playing.
What are your hopes for your future in live music?
Just to continue reaching a wider and wider audience with musical joy and spiritual dance.
What other acts/musicians do you regularly play with?
Thee are many, many CT jazz artists with whom I regularly come into contact; my Brasilian group, Sambeleza, includes singer/pianist Isabella Mendes and guitarist Joe Carter. I also play as a sideman with many jazz musicians all across the region.
What has been your favorite performance so far?
I don’t have one favorite performance; I try to make each performance “my favorite performance” – therefore, “the one I’m on” seems to be the right – if kind of fresh – answer. I have played in Carnegie Hall and in Harlem, Prortugal, Vienna, India, Cuba and Africa… but I enjoy playing in a bar in West Haven just as well. Music is a journey, you’ve got to love every step.
Who are some of your favorite musicians?
Again, a hard answer to pin down. In jazz, I feel kinship with Bill Evans, Lou Donaldson, Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Terry Clarke, Giacomo Gates – I respect and admire them all, especially those I have played with for extended periods of time. I toured with Lou Donaldson for 15 years, and it was like getting a PhD in jazz! But I love great composers equally well, for they provide the vehicles for us to create jazz improvisations: Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Tom Jobim, Ivan Lins, Thelonius Monk are just a few off the top of my head.
What is your favorite instrument to play? Why?
MOST of the time I play an Upton Hawkes Hybrid upright bass, made right here in Connecticut. It’s got a sweet but punchy loud tone and it’s set up for the kind of multi-technique approach I use (lots of double stops, string crossings, percussive effects). BUT, For Brasilian music I just love my Ken Smith 6-string bass guitar: the extended range on the bottom and top give me punchy low end but lyrical high-end. The 6-strings allow for a lot of chording, which is especially important in and typical of bossa novas and sambas.