Grammy winning jazz bassist, John Patitucci, pulled a seat up for a chat with TrueFire...
1. If you weren't a musician, what would you be and why?
If I wasn't a musician I would like to be a pastor/theologian. Besides my faith and beliefs, I would also feel strongly about helping people and working at something that I think really is important and that actually makes a difference.
2. Honestly, how many hours a day do you practice?
It varies at this point in my life, because my schedule between family, playing , composing, touring, recording and teaching is constantly changing. If I am home, I try to put in a couple of hours at night. Sometimes, I go for a few days without practicing if I am working a lot. Sometimes I will practice for 3 or 4 hours. It really isn't the same as when I was younger and single. Then, it was at least 3 hours a day and sometimes much more.
3. What are you listening to lately?
I listen lately to many things, African music like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Coltrane CD's, Bach's Goldberg Variations for solo piano, Al Green, Dutilleux's piano music, etc....
4. How would you describe the music business today?
The music business today is harder than ever for young musicians to get started in. There is also a huge problem with the public thinking all music should be free, which will destroy a composer's means of earning a living from royalties.
5. Stranded on a desert island, which bass would you take?
I have been asked many times to say which bass I prefer- Electric or Acoustic and I will not answer that because I love both. If I was stranded on a desert island, I would still take both basses.
6. Should world leaders learn how to play bass? Why?
World leaders could all learn about life, communication, self- lessness, a group identity and service orientation from bass playing. They could also learn to be both strong and flexible at the same time.
7. Let's talk about what's going on with you right now, your new album, and what’s next?
Right now I am doing gigs to promote my new trio CD called "Remembrance", which features Brian Blade on Drums and Saxophonist Joe Lovano, with guest appearances from my wife Sachi on cello and percussionist - Rogerio Boccato. I am also playing gigs with Wayne Shorter's Quartet, teaching at The City College of New York, composing, session work, etc... I will also be doing some teaching for the Thelonious Monk Institute in New Orleans this Fall as well as being a judge in the Monk Institute's Bass Competition this October in Washington D.C.
Questions submitted to TrueFire via Facebook, Twitter, and our Forum.
8. From "Jason1782" - What was it about jazz that attracted you to it?
The Spirit, passion, improvisation, rhythms, feeling and soulful power of Jazz attracted me to this great musical genre.
9. From "stratmaster09" - what was it like to work with B.B. King? George Benson?
B.B. King and George Benson are 2 of the greatest guitarist/singers the world has ever heard. Their artistry and warm personalities have inspired so many musicians and fans that i can hardly describe their impact in words. I am humbled and honored to have played with them.
10. From "BassBruther79" - The approach to bass guitar has seen a tremendous transformation over the past 3 decades, where do it you see it going today? Anything exciting you?
The history of the bass guitar over the last 3 decades is not something i can adequately address in the short time and space i have here. We have seen many stylistic, technical and sonic developments in the last 3 decades. I don't know where it is going and i am always interested in watching what happens. In terms of getting excited about things, the technical pyrotechnics don't really excite me too much, unless there is REAL MUSIC ALONG WITH IT . I think that there is sometimes a danger of just overplaying when people get bewitched by the techniques that are available today. I am all for new things when they serve the music and make things feel great.
11. From "Torr71" - where did you get your inspiration from as a young artist? And who would you like to collaborate musically with that you haven't already?
I got my inspiration as a young artist from my older brother Tom, Motown records, Blues records, Jazz records from Wes Montgomery, Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Rock and Roll records like: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, my father's opera records, my family in general. Most of the musicians that i haven't collaborated with that i really wanted to, are gone. People like Coltrane, Miles, Gil Evans, Joe Henderson, Phineas Newborn etc....
12. And finally, any words of wisdom for your fans and fellow bass crusaders?
If you want to play music and want to make it your life's work, i think it demands a love for this life of creating, a sense of passion and a calling. We play music because we MUST play , not because we think it might be a nice diversion or something that is just a trivial amusement ( even though it is so much fun). I play because i believe that this is the gift that God gave to me. I believe that we ALL get gifts and music is the one that i am responsible to develop to the best of my ability.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that the bass guitar is a guitar, too, but it is impossible to ignore the sublime presence that those four strings produce - especially when under the fingers of an artist. John Patitucci and his trio have produced what has become somewhat of a rareity in jazz and modern music in general - an album you can listen to from start to finish. Whether you dig jazz or can only stomach it, there is a lot to be said about an album that seems to easily find a place for itself in your everyday life. Admittedly, I am a lover of old school jazz, which is probably why I enjoyed this album so much. Not that it is "old school", but it captures the essence of what makes those old jazz comps so satisfying; the bloodless battles between fleeting moments of beauty, ugliness and pure inspiration. At the very least, Remembrance offers several tracks worthy of your favorite playlist, but don't just take my word for it. Click here to hear samples from the album on Amazon.com
- Charlie Doom
Check out Patitucci's latest musical release, Remembrance.
In his own words:
"We're paying tribute, but we're also shaping the music to reflect who we are. We're not just copying or resting on the musicians who came before us, we're playing this music as our way of contributing to the evolution of jazz."
- John Patitucci