Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Standing in the Shadows of....Los Angeles? Todd?

"Standing in the Shadows of Motown" should be required viewing for all aspiring musicians. It's a documentary of a unique time in the recording business, but much of what you see will resonate as UME (Universal Musician Experience). It's about earning a living. And it's a movie that mentors.

Tuesday September 9 on NPR's Day to Day program I heard a four minute story about a documentary film that we may likely not be able to see. Too bad: It's about top west coast jazz players who--no surprise--earned a living.

Here's the link to the story:

We hear Carol Kaye, the pioneering California-based Fender bassist of that era, talking about the bass line she played on "Good Vibrations" of Beach Boys fame.

In his book "Bass Heroes", Brian Mulhern begins her chapter this way: "In the beginning, there was Carol Kaye."

I was fortunate to meet her several years ago. She is the paragon of the gracious musician, listening well and freely sharing of her experience. At the time she was keeping up active online conversations with bassists who had questions.

As musicians, we are fortunate to be able to connect with brothers and sisters who not only earn their living as musicians, but also are kind and generous enough to allow us access to their stories and their knowledge.

Todd Johnson reigns as the best example of this type of young player. Much of his time and energy go into producing educational materials for bassists--and it is very good stuff--and yet he is also right there in the trenches, "earning a living." When he is not on the road, he is one busy local player. And clinician. And then--in his spare time, heh heh--he is expanding the role of the bass with his revolutionary 6-string chordal approach. He must take vitamins regularly.

Mentors--film, radio, dvd, clinic--we thank you for your gifts.

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