Guest, Jeff Berlin

Guest Name: 
Jeff Berlin
Jeff Berlin, Electric Bass Player, Music Teacher, Columnist, Recording Artist and Top Electric Jazz Bassist
Guest Occupation: 
Electric Bass Player, Music Teacher, Columnist, Recording Artist, Top Electric Jazz Bassist
Guest Biography: 

Music has been the reason that I get up every morning (that, and my kids kneeing me in the stomach at 7am). I'm an electric bass player and I've won awards, toured the world many times over, and played a million concerts world-wide. I've played with nearly every great drummer, guitarist, pianist and horn player that are out there today. Many people regard me as the best electric jazz bassist in the world (does this include all the dimensions times infinity?)

One dark cloud was the cancer that overtook my son. When he became sick, I retired from playing and stayed home with my boy to take care of him. In order to make a living, I started The Players School of Music in Clearwater, Florida. This way I could stay in Clearwater and put a little attention on music through the explanation and demonstration of it to my students.

Two good things happened; my son was cured of his cancer, and The Players School has become one of the finest schools to learn how to play bass, piano, drums or guitar. I'm touring a lot, which, after all, is the name of the game. Nothing replaces the experience of reaching for new music every night in front of an appreciative audience. Keep an eye out for us. I tour with Danny Gottlieb on drums (Danny played drums with Pat Metheny for years), Othello Molineaux (the steel drum player who played in Jaco Pastorius' band) and Richard Drexler on piano and upright bass (Richard came out of the Woody Herman Orchestra). It is maybe the smokingest jazz ensemble I ever played in.

I am a practicing fool because I have this really deep need not to imitate as a bassist. I grant you that it is hard to find totally new bass concepts. But, if you don't look for them, then how can you find SOMETHING that is yours alone? I don't have the technique that many young players have today. And so I rely on my imagination to find new ideas that might be impactful to the people who listen to me. I recently found a totally new way to play the bass guitar, a method of playing that has opened many harmonic doors for me. I will showcase this method on a future recording of mine.

Jazz is my passion when I wear the leader's hat. I have found a lot of new ways to approach the electric bass that I am quite proud of. But, as a sideman, I can play funk like a swamp rat sitting on a hotplate, and I can rock like a rotweiller chained up in front of a piece of ribeye. I've been working hard to find a producer with some forward vision of giving the 4 or 8 bar solo on a pop tune to me instead of the guitar or the synth player. But, so far, the concept seems laughable to most producers. "A BASS PLAYER? PLAYING A SOLO? ON A BEYONCE RECORD?" I didn't realize that my instrument, for all the visibility it has achieved over the years, still is not regarded that highy in the music industry. I am out to change this, if I can.

Regarding the fans that I have, I have noticed over the years that fans of rock music often had a broader appreciation of music in other styles than some jazz fans have had. Rock fans have been incredibly supportive of my music and therefore I would like to say Thank You for all you have done and said about my bass playing. This does not go unnoticed.

I will keep you posted about gigs and new projects that I am involved in. To those people who have supported me and my playing, I send you my love and thanks.

Best to all, Jeff