Greetings Zeljko and thanks for this opportunity to be featured here on your blog. Wow, I just had a look at Nefta Lopez’s page here on your site, very inspiring, what a player! A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to see the Pat Metheny Trio performing live here in South Africa. Christian McBride played double bass and was of course fantastic, and then absolutely everyone was blown away by Antonio Sanchez who played drums and who also hails from Mexico City like Nefta. It seems to me that Mexico is producing top notch musical talent and I’ll certainly keep a close eye on that part of the world.
My musical journey thus far has been a very modest one indeed and there‘s still many things to learn and practice and investigate and things to be discovered but all in good time. My journey began a couple of years ago when I became the neighbor of an exceptionally knowledgeable musician and guitarist who himself has studied music for over 30 years. As a result of the proximity and our shared interest in music, I received music instruction around the clock for just about everyday and little did I know back then, that this chance occurrence of meeting this – a little eccentric – and very intense and intellectual musician would turn into a kind of musical hermitage. I was initiated into the world of music and Jazz and improvisation and harmony and reading music and I was introduced to wonderful sounding theories like the ‘Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization’ and after an amalgamation of various circumstances, it so happened that I spent the better part of the last few years learning and practicing the bass guitar. The only crazy thing… I was already twenty six years old when I received that first proper music lesson but that just shows you that you’re never too old to embark on a musical journey and now that I recall this, right in the middle of this study I also took a year break from music and attended a Buddhist Monastery and lived as a novice Buddhist monk. After my stint at the Seminary, I returned home, got back into music, and started compiling my own Bass Manual Series that can be downloaded from my website free of charge.
About a month ago I started my own little tuition studio here in Johannesburg where I’ll be giving bass and also guitar lessons and I look forward to share all the things that I’ve learned and to continue practicing and studying music until I find that something special or unique voice that all musicians strive for. At the moment I’m contemplating composing new tunes and as a result I’m constantly thinking about the great musical heritage that permeates the air in South America where music just seems to be such an integral part of life. My mentor suggested that we must borrow and follow this philosophy of music being a part of life and compose tunes that will make the people here want to dance when performed. Astor Piazzolla’s Tango’s spring to mind and wherever there’re a couple of musicians performing in Brazil, you’ll find people dancing to that music because music is just such a part of life and of course the music is also so good. Composing tunes and working on a repertoire for future performance and looking for musicians to play with, that’s what I’m working on for now.
Some of the great musicians that I’ve been listening to are Pat Metheny (always), all ECM recording artists, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Egberto Gismonti, Ralph Towner, Jan Garbarek, Jim Hall, Edgar Meyer, Jaco Pastorius, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Charlie Haden, Stu Hamm, Lyle Mays, Astor Piazzolla, Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dave Holland and I’m also a very big Pixies fan… There’s just too many artists to mention but I must also mention a couple of great South African musicians and they are, the late Johnnie Fourie, Carlo Mombelli, Marcus Wyatt, Pops Mohammed, Edwin Schroeder, Andy Sherman, John Rautenbach, Jamie Scofield, Ronan Skillen and a little outfit named Babu. I’m also a big fan of the YouTube platform and it’s always a pleasure to see musicians do their stuff and put it onto YouTube and many of them are unknown and very good, it’s actually quite intimidating to see and hear some of them play.
With regards to gear, right now I’m playing a Warwick Alien Acoustic Bass and I have a little Cort that I took the frets out and I have a Hartke 3500HA amplifier with a couple of Hartke VX speakers but my ultimate ambition is to have and to play a double bass, this is where everything I do now, will ultimately lead. In your neck of the woods in Australia there’s also a company called Industrial Radio and they make a MIDI bass and this looks really interesting indeed.
Thanks again Zeljko and I wish you all the luck with your musical ambitions.
Johannesburg, South Africa