Jimmy Masters: Bassplayer
I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in March of 1964. It was at that point that I told my parents I wanted a guitar. It took 2 more years but finally under the Christmas tree was a new Teisco Del Ray, upon which I took guitar lessons during the 8th grade. The next major musical influence came by way of the Merv Griffin show, which frequently featured the late, great bassist Ray Brown. As a youngster I was fascinated by the man on this big bass, at the front of the stage, playing along side Merv (I had the opportunity to actually relay that story to Ray in person one time when I went to Washington DC to hear his trio!). It was rock bands in high school, and after graduating, I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year, which really opened my eyes to the world of jazz. The disco scene is also a part of my sordid musical past...something I cherish dearly! The acoustic bass came to me later in life, at the age of 29, when I started picking up jazz gigs and realized that electric bass just wasn't going to cut it. Other studies include 1 year spent at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and lessons with two legendary jazz bassists, Rufus Reid & Cecil McBee. Early on there was some classical bass study, which coincided with my playing in the bass section of the Virginia Symphony for a season. I have been a jazz bass player now for the better part of almost 35 years and have had the opportunity to perform with a host of jazz luminaries and heroes. There has also been a lot of time spent in the shed with transcription, and tremendous support and help from a number of good friends, who have taught me much, and all of whom are great players in their own right.
My instrument of choice is a beautiful German cottage industry bass from the region of Schoenfeld, and built somewhere in the period between 1860 and 1890. The bass was completely restored by luthier Howard Dodd after I took possession of it, a restoration that lasted the better part of a year. It has been the bass I play most often ever since. I also have a beautiful 1951 Kay bass. My amplifier of choice is an Acoustic Image Clarus II head used in conjunction with a great Low B 1-10 speaker cabinet built by ACME Bass Cabinets out of Denver, CO. On some gigs I also add an Acoustic Image Double Shot. For smaller gigs I also play through a GK MB110. I play Thomastic Spirocore bass strings.
Here are some of the folks I've had the good fortune to perform with over the years:
James Williams (RIP), Mulgrew Miller (RIP), Fred Hersch, Kenny Drew, Jr (RIP), Alan Farnham, Daniel Clarke, Michael McNeil, Ellis Marsalis (RIP), Cyrus Chestnut, John Toomey, Bob Hallahan, Sunna Gunnlaugs, Harris Simon, Justin Kauflin, Daniel Clarke, Michael Pedicin, Ricky Woodard, Javon Jackson, Glenn Wilson, Donnie McCaslin, Dick Oats, Mark Turner, Walt Weiskopf, Rick Margitza, Bill Evans, Scott Hamilton, Scott Robinson, Bill Evans, LeRoy Moore (R.I.P.), Houston Person, Bill Pierce, Steve Wilson, Sam Newsome, Jimmy Cozier, Gary Thomas, Ken Peplowski, Ada Rovatti, Melissa Aldana, Rich Perry, Frank Morgan, Jesse Davis, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Donald Harrison, Peter Asplund, Bob Mintzer, JC Kuhl, Mark Shim, Charlie Young, Vincent Herring, Bobby Reed, Clark Terry, Tim Hagans, Byron Stripling, Joe Magnarelli, John D'Earth, Sean Jones, Terell Stafford, Chuck Mangione, Derrick Gardner, Marquis Hill, Steve Davis, Ingrid Jensen, Wallace Roney, John Alred, Ryan Keberle, Randy Brecker, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Allan Harris, Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy, Allan Harris, Tessa Souter, Sheila Jordan, Kenny Rankin, Denise Donatelli, Sharon Clark, Veronica Swift, Charanee Wade, Lena Seikaly, Laura Martier, Chris Connor, Kurt Elling, Carla Cook, Kenny Washington, Darmon Meader, Renee Marie, Lori Williams, Diane Hubka, Mose Allison, Scott McLemore, Alan Parker, Peter Bernstein, Vic Juris,, John Abercrombie, Woody Beckner, Fred Hibbard, Herb Ellis, Nate Najar, Charlie Byrd, Trey Pollard, Pete Huttlinger, Rory Stuart, Warren Wolf, Joe Locke, Steve Hobbs, Chuck Redd, Jae Sinnett, Howard Curtis, Billy Drummond, Clarence Penn, Billy Williams, Alvester Garnett, Tony Martucci, Brian Jones, Scott McLemore, Carter Beauford, Bill & Pam Gurley, Stephen Bennett, Tommy Emanuel, Mary Lou Osterhous, Randall Bramblett, Trey Eppes, Karl Werne, Howard Levy.