Jazz, pop, and classical bassist Bob Magnusson has been holding down the bottom end for thousands of San Diego jazz moments since the late 1960s. His father was a classical clarinetist, and Magnusson spent twelve years playing French horn before taking up the bass in 1967. Since then, he's been a member of the symphony, and played with almost everyone in San Diego.
He has recorded albums, television spots, film scores, and jingles and performed with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony. Local ensembles he has played with include years spent with Peter Sprague’s String Consort, which includes Jim Plank (drummer for Joe Pass, among others), and a duo with local jazz guitarist Jaimie Valle.
Magnusson has also performed and recorded with many pop and jazz greats, such as Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughan, Jimmy Cobb, the Art Pepper Quartet, the Benny Golson Quartet, Joe Farrell Quartet, Joe Pass, Linda Ronstadt, Natalie Cole, Neil Diamond, Bonnie Raitt, 10,000 Maniacs, and even Madonna. Venues he’s appeared in include Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall.
In 1998, Magnusson joined the faculty at San Diego Mesa Community College and the Coronado School of the Arts, where he teaches high school and college students about harmony and theory, jazz improvisation, etc. His book, The Art of the Walking Bass, was published in 1999.
According to Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times, “His solos are models of creative, spontaneous artistry. His tone is full, rich, and consistent; he is one of those masters who can achieve effortlessly any phrase that comes to his mind. His basic function as a rhythm player is fulfilled no less resourcefully when the others solo.”