Rob Thorsen: Bass guitar

Genre: Jazz

RIYL: Bob Magnusson, Gunnar Biggs, John Coltrane

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Influences: Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, John Coltrane, George Gershwin, Cole Porter


Jazz bassist Rob Thorsen says his mother always made sure their San Diego home rang with classical guitars and adventurous music. In early 2009, Thorsen was signed to Pacific Coast Jazz Records, who released his album Lasting Impression. Guest players on the album include Geoffrey Keezer and Josh Nelson (piano), Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet and flugelhorn), Ben Wendel (tenor sax and bassoon), Duncan Moore (drums), John Rekovics (alto flute), and Charlie Chavez (congas).

The diversity of these musicians strengthens his musical vision of creating a tapestry of sonic personalities and cultures through the music of recognized jazz greats (Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, George Gershwin, etc.), along with his own original compositions that echo the landscapes of Costa Rica.

The Rob Thorsen Trio (with Joshua White and Duncan Moore) recorded the Rob Thorsen Trio Live in late 2012 at the acoustically sumptuous Athenaeum Library, though it wasn't originally meant for general release. “I just stuck a Zoom H2 out in front, sometimes when you know the red light is on, it kind of restricts the creativity,” Thorsen remembers. “When I actually listened to it about three months later, it captured that certain kind of go-for-it attitude. I've done four or five studio records, but no live ones, and I realized there was this special kind of energy happening.”

His 2016 album Bass Is the Space was originally planned as a solo bass project, but he ended up settling on a format that blended solo tracks with a series of duos. “I had done trio and quartet records, and I felt like this was a good time in my life to make a solo record, but then I decided to add in some people and I ended up with four solo tracks and nine duets with some of my favorite players like Steph Johnson, Gilbert Castellanos, Joshua White, Fernando Gomez, and Marshall Hawkins. I love that duo setting because you still get all of the sonic purity, you can hear everything super clear. There’s a ton of interaction and you’re dealing with this conversationalist aspect.”

In January 2017, Thorsen embarked on a 300-mile off-road bicycle trek through Baja California.


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