Bass Summit IV at Dizzy's
Organizer and doublebass maestro Rob Thorsen presents the Fourth Annual Bass Summit on October 9 at Dizzy's.
San Diego is deep in doublebass talent. Four of the world's best players live here and three of them will be featured performers. Bob Magnusson is sitting this one out to allow the spotlight to shift to other bassists.
The other three are all icons in the bass world.
Chief among them is 79-year-old virtuoso Bert Turetzky, who has mentored most of the players performing on Sunday. Turetzky has traveled the world over as a classical bass soloist since making his NYC debut in 1964. More than 300 composers have written works for him to perform.
Turetzky is also a degreed music historian and one of the most recorded bassists in America. He is one of the major proponents of free-improvising in the jazz world and has played or recorded with many of that genre's most widely known musicians.
Since coming to San Diego in the early '70s to study with Turetzky, Mark Dresser has developed into one of the most astonishing players on the instrument. Dresser has recorded multiple solo bass CDs, and been a sideman on more than 100 recordings. He first came into international consciousness when he joined free-jazz icon Anthony Braxton's quartet in 1984, where he would spend the next nine years. Dresser is currently a professor of music at UCSD.
Marshall Hawkins has the kind of employment history that most players could only dream of. His first gig of note came with vocalist / pianist Shirley Horn in 1964. He also spent time accompanying a young Roberta Flack, but his standout gig came when trumpeter / bandleader Miles Davis hired him in 1968. Since then, he has toured and performed with saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Richie Cole. In 1986, he established the Jazz Studies program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.
This year, organizer Rob Thorsen will not be playing with the others inside of Dizzy's, again to free up space for other deserving bassists.
He will be co-leading a special pre-summit bass clinic at the Musicians Union, Local 325, located at 1717 Morena Blvd., in San Diego.
Thorsen and two other bassists with impressive classical music credentials, (Barry Green and Jory Herman, who are best known as Symphony musicians), will be presenting the clinic — open to all beginning and intermediate players — from 2–4 p.m. Herman will also be featured at the Bass Summit.
Gunnar Biggs studied with Turetzky and has a long résumé that includes work with drum legend Buddy Rich, pianist / vocalist Mose Allison, and guitarist Peter Sprague. Equally adept at all forms of jazz and classical music, Biggs has anchored the San Diego jazz scene for more than 30 years.
Susan Wulff is the associate principal bassist with the San Diego Symphony, and has been since 2004. She has also worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, and has performed with Willie Nelson, Julian Lennon, and Andrea Bocelli on The Tonight Show.
Evona Wascinski was born in Poland and moved to the U.S. at the age of seven. After experimenting with guitar, piano, and electric bass, Wascinski gravitated to the acoustic instrument. She has studied with both Turetzky and Dresser and is fluent in classical music, jazz and world music. She recently founded a trio with guitarist/vocalist Lorraine Castellanos and the amazing tap-percussionist Claudia Gomez-Vorce.
Jory Herman is a doublebassist and performance artist of orchestral, chamber, and solo works. He has also performed bluegrass, latin, jazz, funk, and world music in various ensembles.
Last, but hardly least, Noah Bailyn, is an 11-year-old bassist from Carlsbad. He's been studying with Turetzky for three years. Noah attends Orange County High School of the Arts, where he is both the youngest member and principal bassist in the Symphony Orchestra. He has already won several awards at the International Society of Bassists biennial solo competition, and, according to Thorsen, "He doesn't sound like no 11-year-old kid I ever heard."
The concert will feature pieces for multiple bass players and various configurations, accompanied by Joshua White on piano, Duncan Moore on drums, and Fernando Gomez on percussion.
The concert begins at 7 p.m., with a 6-7 p.m. pre-concert jam outside Dizzy's with three bassists, drums, and percussion.
Photo of Bert Turetzky by Michael Klayman; concert poster by Jamie Shadowlight