Gerald Veasley
Home Vital Data Projects Bass Bootcamp Merchandise Guestbook Links
 

 

Gerald Vesley Signature Bass

 

 

 

 

 

News Tour Multimedia Journal Contact

NEWS ARCHIVE

'Remembering Grover Washington Jr.'

Grover Washington Jr.

















Gerald, Eric Darius headline holiday tribute concert to late saxophonist
at Miller Center for the Arts on Friday, Dec. 11; tickets are on sale NOW!


The Berks Arts Council has scheduled a holiday concert to help kick off the 20th annual VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest.

And it is going to be a very special concert.

Gerald Veasley and his dynamic band, along with Eric Dariuscontemporary jazz saxophonist Eric Darius, will headline the "Remembering Grover Washington Jr." concert set for Friday, Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Miller Center for the Arts on the campus of Reading Area Community College located in downtown Reading.

Darius replaces Walter Beasley for the special show. Unexpected personal business prevented Beasley from honoring his commitment. However, Eric Darius was more than ready to step in to be part of the show.

Tickets are on sale NOW! Tickets are $40. All seats are reserved. Only 500 tickets are available for this concert.

December marks the 10th anniversary of Grover Washington Jr.'s passing.

The time was right for electric bassist Veasley, a longtime friend of Grover and member of his band, and the Berks Arts Council to collaborate and present a musical tribute to the legendary saxophonist from Philadelphia during the holiday season.

Not only will Veasley and Darius perform many of Grover's classic hits from a discography that boasts three decades of creative and heartfelt albums, they also will perform music from Grover's Grammy-nominated holiday CD Breath of Heaven.

Veasley's band will feature keyboardist Donald Robinson, who was musical director for Grover's band for many years, and saxophonist Chris Farr, musical director for Veasley's band.

"Remembering Grover Washington Jr." is going to be an outstanding kick-off event for the milestone 20th annual VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest!

Get Your 'Remembering Grover Washington Jr.' Tickets NOW!

CD Exchange, located in Mohnton, is the official box office for the "Remembering Grover Washington Jr." concert.
To get your tickets:
1) Call CD Exchange at 610-777-2310 to order by phone.
2) Stop by the CD Exchange, 360 E. Wyomissing Avenue, Mohnton, Pa., during regular business hours Tuesday through Saturday.
3) To order online, CLICK HERE


GERALD VEASLEY MAKES HIS MOVE ON NEW HEADS UP CD
Your Move set for worldwide release on March 11, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contemporary jazz bassist Gerald Veasley makes no claim to be a master chess player, but there are certain unmistakable parallels between his line of work and the small-scale war game that has challenged great minds for centuries. Like chess, Veasley sees music as a pursuit that involves a combination of strategy, quick thinking and even a bit of blind faith.

“There’s a multiplicity of decision making in the game of chess, and there are consequences to every action,” says Veasley. “In a lot of ways, making music is like that too. There are so many choices, especially in jazz, where the situation is never the same twice. That’s always exciting to me. You’re creating new scenarios at every turn – every time you step in front of an audience, or every time you step into the studio. That’s what drew me to this kind of music in the first place – the idea that it was always fresh, there was always an opportunity and a new challenge. Unlike chess, though, winning in jazz doesn’t mean someone else has to lose.”

That same combination of challenges, opportunities and win-win is at the heart of Your Move (HUCD 3130), Veasley’s new Heads Up International CD set for worldwide release on March 11, 2008. The album is the latest – and perhaps most innovative and audacious – maneuver in the game that Veasley has been playing since his early days as an up-and-coming musician in his native Philadelphia.

“After all those years, after all the records I’ve made, I’m really mindful of the fact that not just music but life in general is a lot like that too,” says Veasley. “There are so many decisions that you have to make. You get the best information you can, and then you take the next step. Sometimes you have to be willing to make a leap and take a chance. There are always situations where you have to be flexible and adjust, and you have to adjust quickly.”

Any good game involves more than one player, and Veasley has a couple collaborators on hand that make Your Move an intriguing gambit. Guitarist Chuck Loeb steps in as a formidable session player/producer and author or co-author of several tracks. Saxophonist and longtime Veasley band member Chris Farr also shares a few song credits.

The album opens with the infectious riff of “Hear Now!” a high-energy tune written and arranged by Loeb that serves as a somewhat rare showcase for Veasley’s technical chops. “When I’m the writer or the arranger, I usually think about more than just the bass,” says Veasley. “I tend to think about what’s best for the song in general, and what all the instruments will sound like together. But Chuck wanted me to have the chance to do one of those bass-in-your-face songs. This was my opportunity to show off a little bit.”

The easygoing “Slip ‘n’ Slide” includes some playful interplay between Veasley and Loeb, with a rock solid backbeat crafted by drummer Josh Dion.

“So Close to the Sun” showcases guest trumpeter John Swana and includes atmospheric layers from organist Peter Kuzma and vocalist Mikki Kornegay. “This song has a range of emotions,” says Veasley. “It’s actually a little bit melancholy in the beginning, but it has a very buoyant, triumphant flavor toward the end.”

The title track appears midway through the set, and the ease with which it came together in the studio is evident in the final playback. “’Your Move’ is one of those songs that, from the instant it starts, puts you in that frame of mind to just settle into your chair and enjoy the groove,” says Veasley. “It just feels right and sounds right. It was easy to work through when we were recording it. When a song comes together that effortlessly, you almost second-guess yourself. You find yourself asking, ‘Wow, could it really be that easy?’ The truth is, there’s a complexity to it, but it comes together so easily because of Chuck’s skills as a producer.”

“Three Tears” is a tribute to Veasley’s longtime friend Kip Boyer, who passed away earlier this year. Though understated and respectful, the track maintains an optimistic and even whimsical edge. “When I started writing it and recording it, I thought it would be this sort of sad-sounding song,” says Veasley. “I had intended to create this kind of solemn tribute, and it ended up being very hopeful. It had a beauty I didn’t expect. But then I realized, that was Kip. That was the essence of him.” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” is a unique take on the Sly & The Family Stone classic from 1970. “Being a lover of soul music and growing up in that era, I just see Sly Stone as the quintessential master of funk. I welcome any opportunity to tip my hat to him, and I think I’ve managed to capture some of the lighthearted spirit of the original tune.” The set ends on a romantic note, with “Roxanne’s Dance,” Veasley’s musical tribute to his wife – the life partner with whom he makes every move. “My quest with this record was to tap into an emotional core,” he says. “I’m trying to make music about those aspects of life that are common to all of us. There’s a certain rhythm to life, regardless of what you do for a living. There are experiences you have every day – certain moves that you make – with your spouse, your kids, your colleagues, whomever. A lot of those experiences are universal, and I’m trying to bring some of them to light.”

The pieces are all in place on Gerald Veasley’s newest CD. Listen to Your Move and follow his next step in the game.


Here's an article you may not have seen about the Jazz Base, my live cd and other topics.

http://www.smoothviews.com/interviews/veasley0806.htm


Here's a review of At The Jazz Bass by Pop Matters At The Jazz Base receives 7 ads on Smooth Jazz.com right out of the box!  Thanks to the programmers who started spinning this record before the official release date.


GV's Virtual Street Team

Do you want to help spread the word about Gerald's music and special projects? Become a member of the GV's Virtual Street Team, and create a buzz in the jazz scene. As a member, you will receive a Street Team T-shirt, be the first to hear news and get the latest photos and other exclusives from GV.

Click Here To Join Today!


Audiophile Audition calls At the Jazz Bass, "consistently lively, upbeat and groovin'-a great addition to Veasley's already impressive jazz/fusion catalog."

http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=483
 

Here's a piece from Jazz Review.com

http://www.jazzreview.com/article/review-4204.html


 

Check out this All About Jazz.com review of At the Jazz Base. The writer calls it a "superb album".


August  This is an important and urgent request from Susan Brecker on behalf of her husband, the great saxophonist, Michael Brecker.    Please help, if you can.

FROM: Susan Brecker
SUBJECT: Michael Brecker needs your help.


Dear Family and Friends,

My husband, Michael Brecker, has been diagnosed with MDS
(myelodysplastic syndrome), and its critical that he undergoes a stem
cell transplant. The initial search for a donor (including Michael's
siblings and children) has not yet resulted in a suitable match.
Michael's doctors have told us that we need to immediately explore ALL
possible options. This involves getting as many people of a similar
genetic background to be tested.

There are some important points to understand concerning this process:

1. The screening involves a blood test only. It can be done very
quickly either at a marrow donation center or at a LOCAL LAB. The cost
is anywhere from $40 to $75 and your insurance may cover it.  (In NYC,
you can call Frazier, at the NY Blood Bank, at 212-570-3441, and make
an appointment for HLA typing.  It costs $40.00.)  Check with your
local blood bank, or go to http://www.marrow.org to find the donor
center nearest you.

2. Your blood typing information can be posted on the international
registry, if you choose, where it would also be available to others in
need of a transplant. BEING ON THE REGISTRY DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO
DONATE, it just means that you may be ASKED to do so. You can take your
name off the registry at any time.

3.  Should you be selected as a potential donor for Michael,  please
understand that there have been tremendous advances in bone marrow
transplants and the term itself can be misleading.  Bone marrow
donation is no more invasive than giving blood.  Stem cells are simply
harvested from your blood and then transplanted to Michael.

4.  A match for Michael would be most likely to come from those of Eastern
European Jewish descent. If you or anyone you know are in this category
please make a special effort to immediately get tested. Ultimately, you
would be doing something not just for Michael, but for so many more who
are in a similar situation as my husband.

5. You are now part of our internet-based drive for donor testing. If
everyone who receives this can motivate a bunch of their friends to get
tested, and those friends then forward this email to get their friends
to get tested, we will have rapidly expanded the pool of potential
donors. I urge all of you to get tested AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Any local blood center/Red Cross center can assist in organizing a
drive for Michael, although it would be desirable if you can get a
large group, e.g. a synagogue, to sponsor it. Should you have any
questions about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch with
Michael's management office at 212.302.9200 or info@michaelbrecker.com.

Thank you so much for your love and support.

We are so grateful.


Susan xo



Michael Brecker is 56 and an internationally renowned jazz musician. As
a result of his harmonic innovations, Michael is among the most studied
contemporary instrumentalists in music schools throughout the world
today. Michael has played on hundreds of albums with artists ranging
from Herbie Hancock to James Taylor, from Paul Simon to Frank Zappa to
Quincy Jones, Chet Baker and Bruce Springsteen---and on and on. As a
leader and co-leader of The Brecker Brothers (with Randy Brecker) and
Directions in Music (with Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove), Michael has
received 11 Grammy Awards ,more than any saxophonist, ever. For further
information, go to http://www.michaelbrecker.com
 

Check out this E-card for the At The Jazz Base CD.
Please pass along to a friend!


July 2005   This is a great review of the Chuck Loeb show at the Jazz Base written by Beverly Packard for smoothvibes.com:   http://www.smoothvibes.com/movabletype/archives/000461.html

Chuck is one of my favorite guitarists/composers/producers.  Check him out at www.chuckloeb.com.  By the way, he'll be guesting with my band November 12 at the Cape May Jazz Festival (www.capemayjazz.com). 

The schedule for the fall festival hasn't been posted yet, but stay tuned.  In this online review, Karl Lozier calls At The Jazz Base "a gem of contemporary jazz recordin".  http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue19/telarcjazz.htm
  


June, 2005
 
Here's another review - this one by Mike Varney at ContemporaryJazz.com   http://www.contemporaryjazz.com/reviews/GeraldVealsey.html
   

Great reviews of "At The Jazz Base" are already coming in.  Check this one out:   http://www.smooth-jazz.de/firstview/Veasley/AtTheJazzBase.htm   It's very rewarding when somebody really captures the intent of one of my recordings.  This reviewer got it!    Do me a favor, spread the word.
 


I've published another article.  This latest one is about The Funk Brothers, the great musicians who were the subject of the film, Standing in the Shadows of Motown.  Look in the July/August issue of Jazz Times magazine.  It's the one with Wes Montgomery on the cover.  Coincidentally, Wes Montgomery is the first jazz musician I tried to emulate as a kid.
 


 

Here's another article about the BBC experience from a camper's perspective.  It mentions Victor Wooten's Bass/Nature Camp and Steve Bailey's Bass at the Beach, as well.  One thing we all have in common is our desire to share our knowledge with bassists, who become our best ambassadors to the bass community.    Thanks, Keith.

Mel Bay's Bass Sessions® | Keith White - Bass Bootcamp | June 2005

This is an online article by one of our 2005 Bass BootCamp students.  There is no way I could introduce it and do it justice.  I just read it and I am deeply moved.  You have to read it for yourself.

S.K. Wallace - Reading Gerald Veasley's Mail | June 2005


June, 2005

Part of the mission of the Bass BootCamp is "to inform and inspire". To that end, I always include discussions in the camp about issues that will make the BBC participants think. As a result, many of them end up taking a step toward changing limiting, defeatist attitudes. It is my view that as musicians (and as people) we tend to "drive with the brakes on" - an apt metaphor for a self-imposed limitation.

I was asked by Bass Player magazine to submit an article for it's "Soapbox" section. This was prime opportunity to share with a larger audience some of the ideas we discuss at the Bass BootCamp.

The subject of the article is competition. I think you'll find it interesting. Look for the June issue of Bass Player magazine. Let me know what you think.


Check out the article entitled "Portrait of Jaco" in the June issue of Jazz Times. This piece, written by Bill Milkowski, is about the legacy of Jaco Pastorius and a tribute concert in his honor (June 22, Beacon Theater, NYC). The article features some quotes by yours truly about Jaco, a musician who left an indelible mark on me.

By the way, I will be featured on this JVC Jazz Festival along with Christian McBride, Victor Wooten, Oteil Burbridge, Steve Bailey and other Jaco loving bassists. Check it out: www.jvc.com


May, 2005
 

Live CD: "At The Jazz Base"
Today I am listening to the finished version of the live recording of my band. It has been a labor of love working on this CD, which I believe is my truest work yet. At The Jazz Base really captures the excitement and spontaneity of my great band. It also is not limited by the usual restrictions of time and arrangements.  When you hear the recording, you'll hear us just "going for it". Thanks to you the fans, after all, you asked for it!  At The Jazz Base will be released July 26th, 2005. 

By the way what's the Jazz Base?
It's my very own club!  Every Thursday we present music at the Jazz Base which is in the Sheraton Reading.  It's not only a great place for me to present my band and other special projects where I can stretch out, it's also an excellent venue for regional and national acts. This summer, we'll host concerts by Chuck Loeb, Nick Collione, Acoustic Alchemy, and a special CD release party for the release of my latest CD.  The date? June 30th!  For more information, visit www.geraldveasleysjazzbase.com.

VANQUI
Recently, I worked with Leslie Burrs on a concert version of his opera Vanqui. We performed it in Lowell, Massachusetts under the inspired direction of conductor Dr. Kay Roberts. It was a wonderful performance of some of the most stunning music from the opera that includes elements of classical, gospel and jazz music.

A full version of the opera with: vocal soloists, a sixty voice choir, chamber orchestra, jazz quartet, sets, and costumes will be presented on May 7 at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia.

BASS BOOTCAMP
This was our most inspirational BBC yet!  It featured an awesome bass jam at my club, the Jazz Base.  Bassist after bassist got up and performed for a packed house. There were great workshops and masterclasses by, Anthony Wellington, Bakithi Kumalo, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Willis and drummer Groove instructor, Richard Waller. One of my personal faves, though was a surprise presentation by "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown" producer, Allan Slutsky.


MUSIC LAB
This one-on-one interview show is both informative and entertaining and provides an insight into the creative minds of great musicians. Since the inaugural taping of Music Lab with Joe Sample, I've had the pleasure of hosting shows featuring R&B great Michael McDonald, slide guitar master Sonny Landreth, amazing bassist Oteil Burbridge, and saxophonist, composer from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Jeff Coffin.  Stay tuned, there will be an announcement coming soon about the national broadcast of the Music Lab series.

MEMORABLE CONCERTS
Over the last couple of weeks, I've had an amazing array of musical experiences.  It's not often I get to hear great music live but this has been an inspiring period.   Here's who I've heard in concert recently: Little Jimmy Scott, Lalah Hathaway, Joe Sample, The Blue Notes, The Stylistics, Anglela Bofill, Miki Howard, Floetry, Marion Meadows, Jaguar Wright.  Meanwhile, I performed with Phil Perry, jammed with Victor Wooten and backed up a "cast of thousands" at the Cape May Jazz Festival Jazz Jam.   I have to say - I attended one of my favorite concerts of all time last week.  It was the night I heard Dianne Reeves at the Kimmel Center here in Philadelphia.  She was simply sublime. At times she soared through the music with unbelievable finesse and at other times she was passionate and earthy. Inspiring.   What about your favorite concert?  Is there one that stands out in your memory?  Sign in the guest book and let me know who inspired you - let me know about a musical event that may have changed your life. 
 


November, 2004

Joe Sample was in town recently and I had the honor of interviewing him for a workshop at World Cafe Live.  Tom Emmi, the creator and producer of the BET Jazz program, "Studio Jams", is producing a new series called "Music Lab".  Music Lab will be shown at schools and will provide an in depth look into the lives and art of great musicians.  My interview of Joe Sample was the pilot for the series, and what an excellent choice of subject he was!  For many years, he's provided a living example of a great artistic life as composer, musician, bandleader, and recording artist.  Joe Sample was very engaging, gracious and willing to share his knowledge.  The afternoon I spent listening to wonderful stories from a true master will be a treasured memory.   For more information on World Cafe Live, visit http://www.worldcafelive.com/   For more information on Studio Jams, visit http://www.studiojams.com/

May, 2004

What's on your "turntable" right now? If you're like me, you haven't used an actual turntable in a long time. I just like saying "turntable." It reminds me of the old days of vinyl records and album covers with great art and insightful liner notes. Oh well, time marches on...

So, I'm really asking about the music that you are listening to on your CD player, computer, MP3 player or other modern media device. What music has grabbed you recently? Every now and then a musical performance creeps into your soul and changes your life. Or sometimes music just makes you forget about your problems for a day. Which recordings have made a difference in your life recently? It could be the work of a ground breaking new artist or an old favorite that you listen to again and again.

Take a moment to share your current ear candy in my guestbook. In the meantime, here's my list (Five Faves) to get the ball rolling:

Fresh - Sly and the Family Stone
Salt - Lizz Wright
Enroute - John Scofield Trio Live
Musicology - Prince
Everlasting Life - Kim Burrell

Special thanks to Lee Mergner for making sure I stay up to date with new music!


October, 2003

One of the things I enjoy apart from music is the company of a good book. I love books that inspire, challenge, or tug at my heartstrings. Here's a list of books (in no particular order) that mean the most to me:

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Long Walk to Freedom, The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
  • Q, The Autobiography of Quincy Jones
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (my favorite author)
  • The Art of Possibility by Rosumund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
  • The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green
  • Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • The Color of Water by James McBride
  • Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (or anything else written by Kurt Vonnegut)

I would love to hear about your favorite books, send me a message in the Guestbook.


September, 2003

Over the past few months I've had the opportunity to jam with Larry Carlton, Pat Martino, Bela Fleck, and Joey DeFrancesco. These jam sessions (as well as others) have been documented by director Tom Emmy as "Studio Jams".  Recorded at Philly's legendary Sigma Sound Studios, these sessions show musicians creating spontaneous, engaging musical arrangements.

I had a great time hanging out with some of my favorite musicians and communicating through the language of music. Kudos to Tom Emmy and his crew for making it happen.

The good news: Studio Jams are now being shown on BET on Jazz. The bad news: there are still some areas where you can't get BET on Jazz. Suggestion: call your local cable provider and demand it!

Meanwhile, you can check out this story about Studio Jams at Jazz Times' website.


July 14

Lookout for an exciting new tribute to Jaco Pastorius! I am honored to have played on Jaco Pastorius Big Band Word of Mouth Revisited, which features a who's who of the bass world: Victor Bailey, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten. The big band itself is tight under the direction of longtime Jaco collaborator, Peter Graves.

Jaco was a major influence on my development as a musician, and so it is especially gratifying to be included on this project that honors his legacy.

The CD is on the Heads Up International label and will be released late August.


May, 2003
The Velvet CD, I'm pleased to say is being received warmly by fans and music writers alike. Here is an in-depth interview with Baldwin "Smitty" Smith from The Jazz Nation, a web-based magazine. Enjoy!


April 24, 2003

Gerald Veasley Nominated- Bassist of The Year
The 4th Annual National Smooth Jazz Awards has nominated Gerald for Bassist of The Year.

To vote go to:  www.nationalsmoothjazzawards.com

April 23, 2003

Travis Smiley Interviews Gerald Veasley on The Travis Smiley Show
If you missed, Click Here:

April 22, 2003

BASSIST GERALD VEASLEY LAYS DOWN THE SEDUCTIVE FABRIC OF VELVET

"What's old is new again." It's an expression we've all heard. In simple terms, it means the good stuff is timeless, and it will always survive and eventually resurface, no matter how many years go by or how much clutter might get in the way.

Bassist Gerald Veasley knows. He grew up with the good stuff - the seminal urban grooves of the '70s that served as the backdrop to his creative awakening. "That was a time when I was kind of coming into my own as a musician, starting to really take music seriously, and there were all these great sounds around," he recalls. "Music right about that time was starting to get very, very funky, and people were taking a lot of chances. There weren't a lot of constraints in radio."

Veasley's richly textured new recording that evokes the sound and spirit of those formative years when innovators like Sly & the Family Stone, Earth Wind and Fire and George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic turned the traditions of R&B and soul on their head and redefined the urban sound.

Combine these potent ingredients from decades past with the sounds and sensibilities of contemporary urban music, process them through Veasley's musically rich Philadelphia upbringing, and the result is a unique instrumental perspective on the burgeoning movement that is now called neo-soul.

With Velvet, his sixth solo effort on Heads Up, Veasley maintains an unmistakably progressive sensibility with the help of some of today's brightest ascending stars.

Among the young luminaries are fellow Philadelphian Jaguar Wright, who provides some sexually charged lead and backing vocals on the stirring Curtis Mayfield cover, "Let's Do It Again," and John Stephens, who also lends his pipes to the same track, as well as the gently rhythmic ballad "Summer Kiss."

Other guests include vocalists Mikki Kornegay and Warren Cooper, who both step up to the mic on the sensual "It's Alright." Guitarist Randy Bowland adds layers of texture to "Let's Do It Again," "Velvet" and the heartfelt "Home," while Hammond organists Benji Porecki ("Bread Puddin'" and "Forever") and Michael Aharon ("Do You Remember") bring the shimmer that's such a vital component of the urban sound - regardless of what decade it comes from.

And then there's Veasley's usual crew, each with a star power all his own: Chris Farr, who handles tenor and soprano sax; Will Brock and Mark Knox on keyboards; and co-producer Richard Waller III on drums and percussion.

Helping Veasley hold it all together on the two neo-soul vocal tracks is producer Herb Middleton, whose credits include work with Will Smith, Al Green, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Kenny Lattimore.

Veasley's latest effort is a place where old school meets new school. Drop this one into the changer and hear the best of both worlds - the classic as well as the contemporary.

Dig the feel of Velvet.


December, 2002

To all my friends - I wish you a joyous holiday season. I'm looking forward to enjoying time with my family after having spent the last three months working on a new CD while juggling teaching and touring.

First, regarding family, my daughter T.J. is living up to the song "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth". She has made a fortune off the tooth fairy. Am I the only one who remembers when you used to get a dime from the tooth fairy? Ah, the good old days.

Roxanne is somehow handling running Flying Vee Music, working part time as a career services rep, organizing the upcoming Bass Bootcamp and doing all the Christmas shopping and decorating. Ah, the life of a musician's wife (and business partner).

I had fun seeing Kyle and his family over the Thanksgiving Holidays. Many of you know that my son is the program director of an excellent radio station - WEAA in Baltimore. Ah, the benefits of having relatives in high places.

Vanessa is coming home from Atlanta for her mad holiday dash through Philadelphia. If you see her, tell her that her father said hi. Ah, the joys of fatherhood.

On the music business front, I'm very excited about the upcoming release of my new CD - VELVET. It is the strongest music I've ever recorded. It mostly features my longtime friends and band members - Richard Waller III (who also co-produced the album), Chris Farr, Mark Knox and Will Brock.

Added to the mix are some new friends - Jaguar Wright, a true soul singer who gives one of the most inspired vocal performances I've ever heard and John Stephens, who is a undoubtedly a future star.

We are offering our third Bass Bootcamp March 21st 22 and 23, 2003 in Reading, PA. Once again we are partnering with The Berk's Jazz Festival to present a weekend of workshops, performances and master classes for serious minded bassists of all levels. Instructors include Gary Willis, Victor Bailey, Michael Manring, Doug Wimbish and for the first time Brian Bromberg. For more information visit www.geraldveasley.com.

If anyone hasn't solidified their New Year's Eve plans, I have a suggestion, spend it with us at Zanzibar Blue in Philly. We're going to unveil some of the new material form VELVET featuring Jill Scott's horn section - Jeff Bradshaw and Matt Cappy. On the weekend preceding New Years Eve (December 27th and 28th) you can also see us at Zanzibar Blue. On The 27th we'll have a special guest - saxophonist Eddie Bacchus Jr. from Pieces of a Dream. For more information call 215-732-5200.

Finally, from my family to yours, we wish you health and prosperity in the New Year. In spite of all the setbacks we may have in our lives, we are truly fortunate. We are here. Breathing, thinking, planning, loving, living. As long as we're here there is a chance. May God bless you.

Sincerely,

Gerald Veasley


February, 2002

You may notice the glaring gap between September and February on this page. It's not because there hasn't been anything new to report. Certainly, there's been a lot going on. Here's the top five events that I'd like to share with you:

1) Starting with the most obvious, September 11th turned our world upside down. Personally, I went through the gamut of emotions since that day - shock, fear, anger, grief. Then finally, I felt encouraged by the stories of heroism, unity, and grace shown by the people of this nation.

2) From the agony to the ecstasy - found out that Rox and I are having a baby. Now finally Taylor, our 5 year old, will have someone to look up to her. She already looks up to Kyle and Vanessa, her older brother and sister who are (sigh) both grown and living too far away to be playmates.

3) I was pleased to find out I was nominated as "Bassists of the Year" by the National Smooth Jazz Awards. If you'd like to cast your vote, you can do it online at nationalsmoothjazzawards.com

By the way, my good friends Pieces of a Dream recieved a well deserved nomination for "Group Of The Year". Voting ends February 10th. Spread the word.

4) Recorded with the wonderful Nnena Freelon. She's a classy lady with tremendous talent and vision. We worked on an album produced by the unflappable John Snyder in NY. Ironically, the repertoire is from the Stevie Wonder songbook. In 1999, I recorded a Grammy nominated album with the Dixie Hummingbirds that featured a performance and song by Stevie - "Have A Talk With God". That album was also produced by John Snyder. Then, when I began working on "On The Fast Track" I decided to re-do Stevie's "Do I Do", which has turned out to be quite successful. Hmmm.

5) Moved forward in planning the Bass Bootcamp, a weekend of workshops for bassists, March 15th to 17th. We now have confirmed our roster of instructors - Victor Bailey, Michael Manring, and Doug Wimbish. My fellow instructors and I intend to challenge Bootcamp bassis students to reach for the next level. For registration information, click on Gerald Veasley's Bass Bootcamp on this website's home page.

P.S. Here's the "Memorable Gig Story" I wrote for Jazz Times Magazine which was published in November:

Jazz musicians are notorious name droppers. Most of their collections of memories involve having done "such and such" with "so and so". I'm no exception. I'm not ashamed to admit that much of what I remember easily about my career are stories resulting from sharing the stage or tour bus with jazz legends. The biggest legend in my collection (and the funniest) is Dizzy Gillespie.

While I never played in his band, I seemed to cross Dizzy's unmistakable path periodically. When I misplaced my passport in Vienna, it was Dizzy who called the State Department in Washington to try to help me. When the Grammy Living Legends show honored Quincy Jones by assembling a group (including me - the unabashed name dropper) to play Joe Zawinul's "Birdland", who was on trumpet? Dizzy, of course.

I once played with him in a jam session in Japan. During my bass solo on "Round Midnight", he picked the quietest moment to clear the saliva from his horn. "Splat!" The audience cracked up at my shocked expression and Dizzy's feigned regret. Great musicians do have perfect timing.

My favorite Dizzy story, however, involves not a gig, but a train ride.

I'm on a train in Japan with Zawinul's band plus (big plus) Dizzy who is seated across from me. It's too early to have had breakfast, so I remark, "man I'm hungry". Dizzy produces a briefcase and in James Bond - like fashion pulls out of it the biggest peach I've ever seen in my life. Without a word, he holds it out to me and I take it because I'm hungry and it's from Dizzy. Juice is dripping everywhere and the gentlemanly percussionist, Bobby Thomas, who is seated next to me, is embarrassed beyond belief. Too hungry to care, I chew that thing down to the pit. Of course, the Japanese don't create trash, so there are no trash receptacles anywhere on the train. I've got this pit and no where decent to put it. Bobby's embarassed, I'm embarassed, God only knows what the Japanese are thinking. Dizzy rolls his eyes in mock disgust and without saying a word, puts the briefcase on his lap and opens it again.

He pulls out a handkerchief and motions for me to put it in the handkerchief. What else can I do? I place the pit in the hand of one of the architects of bebop, who wraps it up, places it in the briefcase, closes the briefcase and sets it back on the floor as if this is the most natural thing in the world.

I think Bobby Thomas laughed harder than I did.


September 2001

ON THE WRITTEN PAGE

JAZZ TIMES

I was asked by Jazz Times Magazine to contribute a "memorable gig story". What they were looking for was a humorous road story like the kind that musicians tell among each other. My creative juices startied flowing immediately. I came up with a few ideas that the editor, Christopher Porter thought were really funny. There was the one about me jumping off a stage in New York in the heat of the moment and the painfully funny results; or the time a Grover tour bus turned into an inferno, and three other story ideas.

The editor couldn't decide so he left it up to me to choose which story I thought I could "knock out of the park". I chose to write about a great experience I had in the presence of the great Dizzy Gillespie. I won't give it away here, (Awwwh) but you can look for it in the November issue of Jazz Times.

Meanwhile, sharing this type of story has inspired me to dig into my memory banks of 20 years of touring. I'm going to publish those gig stories here on my website. Look soon for what I hope will be funny, irreverent or inspiring recollections of life on the road.

BASSICS

Volume #28 of Bassics will feature a piece about the new CD, "On The Fast Track". It will also include a transcription of the song, "Under The Cape Town Sun" which can also be heard on the Bassics CD sampler accompanying the magazine.

"Cape Town" was inspired by the music of that gorgeous South African town which I visited twice. Cape Town is also the home of the great singer/ guitarist Johnathan Butler. Inspired by Johnathan, I performed this piece on an Ibanez five string acoustic electric bass which I think enabled me to capture al organic, "global village" type sound. This instrument has become a important voice for me and now I play it every day. It won't replace "Honey", my beloved six string electric (shown on the CD label) but it's getting close to my heart. And you thought instruments were inanimate objects!


August 2001

Ten Tidbits From Radio Land

Lot's of good news on the radio front for "On The Fast Track":

1 - Single, "Do I Do" has topped the New and Active R&R chart.

2 - On August 4th, my band and I performed "The In Crowd" live on The Doug and Lorna show on WHUR in Washington D.C. Apparently this song has come full circle, since, according to my friend Lee Mergner. D.C. is where the signature Ramsey Lewis version was recorded live.

3 - "On The Fast Track" was new CD featured on John Chung's radio show - Touch of Jazz on KBLX in Oakland. Touch of Jazz is a very tastefully programmed Sunday morning show (no, I'm not partial!).

4 - On September 28th, the show "Harlem After Midnight" on WHCR will salute me by playing nearly an hour of my music. I'm honored to say the least!

5 - I heard from a very reliable source that Stevie Wonder heard my cover of his "Do I Do" on KTWV in LA and loved it. I could walk on clouds.

6 - "Do I Do" is in power rotation in New York's WQCD (CD 101). Yeah!

7- Had fun live interview with the very cool and engaging Madison on Detroit's WVMV at my August 5th Elizabeth Park show. Also, had the opportunity to chat with one of my favorite musicians, Joe Sample.

8 - August 6th performance of my Electric Mingus Project was broadcast live by WRTI in Philadelphia.

9- WJJZ in Philadelphia (the first station to play "Do I Do") is putting the finishing touches on album release party for "On The Fast Track" where else - but on an AMTRAK train! For details, keep and eye on the projects page.

10) Congratulations to flutist and WVMV on air personality Alexander Zonjic on the release of his new recording for Heads Up. It's called "Reach for the Sky" and it is beautiful.

If you like "On The Fast Track", but you haven't heard anything from it on your favorite radio station, you hereby have my permission to call the station and (politely) request it.

What are you still reading for? Call the station. Pretty please.


July, 2001

I just finished a great weekend of dates this past weekend with Pieces Of A Dream. We played three outdoor shows as headliners in Springfield, Mass., Atlantic City, NJ and on the Camden, NJ waterfront. Last nights show in Camden was especially cool - in front of practically a hometown crowd (Camden is across the Delaware river from Philly) of about 4000 people. Pieces and I both share Philadelphia roots, so playing for that audience probably had a comfort level for all of us that's hard to beat. In spite of Philadelphia's reputation for being a tough audience, (the recent booing of Destiny's Child during the NBA finals and the oft mentioned booing of Santa Claus at an Eagle's Game) I've found Philly fans to be just as vocal in their approval as in their disapproval.

Last night's show for example, was a "Lovefest". The audience was not content to sit back in the uphill lawn seating. A few folks, came to the front of the stage as the concert started with the new Pieces single, "Are You Ready". I expected them to take a few snapshots and return to the grassy area. But you know how it is when family comes over - they get comfortable. The few in front grew to probably a hundred by the time the last note to "Fo-Fi-Fo" was sounded.

It was great. It's nice to play in front of a big audience and it's also great to be in a small club. The first setting offers an electric energy, the second an incomparable intimacy. Last night was the best of both worlds. We were able to PLAY BIG - the way bands do when there's a large number of people checking them out. "Playing big" (my own expression) means big in terms of showmanship, sound, selections of songs, attitude, etc., It's an approach that's necessary when there are huge numbers of faceless fans with whom you need to connect.

Yet with a crowd directly in front as well, we were also able to make eye contact the way you can in a little jazz club. Imagine also seeing people that you know down front - spurring you on.

Not that this band needs much encouragement. It's one of the most energetic and musically satisfying shows I've seen in contemporary jazz. OK, maybe I'm being a bit partial, but next time we're in town, you be the judge.


July, 2001

My latest CD, "On The Fast Track", is being received well. I'm thankful that I had the benefit of the talents of my band members: Mark Knox, Butch Reed, and Chris Farr. This has been my loyal, hard working group for the last few years, so it was great utilizing their services as opposed to using "hired guns" (ie. studio musicians or guest artists). We have a great rapport that I think comes through on my new CD. Also, the extended family of musicians lended a hand: Will Brock, Donald Robinson, Randy Bowland, John Swana, Tony Miceli, Ted Thomas, Charles Baldwin, Matt Cappy, and Jeff Bradshaw. Once again, these are musicians that I have a history with and I believe that it makes a difference.

The production team of Richard Waller III, John Anthony and myself was still intact for "On The Fast Track". We have developed an effortless working relationship. In the studio, we have to actually say very little to each other. We know the result we're going for and we know when we've achieved it. I'm very thankful to work with people who understand my musical vision and in whom I can place a great deal of trust.

Thanks to the hard work of my label Heads Up, combined with the efforts of the creative/technical folks mentioned above, the CD is doing well. In fact, the first single, an interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do" was the #1 most added single in smooth jazz radio in it's first week of release. Listeners have taken to the upbeat funky grooves, tight horn section performances and soulful soloists on the CD. I generally am not influenced by the opinions of reviewers (whether positive or not) but I must admit to being flattered by Karl Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer saying "the grooves come from a deep place". I think they do. Most important, however, is your opinion. Check out "On The Fast Track" and tell me what YOU think!


April 30, 2001

I've finished my new record - "On The Fast Track". I feel exhilarated and satisfied about the results of my labor.


February 11, 2001

Today I took another step toward completing my latest CD project for Heads Up Records- the photo shoot.  I have to admit, this is usually the most difficult part for me.  I don't know how models develop the patience to take roll after roll film to get the perfect shot.  I'm a great deal more comfortable putting in 12 to 16 hours a day creating the music.  This particular shoot went very well thanks to a great photographer John Secoges, art director - Robert Hoffman, my manager Paul Silverthorn and my wife and erstwhile stylist Roxanne.  I'm anxious to see what I think will be great photos for the CD.

As I'm writing this, it's about 10:30 on a Sunday night and in a sense, the second half of my day is about to start.  I'm going to go in my studio - The Soul Lab, and put some finishing touches on the opening song for the record.  It's a tune I call "On The Fast Track" - an upbeat song that conjures the image of a morning train headed downtown.  The song features Chris Farr, the brilliant young saxophonist from my band and Tony Miceli (a great vibes player who can also be heard in my other band - The Electric Mingus Project).

Tomorrow, Richard Waller will mix "On The Fast Track" for an international sampler that will include songs from other Heads Up artists.  Richard has great ears and is sort of my alter ego.  Our musical tastes are very similar - sometimes it seems as though we're reading each other's minds.  It's great to have that kind of relationship with a creative partner.

For a few days, I'll actually have a bit of breathing room from the album.  I'm going to Japan and Hawaii.  I'll be playing with Pieces of A Dream (who just completed their latest Heads Up release).  Playing with this great group will give me a chance to not only have a change of scenery but will allow me to come back to my music with a fresh perspective.  Who knows, maybe there will even be an eastern influence creeping into my "urban progressive" music.  Stay tuned.

 

All rights reserved | Site design and hosting by Reading Eagle Company Internet Services.