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Contrabass or Double Bass

The double bass is a good string instrument to learn, it's fun to play, and is versatile enough to be welcomed in many different kinds of ensemble. Not only that, but good double bass players are always in demand!

The double bass looks a bit like a giant violin, although it’s actually descended from an older form of instrument called the viol. If you look at a violin and a double bass together, you’ll see that the double bass has sloping shoulders instead of very round shoulders like the violin or cello (although those rounded shoulders would definitely get in the way if you tried to play a double bass that had them!). A double bass has four thick steel strings tuned to E below the bass clef, then A, D and G. The bow is different to the one used with a cello, too. It’s shorter and heavier. Like a violin, though, you rub the rosined bow across the strings to make the sound, and make different notes by stopping the strings against the fingerboard with the fingers of your left hand.

The way the bow is used is also different for bass players than for other string musicians. The bow is short and heavy, and more attention is given to the "bite" of the bow (the way it digs into the string, grips it and then releases it to start the note) rather than the more gentle stroking motion of the other strings. Bassists also have to pluck the strings (called "pizzicato") more often than other string players.

Double bass players can find themselves playing in all sorts of ensembles. They are essential in orchestras, are used on the bass line in a wind band, and are vital to traditional jazz bands. They can also be found in most other types of jazz group, and are even used in folk and pop groups. The bass can be easily amplified using a little microphone fixed to its woodwork.

It’s best to start double bass lessons when you are at least 11 or 12 years old, although some people come to the instrument quite late. Although the size of the instrument can seem daunting, it is possible to get double basses in a number of sizes.

It’s common to start on a reasonably easily managed 1/2 size bass, although there is actually a smaller "mini-bass" available. A 3/4 size bass, on the other hand, should last the rest of your educational life, and some players actually choose to stick with this size bass rather than upgrading to a full-size bass, as these can be very big and hard to manage. If you are very small you may find that you need a big stool to help you reach the fingerboard comfortably.
Some people choose to stand behind or beside their bass while they play, rather than using a stool, but most teachers don't like this as it can lead to an awkward left hand shape which can inhibit the fingering action over time. If you can play sitting on a tall stool with the instrument leaning between your legs, then do so. You’ll also need to buy or make something to hold the instrument’s spike to prevent it slipping or damaging the floor. And get yourself a good stool straight away. An adjustable bar stool can be a good option while you are growing. These have big wooden screw mechanisms and can be bought quite cheaply from big furniture chains such as Ikea.
Double bass music is written in the bass clef, like the left hand of the piano.
It’s possible to buy a new 1/2 or 3/4 size "student" quality double bass from about £500. But really good instruments can cost thousands of pounds. In the mean time, it’s a good idea to borrow or rent a bass while you work out just how much you love it!  The only real problem you might have with taking up the double bass is that it’s not the easiest of instruments to carry about. You will need someone with a car who is willing to help you transport it. A big car would be ideal, because you’ll be carrying not just the bass but also your bow, stool and music, but a double bass will also fit into a smaller car with patience and practice!

How is the Double Bass tuned?

Most double basses today have four strings and are tuned in fourths: E – A – D – G. The tuning in fourths makes the double bass different from all other modern string instruments.

It was inevitable that the interval between open strings would be smaller than on other stringed instruments as the distance between notes on such a large instrument is much greater. Sometimes there is a fifth string on a double bass and this is tuned most commonly to B¢ and sometimes C¢. This extra string which some conductors require in orchestras means that every note the cello plays can be doubled an octave lower on the double bass adding a great richness to the sonority of the orchestra. Some double basses have a special lever that can lower the E¢ string down to a C¢ when required.

Part of the reason for the double bass’s tuning evolving in the way it did has to do with its ancestry. The double bass’s ancestor was the violone which has six strings, whose tuning in the early 17th century was D× – G – C – E – A – D (though it should be noted that stating any tuning as standard for the double bass at this time would be wrong as there were almost as many tunings as instruments).  In time the number of strings was halved to three, and these three-stringed instruments could still be found in the 18th century. They were tuned to A – D – G or G – D – G.

Double Bass Strings  - Gut, Wire Wound or Nylon - Covered?

Gut strings do require a little maintenance, it is advisable to gently clip any "hairs" (hair-like little strands of gut that that develop with play) and oil them (walnut oil, most pure vegetable oils can do) for the longest life, if you are in a dry climate or go through dry periods. But if you want the sound of vintage, all-natural bass try Gut Strings.  The wound A/E set which has metal windings to achieve the mass necessary for the lower notes without the larger diameter- they have been made this way for centuries.

Nylon Double Bass Strings provide the warm tone of gut double bass strings but strings are unaffected by varying humidity or temperature.

Black Tape Double Bass Strings are a great soft and playable double bass string that is similar to gut double bass strings. they have a  strong bottom and response. These upright bass strings are in many ways produced  like the Labella Supernil strings but have a smoother wrap and a closer feel to steel double bass strings. These double bass strings are black nylon, tape wound with a rope core. Great for jazz pizzicato solos, and combine gut string tone with metal string sustain.

The relative hardness of the string's wrapping allows for a bigger growl, and although they are primarily a jazz string, the surface of the wrapping makes it particularly bow-friendly for a synthetic, they are the perfect medium between gut strings and steel strings with strong fundamental and just the right sustain. and perform very well in jazz, blues, bluegrass, country, folk, and pizzicato double bass playing

Yuri Goloubev was born in Moscow, Russia in 1972 where he studied classical bass and composition at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. In 2002 he became the youngest bass player in the history of both the USSR and Russia to be awarded the prestigious title of the “Honoured Artist of Russia” by President Putin and was featured in the international magazine “Harper’s Bazaar”. From 1991 to 1992 Yuri performed with the Bolshoi Opera, and from 1992 till 2004 was Principal Bass with one of the world’s most noted chamber orchestras the “Moscow Soloists” directed by Yuri Bashmet. Here he collaborated with many top classical artists: Thomas Quasthoff, Lynn Harrell, James Galway, Gidon Kremer, Barbara Hendricks, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Maxim Vengerov and has performed at many major concert halls throughout the world including Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
After a splendid career in classical music Yuri moved to Milan in December 2004 to dedicate himself to his “true calling” - jazz music. In Italy, his "adopted home", he rapidly attracted the attention of many well known Italian musicians, and has since collaborated with
Enrico Pieranunzi, Rosario Giuliani, Franco Cerri, Glauco Venier, Claudio Fasoli, Giovanni Falzone, Guido Manusardi, Gianni Cazzola, Massimo Manzi and musicians from overseas Franco Ambrosetti, Gwilym Simcock, Ron Horton, Mike Serin, Michael Rosen, Klaus Gesing, John Law, Bill Smith, Paul Bollenback, Shawn Monteiro, Christoph Spendel, Adam Nussbaum, Miles Griffith and others.  Yuri’s playing and compositions are featured on over 40 CD recordings as leader or co-leader. In 2007 joined the jazz faculty of Centro Professione Musica (CPM) in Milan.

Zoltan Dekany


Ron Mathewson (born 19/02/44) Scotlands very own Jazz Double Bassist and Electric Bassist from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles  Mathewson is best known for his years spent working with Ronnie Scott, but has also done recordings with such artists as Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Ben Webster, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans.  Mathewson was born into an unusually musical household: at eight years old he was studying classical piano. Ron continued to study and perform classical piano until he reached sixteen, having started playing bass guitar a year earlier. (His talent was soon spotted -- and encouraged -- by the legendary Shetland musician, 'Peerie' Willie Johnson.) In 1962 Mathewson was in Germany playing professionally with a Scottish Dixieland band. In London  he also performed with various jazz and R&B bands throughout the early 1960s.  Around this time he was also a member of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band.  In 1966 Mathewson became a member of the Tubby Hayes band, with whom he performed with until 1973. From 1975 on in to the 1990s, Ron was frequently a participant in various Ronnie Scott recordings and concerts.  In 1983, he appeared on his old friend Dick Morrissey's solo album After Dark with Jim Mullen, John Critchinson, Martin Drew and Barry Whitworth.

Rocco Scott LaFaro (April 3, 1936, Newark, New Jersey - July 6, 1961, Flint, New York) was one of the most influential jazz bassists of the 20th century. Growing up in a musical family (his father played in many big bands), LaFaro started on piano while in elementary school, began on the bass clarinet in Junior High School, changing to tenor saxophone when he entered High School. He only took up the double bass the summer before he entered college, since learning a string instrument was required for music majors. About three months into college, LaFaro decided to concentrate on bass.

He entered college to study music but left during the early weeks of his Sophomore year, when he left to join Buddy Morrow and his big band. He left that organization in Los Angeles after a cross country tour and decided to try his luck in the Los Angeles music scene. There, he quickly found work and became known as one of the best of the young bassists. In 1959, after many gigs with such luminaries as Chet Baker, Percy Heath, Victor Feldman Stan Kenton, and Benny Goodman, LaFaro hooked up with Bill Evans, who had recently left the Miles Davis Sextet. It was with Evans and drummer Paul Motian that LaFaro developed and expanded the counter-melodic style that would come to characterize his playing. Ornette Coleman also used him around this time.

LaFaro died in an automobile accident in the summer of 1961 near Geneva, New York, his home town, two days after accompanying Stan Getz at the Newport Jazz Festival. Although he performed for only six years (1955-1961), his innovative approach to the bass redefined jazz playing, and inspired a generation of bassists who followed him.


Dave Jones, - Bass - compositions / acoustic and electric basses
After graduating from Newcastle College of Arts and Technology Dave toured and recorded with Eurojazz , the European Community Youth Jazz Orchestra and since then Dave's freelance playing has covered most aspects of performing and recording both in the jazz and pop fields to theatre and television . Over the last few years Dave has performed with The Steve Waterman Quartet , John Etheridge , Carl Orr , Bobby Worth Quartet , Christian Garrick , Jacqui Hicks , Julian Stringle , Julian Siegal , Jim Mullen , Gilad Atzmon , Alison Bentley , Ingrid Laubrock , Janette Mason , Phil Robson , Bill Bruford , Dave O'Higgins and David Gordon Trio etc .
He has performed with The Theo Travis Quartet and done many gigs with The BBC Radio Big Band . He plays and records with The Mick Foster Group featuring Jaqui Dankworth , The Pete Callard Quartet , Alison Bentley , and has recorded two albums with The Pete Cater Big Band which has won the big band category in the P.O. British jazz awards . He has also played with visiting American artists Harry Allen , Joe Temperley , Scott Hamilton , George Maseo , Peter Appleyard , Steve Hobbs , Marlene VerPlanck and Penelope Tobin.  In his former capacity as Director of Hackney Youth Jazz Orchestra , Dave accompanied Wynton Marsalis while on a series of workshops and has since taught at Brunel University , the London College of Music and Richmond Adult and Community College where he currently heads the music department while teaching bass and taking a number of jazz workshops in the Saturday Jazz School.

Roy Babbington
Born : July 8th, 1940 - Kempton (England)
Past Bands : Mike Gibbs Band, Keith Tippett Group, Delivery, Symbiosis, Centipede, Ovary Lodge, Nucleus, Solid Gold Cadillac, Soft Machine, Barbara Thompson's Jabula, Stan Tracey Groups...
Current Activity : jazz sessions & gigs

A professional jazz musician since 1958 (!), Roy Babbington was very involved in the progressive music movement, and the Canterbury scene in particular, between the late 60's and mid 70's, playing in bands like Delivery, Nucleus and Soft Machine, as well as many informal jazz or jazz-rock ensembles. Taught himself the bass as a teenager, and played clubs and ballrooms in his hometown until moving to London in 1969. He soon joined the band Delivery, led by pianist Steve Miller and also including guitarist Phil Miller, drummer Pip Pyle and sax player Lol Coxhill. With Delivery, he regularly played upstairs at the famous Ronnie Scott's club, getting to know the main exponents of the then-burgeoning London jazz scene. Soon he started gigging with Mike Gibbs' and Keith Tippett's jazz bands at Ronnie Scott's, and working extensively as a session musician. This in turn led to guest appearances with Soft Machine - he played on the albums Fourth (1971) and 5 (1972) - and gigs with saxophonist Gary Windo's occasional band Symbiosis, and Tippett's 50-piece orchestra Centipede.

In May 1971, Delivery folded after one album, A Fools Meeting (1970), recorded with (and credited to) singer Carol Grimes. Babbington then joined Ian Carr's jazz-rock band Nucleus, whose line-up at the time featured Karl Jenkins, John Marshall and Dave MacRae. Unfortunately, his first year in Nucleus is not documented on disc, and he is only featured on the albums Bella Donna (1972) - released as a solo Ian Carr album - and Labyrinth (1973), none of which feature his future Soft Machine colleagues. As a parallel to his activities with Nucleus, which were interrupted during the first half of 1972 due to management problems, Babbington also worked with Keith Tippett's Ovary Lodge and Mike Westbrook's Solid Gold Cadillac. In May 1973, he left Nucleus and joined Soft Machine, which now included his ex-Nucleus cohorts Jenkins and Marshall.

Joining Soft Machine was a dramatic change for Babbington as he would from then on play almost exclusively bass guitar, an instrument he'd long had prejudices against. In spite of these initial misgivings, he turned out to be perfect for the job, and stayed in the band for three albums - Seven (1973), Bundles (1975) and Softs (1976) - and countless international tours. While in the band, he continued to gig with visiting American jazz musicians and played for several productions at the National Theater.

After leaving Soft Machine in July 1976, Babbington resumed his former career as double bass player, recording with Harry Beckett and Graham Collier among others, although he still played electric music occasionally, notably with saxophonist Barbara Thompson's jazz-rock groups Jubiaba and Paraphernalia, alongside Peter Lemer or Trevor Tomkins. Since the early 80's, he has performed regularly with pianist Stan Tracey in various configurations, and until recently with the BBC Radio Orchestra.

Andy Cleyndert
His first professional experience was as resident bassist at the George Chisolm Club in Manchester where he backed visiting Jazz soloists including Americans such as Art Farmer and Joe Newman. On moving to London in 1982 Andrew quickly established himself as a highly versatile player, working with the cream of Uk and visiting musicians - Bobby Wellins, Don Weller, Red Rodney, Bud Shank, Lee Konitz to name but a few. He toured in the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe with Ronnie Scott, and Cananda and China with Stan Tracey Other tours include working with American piano players Benny Green and most recently James Williams with drumming legend Ed Thigpen, New York saxophonist Jon Gordon, trumpeter Conte Candoli, and guitarists Herb Ellis and Mundel Lowe. He has released two albums as co-leader. Andrew has taught on various summer schools including the Glamorgan Summer School, The Jazz Academy at the Royal Academy and the Berkshire Jazz Weekend as well as taking further study himself under double bass soloist Tony Haugham

Aidan O'Donnell
Aidan studied Jazz bass at Birmingham Conservatoire from 1999-2003. After finishing his degree, he moved back to Scotland where he joined both the Tommy Smith Quartet and the Colin Steele Quintet. He moved to London in November 2003, where he joined Alan Skidmore's Quartet, and began freelancing with a wide variety of musicians. He has performed with visiting artists such as Dave Binney, Charles McPherson and David Berkman, and appeared on 6 albums as a sideman

“My Dad was a keen amateur musician who played piano and trumpet. In fact he made a be-bop record in 1956 and ran a big band up in Yorkshire until he died last year. So there was always jazz in the house. My decision to go for the double bass came from seeing Ray Brown on a TV programme: I was mesmerised by the sound of that fantastic beast of an instrument and by his extraordinary hands, and from then on my mind was made up. I later got to meet him in L.A. and to tell him that he was the reason that I started playing: I got the impression that quite a lot of people had told him the same thing! Nevertheless, it was fantastic to shake those wonderful hands. Once my decision was made I borrowed a beaten up old bass from my school (my teacher described it as a ‘sideboard’), and started on my musical adventures.”
Early influences and mentors?
I had inspirational teachers, including Michael Calder, who was principal bass with the Halle Orchestra, got myself into the British Youth Symphony Orchestra (great for technique, reading, and meeting lovely girls!), and started playing in pit orchestras (they gave you money, and if you memorised the music you could watch lovely girls dancing). In Halifax in the 1970s you got your head kicked in if you didn’t play Heavy Metal, so I got a bass guitar and learned to play louder and faster than anyone else. I still remember playing the Princeville Rock Club in Bradford where we performed in between two strippers on a Sunday lunchtime: the audience threw glasses at you just to see if you were hard enough to stay on the stage. I don’t think I’ve ever had stage fright since then!”
Steve Kershaw from is currently playing with STEKPANNA, Plaza Jazz Trio and Latin From The North latin jazz project. Mr. Kershaw graduated from BIT (Bass Institute of Technology of Los Angeles) with Vocational Honors; he received the Outstanding Vocational Honours Student awards from GHS Strings: and he won the Outstanding Student of the Year award from Fender.

Raphael Mizraki
Raphael Mizraki started working the age of fourteen as a professional jazz drummer and pianist, despite being at the time mostly a cellist. During three years at York University his interests became increasingly diverse, including school workshops, ballet accompanying, jazz big bands, rock bands, Japanese drumming, composing/arranging, touring theatre, and percussion in contemporary music.
For the last ten years his main instrument has been the electric bass, due to an involvement in jazz, blues and soul music, though he is also frequently employed on double bass and violone with some of London's leading early music ensembles such as His Majesty's Sackbutts and Cornets and The Gabrieli Consort. As well as regularly taking part in cross-cultural projects with African and Arabic musicians, he tours extensively with Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band, and was for several years a member of the Dufay Collective, in which he played oud, rebec, viol and mediǽval percussion. Mr. Mizraki has performed with the Newberry Consort on several occasions, including for tour concerts in Florence, Italy, and Regensberg, Germany in 1995.

Raph is currently playing Electric & Upright String basses for the Luis D'Agostino Trio

Alec Dankworth  JAZZ PHOTO

British Jazz Awards winner Alec Dankworth has worked with artists as diverse as Stephanne Grappelli, Abdullah Ibrahim and Van Morrison. After studying at Berklee Colledge of Music, Alec became a member of various groups, notably Clark Tracey, Julian Joseph and Nigel Kennedy. During a period of residency in New York he played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Alec has since rejoined his parents' group and leads the Alec Dankworth Trio. His recent recordings have been with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and the Bill Lesage Trio. In May 2001 Alec left the Brubeck Quartet, and is based in London. He is now working once again with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, and with the Tina May Quartet.  In 2002 The Alec Dankworth Trio was formed – an acoustic trio performing an eclectic mixture of originals and standards by composers ranging from Dave Brubeck to Abdullah Ibrahim. Featuring Phil Robson on guitar and Julian Arguelles on saxes.


James Eager


Paul Morgan went to the Leeds College of Music on a jazz course in 1976.  From 1979 to 1982 he worked with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and became the Principal Bass with the BBC Radio Orchestra.Paul work has worked, and continues to work, with all types of groups and big bands. He joined the Don Lusher Big Band in 1986 and continued to work with this band up to Don's demise.  He grew up accompanying many visiting American and other international artists at Ronnie Scott’s Club, the Concorde Club in Eastleigh, Southampton, and many clubs and concert halls around the world.  Paul has played bass for musicians such as Zoot Sims, Peggy Lee, Ronnie Scott, and many other artists.

Due to his phenomenal technique, intonation, and sight reading ability, together with being equally adept whether playing pizzicato or arco on the double bass, many of the illustrious artists Paul has played with are not just in the jazz world.  One of his main influences is Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, from Denmark, who also shares the same kind of musical attributes as Paul does. Some recommendation, indeed!
Paul is now mainly active playing ‘straight’ orchestral double bass in film and TV studios, as well as jazz gigs at Ronnie Scott’s Club, the various Pizza Express establishments, the Bulls Head, Barnes, and other venues.  He does not teach formally but is always willing to help colleagues and students, who have various problems playing the bass. Paul also plays with the New Jazz Couriers


Brian Bromberg From ages fourteen to eighteen, Brian locked himself up in a room and practiced day and night. Testing out of high school early and devoting all his time to music, for the next few years Brian played every type of gig imaginable. Quite often Brian would play five to seven nights a week with several different bands. Brian's first big break came in 1979 when Marc Johnson, the wonderful bassist with the great jazz pianist Bill Evans, heard Brian play. Several months later while on tour, Marc ran into legendary jazz saxophonist Stan Getz. Stan was looking for a new bass player and asked Marc if he knew any new young players. Marc told Stan about Brian. Brian auditioned for Stan and joined the Stan Getz quintet in December of 1979. Brian had just turned 19 and spent nearly a year touring the world with Stan and his band. Since then, Brian has toured, performed and or recorded with some of the greatest artists of our time.

Malcolm Creese
is one of Europe's most admired double bass players. He combines jazz and classical performances at the highest level with extensive film, television and recording work. Malcolm is well known in the jazz world for his melodic soloing and his rich un-amplified sound. He studied cello at school and later at London's Guildhall School of Music. He worked as a cellist in orchestras and chamber music groups after leaving college, but also found time to pursue other areas of work including teaching, selling instruments, managing a record shop and working for a music publishing company. His love of jazz resulted in a switch to double bass in his mid-twenties.

Ben Bastin
Bass player Ben started playing music at age 9, with the euphonium. He played with the Bedfordshire County Youth Concert Band and the East Beds Concert Band. With these groups Ben was able to tour in Germany, Belgium and Austria also appearing in the Edinburgh Festival and in the Royal Albert Hall.

At around the age of 16 Ben started to play the electric bass after a few years studying the guitar. This coincided with Ben's discovery of Jazz. Ben joined the Bedfordshire Youth Jazz Orchestra on electric bass. Through this Ben was able to again play at the royal Albert Hall supporting a band featuring John Paricelli and Pete Churchill.

Ben moved to London in September 2004 and soon after began playing the double bass under the tutelage of Dudley Philips and roy Babington. Ben now studies at Middlesex University on the BA Jazz Course, and has also studied at the Glamorgan Jazz Summer School. Ben plays regularly in and around London playing music ranging from jazz standards to pop and funk to Ben's own compositions. He has recently appeared with Gilad Atzmon and is now fronting his own project under the "Ben Bastin Group"

Arnie Somogyi - Arnie Somogyi in Clare Cellars

Arnie Somogyi 
 – One of the country’s finest bass players - Arnie started off on violin at the age of five. By the time he was 14 he was playing bass guitar. Five years later, while studying for his English degree at Bristol University in the UK, he blew his first grant cheque on a double bass and started playing with jazz drummer, Tommy Chase, and Portishead's Adrian Utley. He's never quite recovered.  Arnie’s current band is “Ambulance”. and the sax player is the marvellous Paul Booth.





Mark Hodgson  - Born in Kendal, Cumbria and coming from a musical family Mark originally played electric bass in funk and fusion bands, but, aged eighteen, was inspired to take up the double bass after seeing The Oscar Peterson Trio featuring Ray Brown. 
In 1995 he moved to London to study Double Bass and Electric Bass at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 1999 Mark left London and moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he was based for four years.
He returned to the UK in 2003.   Jazz artists Mark has worked with include Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, Steve Grossman, Randy Brecker, Larry Coryell, Kenny Wheeler, Bill Bruford and Greg Osby.




Peter Ind  Studied Violin, then Bass and Piano at Trinity College of Music London, turned professional 1946. Whilst working as musician on RMS. Queen Mary, met and played with Lennie Tristano Group in New York Emigrated to New York April 1951, performed and recorded with many U.S. jazz musician's, including Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Paul Bley, Buddy Rich, and many others.

Frank Hoefliger

Peter Billington
Peter studied jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, and has an active presence on the London jazz scene both as a pianist and double bassist, leading his own trio and octet in addition to backing the likes of Peter King, Don Weller, Henry Lowther, and Ben Castle. He has played at Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express Dean St. and the 606 club and at many other venues. Peter is an accomplished composer, and his work can be heard on Clark Tracey's album 'The Calling'. Peter was musician in residence at Ardingly College (2002-2003) and now teaches jazz piano at Eton. He regularly gigs as a trio with Clark Tracey and Andy Crowdy. 
Pete was a member of Berkshire Youth Jazz Orchestra (Pendulum) & the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and was a member of the Scholarship Scheme at Berkshire Young Musicians Trust. He plays piano, double-bass and viola, and has played with dozens of UK jazz musicians and recently toured Europe with Kid Creole and the Coconuts. He’s currently working on a new album with Salena Jones. If you know Pete you’ll know that he’s a brilliant musician in many different spheres, and he’s a witty soloist

Phil Donkin was born in Sunderland in November 1980. He took up the electric bass at 12, playing in loud Rock bands until moving to London in 1998, having previously developed an interest in jazz. He studied at the prestigous Guildhall School of Music and Drama from '99 - '03, taking up the double bass at the beginning of this course in '99, studying under classical bassist, LSO principal Colin Paris. At the same time, Phil was playing a lot of jazz and developing a great interest in bassists such as Charles Mingus, Dave Holland and Larry Gales to name but a few. He became very interested in the rhythmic concepts introduced by the Miles Davis Quintet from '63-'69 and later developed by the bands of Dave Holland, Branford Marsalis, Steve Coleman etc. He has also been influenced by freer concepts such as that of Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor.
Since 2002, Phil has been very busy on the London and UK scene, working with British jazz legends Stan Sulzmann, Bobby Wellins, Jim Mullen, Martin Drew, Phil Lee, Julian Arguelles, Martin France, Julian Joseph, Mark Mondesir, Steve Williamson, Tim Garland, Nikki Illes, Tina May, Phil Robson, Julian Siegel, Paul Clarvis, Hans Koller, amongst others. He has also worked with internationally known artists such as Mike Gibbs, Kirk Lightsey, and Jeff Williams.
Phil has studied privately, and institutionally with Dave Liebman, Barry Harris, Rufus Ried, Billy Cobham, John Pattitucci, Dave Friesen, Geoff Keezer, Drew Gress, Ari Hoenig, Christian McBride.

  - in his own words -

Hi, my name is Phil. I'm 26. I play the bass. I'm from Sunderland ( North East England - Tired of explaining where it is - look on a map for God's sake ).
I live in London where I play with other musicians who like me - are trying to figure out what contribution we make to society. Of these musicians are some great ones, such as - Gwilym Simcock, Ivo Neame, Martin France, Graeme Blevins, Paul Booth, Julian Siegel, Gareth Lockrane, Blah Blah Blah can't mention everyone.

 Nick Kacal - Double Bass
After graduating from Salford University in 1990 with a degree in Electro-Acoustics, Nick Kacal worked as a free-lance double-bassist, playing with a large and eclectic assortment of artists.
He has played with too many obscure jazz musicians to list; his interest in other kinds of music has been assuaged by playing and recording  with acts like Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Ado Matheson, Songdog, TD Lind, The Loose Cannons   Morag McLarenZoey Schwartz
and John Etheridge
He has played and toured in France, Germany, Cape Verde and all over the UK, including Ronnie Scott's in London and festivals such as Womad, Brecon Jazz and the Edinburgh Festival.
His own trio can be infrequently seen playing various jazz venues around the UK. Currently he is working on a trio project with Dave Ohm and Grant  Windsor . Guerilla Sound

He can also frequently be seen playing with piano pop powerhouse the AT3..


Herbie Flowers
Herbie Flowers has had an enviable career in the music business. He was a pop star in the early seventies, playing with the likes of David Bowie and Marc Bolan. At one time his name was virtually synonymous with the expression 'session musician' - if you wanted a bass player you booked Herbie. As a result he has appeared on literally thousands of hit recordings by artists as diverse as McCartney, Mancini, Sinatra and the Scaffold. He is, perhaps, best known for his portamento bass-line on Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and for being one of the founder members of Sky (along with John Williams). He has also played tuba with many of the world's leading symphony orchestras.  Most recently Herbie has appeared with Jools Holland, Clannad and McCartney and is finding a new element to his career as a raconteur, appearing with Mike Hatchard. Their recent appearance at the Purcell Room with Selena Jones was a sell-out success

Julian Bury, a hard swinging, solid bassman who is in constant demand on the London jazz scene.

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Last modified: 18/02/2012