The 2017 Rocky Mountain Bass Festival (the 15th since 1992) at the CU College of Music in Boulder is coming up on Sunday, Oct. 1, running from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. The festival will include technique classes to help players improve their left hand fingering technique and right hand bowing technique. There will also be a jazz technique class covering the basics of playing jazz bass: how to pluck the string, how to develop steady rhythm and how to create good bass lines that clearly outline the harmonic progressions of jazz tunes. Students will also get tips on how to prepare for the live seating auditions for the Western States Honor Orchestra and Colorado All-State Orchestra.
Monster Bass Ensemble is the large bass orchestra that features all participants and is the central focus of the festival. The orchestra of 50+ bassists is divided into four sections like a string quartet. Main melodies are played by each of the four parts. CU double bass majors and professional bassists play alongside in each of the sections to help younger bass players play confidently. In the three rehearsals and concert (at 4:30 p.m.) that take place during the festival, aspects of good bass technique covered in the technique and master class will be used to help all bassists improve their skills playing in an ensemble. Music will be sent out ahead of time.
Our special guest in 2016 was Tom Knific, Professor of Double Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University. Tom traveled to Colorado with his Jazz/Classical fusion Violin, Piano, Double Bass and Drums Quartet. The quartet performed in the 4:30 p.m. concert that concluded the day-long festival. Tom, Air Force Falconaires bassist Jason Crowe and CU Boulder Professor of Double Bass Paul Erhard performed as a jazz trio in that concert. Tom Knific’s quartet also performed a 7:30 p.m. Guest Artist Recital in Grusin Music Hall.
Pizza lunch is included in the registration and will give festival participants a chance to get to know their peers from around the state.
He also really enjoyed playing with professional bass players, such as Dr. Erhard and Ira Gold. He felt that seeing and playing alongside professional bass players inspired him to become better and better to continue to get opportunities to play in situations like that. He also thought the bass orchestra was a lot of fun; he got a kick out of seeing all the bass players congregate in the back and be told to move forward.
I remember the week after the festival how excited he was at the wide variety of sounds that a bass can produce—saying that it was by far the best instrument because it could imitate all the other instruments above it.
Thank you for providing this opportunity!”
- Mrs. Amanda Hessel, Orchestra Director at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs
Professor of Double Bass at CU Boulder
Instructor of Jazz Bass at CU Boulder