Canadian Musician

JAY WALKING

Jason Raso


Real Talk from John Patitucci

I recently had the opportunity to interview John Patitucci for a book I am writing. What an honour!

Here’s a snippet from the interview…

“I think sometimes people will get the wrong idea about me, they never heard all the millions of gigs and millions of obscure recordings I did which were really about laying it down and just being a fundamental bass player, never having soloed. I did a ton of stuff like that in L.A. and when I was in the Bay Area. I always joke with my students, man, I’ve played with everybody from revue shows to pony shows to Elvis impersonators to Mexican Cumbia bands at weddings, and all kinds of stuff. I didn’t start off playing with Chick Corea. I learned how to play. I paid my dues. I played in my brother’s band; we used to play parties in living rooms and all kinds of stuff. So the idea of being able to lay it down and really be a bass player and be compositional. It’s all about sound and your groove and your rhythm and your feeling and your kind of way you put together a bass line that unlocks a tune. You know, people say that, well, you give it a lot of lip service, but I’ve spent my career with that as a priority. And that is what allowed me to get to do all this other stuff, which sometimes it’s not easy to see that: it’s like all you can see is, “well yeah, but you’ve got fourteen solo albums.” Yeah, but, you know how many decades I’ve been playing bass? You know, I mean, just bass. And a lot of times, people would hire me not because I can solo, but because I was a bass player that cared about their music, that wanted to play, and enjoy just playing the rhythm. That’s huge. Especially, again, with the YouTube thing, people post all this flashy stuff, and a lot of guys: I see guys on both instruments posting all kinds of crazy stuff. But it’s interesting: many of those guys, I’ve never seen them on a gig with a band. They’re just blowing or they’re playing along with a record and they’re blowing some incredible thing. But, you know, at least, let’s just say – let’s be generous. At least fifty percent of the time, you’re seeing people that you – when do you see them playing with a band, on a gig somewhere in the world? That’s dangerous.”

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