Bruce Swanson Bass Man
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Bruce Swanson Bass Man

Aurora, Colorado, United States | SELF

Aurora, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Funk




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After four decades of playing bass, I hit the wall and quit. Just didn’t see the point of it anymore. What would cause this loss of passion? Thankfully I found it in something I hid away long ago, something I wasn’t ready to expose to the light of day. Simply put, it was just playing for my own enjoyment, in my own style. Over the years, I continued trying to play like all the great bass players I loved to listen to. Yet I was never able to do what they did. There was only one time that someone heard my “private stuff.” Somehow I was fortuitous enough to grab a student position for a weekend workshop with The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1980. Due to my naivete, I didn’t know how deeply I was in over my head until the day of the workshop, and an unexpected audience showed up. The Quartet launched into some blues to ease the student players in. Standing next to Jack Six playing upright bass and Dave Brubeck four feet in front of me, I did what I could and hoped I didn’t look as terrified as I felt. Then Dave Brubeck nodded at me to take a solo! As much as I wanted to dematerialize right then and there, I jumped into a bass solo that was so spasmodic, it induced appeals of mercy from all those within ear shot. When it was all over, Jack Six graciously offered some private tutoring to help me along. But after working at it for a while, he realized I wasn’t at a place to get it, so he said, “Why don’t you just play what you like to play.” For some reason, I played my private stuff and when I was done he actually jumped up in excitement and yelled, “Why didn’t you do that today?!” But even after all that validation, I hid my “private stuff” away again for over two decades. So what’s the point of that tale? There is no point - in not doing that which brings you joy, doing what you love. And that is what this is all about.