By Chris Jisi
Continuing a tradition started in 1998 that has since honored twenty top bassists, BASS PLAYER will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Jack Casady at BASS PLAYER LIVE! on October 22 and 23 in Los Angeles. Following the presentation of the award by Anthony Jackson (who sites the bassist as a key influence), Casady will perform in duo with guitarist/vocalist Jorma Kaukonen as acoustic Hot Tuna.
One of the most original innovators in the sixty-year history of the bass guitar, Casady made his sweeping melodic mark circa 1965, helping to create the “San Francisco sound” with legendary rock group Jefferson Airplane. Jack would go on to track with Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Warren Zevon, members of the Grateful Dead, John Lee Hooker, Gov’t Mule, and Rusted Root. But it was his 1969 pairing with Kaukonen to found the archetype acoustic (and electric) Hot Tuna that has been his longest-running band and musical home. Along the way, Casady has been a diligent and discerning advocate for the art and craft of bass playing, drawing from such wide-ranging influences as classical music, Jelly Roll Morton, Eddie Condon, and Charles Mingus to master the subtleties and finer points of creating musical bass lines, developing grooves, incorporating dynamics, and shaping tone. His efforts are front and center on Hot Tuna’s first studio album in twenty years, Steady as She Goes, recorded at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio and released earlier this year on Red House Records.
Casady offered these thoughts on his award: “Upon hearing this exhilhariting news, I immediately thought back to Christmas, 1956. My parents, Bill and Mary Casady, gave me my first Washburn guitar and a course of guitar lessons from a local Washington, D.C. music store. Thanks Mom and Dad! And thank you Bass Player for this honor and recognition.”