Bass Player LIVE! Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients: A Look Back


Imagine walking through a living, breathing, three-dimensional version of Bass Player, in which you try out the gear in the reviews and ads, chat and interact with the featured artists and luthiers, get face-to-face instruction from the lesson columnists, and hear the transcribed and analyzed music, often in ensemble form, in a clinic or concert setting. This was the original concept for a live event that would bring the magazine to readers once a year on the east or west coast. An added bonus was the realization that such a setting afforded the ideal opportunity to honor legendary bassists via annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. With Bass Player LIVE! 2011 fast approaching—and rock great Jack Casady having just been announced as one of this year’s Lifetime recipients— it seems like a good time to make note of those who have already been honored. As someone who has been to all twelve previous events, I have plenty of a memories and anecdotes, as I’m sure many of you do. If you’re planning on attending BPL in Los Angeles, on Oct. 22 and 23, don’t hesitate to stop me at S.I.R or the Key Club to share your stories.

Since its inaugural live event in 1997 (not counting several anniversary concerts at NAMM shows), Bass Player has handed out twenty Lifetime Achievement Awards, beginning at BASS DAY 1998, in New York City. But judge not; the list below is by no means comprehensive and complete. Rather it has depended on the availability of artists based on their touring and recording schedules, and often a little bit of luck. BP has also not previously presented posthumous Lifetime Achievement Awards. The first one may be bestowed in 2011 (stay tuned). What constitutes a recipient in our eyes? A veteran bass player with “triple threat” cred: significant contributions to the art of bass playing and to their chosen genre of music, along with a highly influential style. What bassists living or deceased, who we have not yet recognized, do you feel are deserving of this honor? Reach out and let us know. See you in Hollywood!

1998: Milt Hinton
Bobby Rodriguez
1999: Chuck Rainey
2000: Joe Osborn
Percy Heath
2001: Jerry Jemmott
2004: Anthony Jackson
Will Lee
2005: Ron Carter
Jack Bruce
2006: Stanley Clarke
2007: Lee Sklar
Tony Levin
2008: Carol Kaye
Verdine White
Mike Watt
2009: Rocco Prestia
Charlie Haden
2010: Bootsy Collins
Alphonso Johnson