The New Face of Bass at Berklee

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Boston will be the epicenter of a significant rumble in September when the “New Face of Bass” at Berklee officially debuts, led by a visage quite familiar to readers of Bass Player and attendees of Bass Player LIVE! Steve Bailey has succeeded Rich Appleman as the Chairman of the Bass Department at the renowned Beantown institution. He arrives along with John Patitucci, who will be in residence at the school one week per month. Bailey actually begins his tenure in June, learning the ropes from assistant chair John Repucci during the summer semester.

It will be an insane summer and fall for the fretless bass force, who is already on the road with Victor Wooten’s new septet in support of Victor’s upcoming simultaneous release of two CDs: Words and Tones, a vocal album, and Sword and Stone, an instrumental disc. Steve has been spending hours daily practicing trombone, an instrument he last played in high school (each band member plays multiple instruments on the project). In addition, Bailey will visit Asia in late July for Warwick, and once again produce their third annual Fuss on the Buss event in September—part of Warwick’s week-long 30th Anniversary celebration in Germany. And yes, Steve will be back at BP LIVE! on October 20th and 21st, musical directing the all-star jam, among other undertakings. He will also discuss his new role at Berklee in an upcoming issue.

Addressing his next academic challenge, Steve offers, “Berklee is iconic; I can’t think of another institution on the same scale, with a chairman-headed bass department and world-class faculty overseeing 400 bass students. To have the opportunity to build upon Rich Appleman’s legacy and the incredible job he did over the last 40 years as the school’s original bass chair is truly special; it’s absolutely the only gig in the EDU world that could have lured me out of my comfort zone. I expect I’ll do a whole lot more listening than talking while I learn the ropes; and then I’ll do everything in my power to define and pursue the department’s goals and objectives, and keep the program evolving. I’m also thrilled to have the insight and input of John Patitucci, the premier doubler of our time and an an artist and teacher with an unshakable musical and technical foundation."

Says Patitucci, who will be continuing his recent role in Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute under pianist Danilo Perez, as well as joining the bass faculty, “Having concluded my residency at City College of New York, I’m excited and honored to join the staff at Berklee and to help Steve Bailey move the bass department forward. Like Steve, I understand the value and importance of a quality music education and I consider it essential to contribute to that discipline.”