Aguilar introduced its stylish new Chelsea space with a substantive two-hour master class by John Patitucci. The sleek Aguilar Artist’s Loft at 148 West 24th Street (just east of 7th Avenue) boasts a spacious lounge/showroom area (the rear of which is set up for artist and product photos and videos), plus a separate tuned, carpeted clinic room, where Patitucci and his guest, guitarist Jay Azzolina, held court to a packed house. During a candid session punctuated by four duet performances (three on his Yamaha signature 6-string and one on Aguilar President/CFO Dave Boonshoft’s flatwound-strung vintage P-Bass), Patitucci—steered by audience questions—addressed touch, tone, phrasing, and articulation (“I try for a vocal sound by singing through the bass”), action (“going from my upright to my 6-string is like going from a mini-van to a Ferrari”), muting, Bay Area influences, Wayne Shorter quartet concepts, reading, using space, drummers, his role on the new J. Cole CD, and advice for young upcomers. He also gave a dead-on replication of Charlie Haden’s musical approach on upright, on 6-string!
The appreciative crowd included bassist Ruben Rodriguez, master bass builder Mas Hino, and LaBella VP Eric Cocco. Afterward, Boonshoft explained, ”We call this the Artist’s Loft because it’s a space for artists to do clinics and for Aguilar to introduce and demonstrate new products.” Agreed CEO Dave Avenius, “There are a lot of great bassists and artists making music in a wide range of styles with our products; that’s something we want to showcase and share with the bass community.” Both noted that the old clinic space in the company’s main factory, on Broadway near Houston Street, is now being used for Aguilar’s rapidly expanding pickup line. —Chris Jisi