Bootsy Collins (Lifetime Award Recipient)   Alphonso Johnson (Lifetime Award Recipient)   Alex Al - Detroit-native Alex Al has been one of the busiest L.A. session bassists of the new century, tracking with everyone from Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Sting and Paul Simon to Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Christina

2012 Bass Player LIVE! Artist List

Chris Squire
Rock and roll bass and music changed forever when Wembley, England-born Christopher Edward Russell Squire first put pick to strings with Yes, in 1968. In addition to founding progressive rock with Yes on such classic sides as Fragile, Close to the Edge, and Yessongs, Squire was a sonic and tonal pioneer, rewiring his famed ’65 Rickenbacker 4001 bass in stereo, and stringing it with Rotosounds. His resulting bright, growling, slightly-overdriven, signature sound was perfectly suited to his surging lead lines and Baroque-like counter-melody bass parts. It was a plucking package that would influence countless bassists worldwide, including such fervent followers as Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, Billy Sheehan, Les Claypool, and John Myung. “Fish,” as Chris is nicknamed (partly due to his excellent 1975 solo effort, Fish Out of Water), is the longest-standing member of Yes and is also a major vocal force. His latest CD, A Life Within a Day, his excellent collaboration with ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, was released in May.

Aston “Family Man” Barrett
As the father of reggae bass, Aston “Family Man” Barrett is a groove innovator in one of the most bass-centric genres of music. His deep, throbbing, offbeat bass lines, which also serve as counter-melodies, powered such Bob Marley and The Wailers classics as “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Get Up Stand Up,” “Is This Love,” “Stir It Up,” and “Could You Be Loved.” In addition to his work with Marley (which began in the early ’70s), he recorded seminal sides with Bunny Wailer, Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, and King Tubby, often producing, engineering, arranging, and playing guitar, keyboards, and percussion, in addition to bass. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, “Fams” credits his melodic flair to approaching his bass lines like he’s singing baritone. On the rhythmic side, teaming with brother, Carlton “Carly” Barrett, who invented the “one-drop beat” on drums, had equally explosive, globally-felt results. Currently, Family Man continues to tour with the Wailers, spreading the gospel of reggae worldwide.

Jaco Pastorius

In one fell swoop Jaco Pastorius changed music and bass forever. The “Florida Flash” (born in Norristown, PA) burst upon the global scene via Weather Report and his self-titled solo album in 1976, and instantly raised the bar for groove intensity, soloing prowess, feel, dexterity, and composition. With his fretless ’62 Fender Jazz “Bass of Doom,” he innovated the use of natural and artificial harmonics, while taking the concept of bass chords, lead melodies, and tone to a new plateau. Indeed, Pat Metheny cited Jaco’s fretless as the most important and pervasive sound in jazz since Miles Davis’s muted trumpet. After recording seminal sides with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell, Metheny, and three major label solo discs, Jaco met a tragic end in 1987, nevertheless remaining arguably the most influential bass guitarist ever to grace the planet. On the 25th Anniversary of his untimely passing, Bass Player is honored to present a Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award in Jaco’s name to the Pastorius family. 

Juan Alderete
Juan and his genre-leading bass are supporting two new projects: His own Big Sir CD, Before Gardens After Gardens, and The Mars Volta’s latest, Noctourniquet. In addition, Juan maintains his popular website,

Steve Bailey
The grand master of the fretless 6-string and veteran solo artist and sideman has a new gig as Chairman of the Bass Department at Berklee. Somehow he has still found time to tour with Victor Wooten, record and produce Warwick’s latest Fuss on the Buss 3, and once again head the Bass Player LIVE! All-Star Jam.

Frank Bello
Metal master Frank Bello has been taking no prisoners on the Anthrax’s 2012 U.S. and Canadian tour, in support of their most recent CD, Worship Music. Heads up as he’s also maintaining a potent clinic schedule along the way.

Phil Chen
The Jamaican-born L.A. veteran, best known for his work with Jeff Beck (Blow by Blow) and Rod Stewart (“Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”), has been touring with the reformed Doors in recent years. Phil also appears on the Ernest Ranglin CD/DVD, Order of Distinction.

Nathan East
The L.A. session legend has been back on the road completing a 25-date fall run with Toto before embarking on a world tour in support of Fourplay’s latest, Espirit de Four. He has also signed on as the Rock & Pop instructor for ArtistWork’s new interactive online bass school.

David Ellefson
Founding Megadeth bass force David Ellefson has been globetrotting with the legendary quartet in support of their Countdown to Extinction Twentieth Anniversay Tour. A remastered 2-CD box version will be released on November 6th.

Damian Erskine

Damian is a top young jazz and Latin bassist with such artists credits as Gino Vanelli, Les McCann, and his uncle, Peter Erskine. He is also a first-rate educator with a huge web presence and following. Damian is excited to at last make his Bass Player LIVE! debut.

Hadrien Feraud
The French-born fusion firebrand, who has toured and recorded with John McLaughlin and Bireli Lagrene and collaborated with fellow bass force Matt Garrison, is making his fifth consecutive appearance at Bass Player LIVE! His much-aniticipated second solo CD is due to drop very soon.

Janek Gwizdala

Since arriving in the U.S. in the late ’90s, the U.K.-born Gwizdala has toured and recorded with Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Hiram Bullock, Eric Johnson, Scott Kinsey, Peter Erskine, Gary Husband, Jem, and V.V. Brown. He will be discussing and promoting his new multi-media book, You’re a Musician. Now What? .

Alphonso Johnson
Fresh from his 2010 Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award, Alphonso has been performing with the Zawinul Legacy Band. He also serves as an Instructor of Jazz Studies and Popular Music at USC’s Thornton School of Music.

Bakithi Kumalo
As musical director and the pulse of Paul Simon’s band, the legendary South African-born bassist is helping Simon celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Graceland documentary and continuing world tour. He has also just relocated to the west coast. Welcome to L.A. Bakithi!

Abraham Laboriel
Los Angeles studio legend Abraham Laboriel has backed them all, from Michael to Quincy, Miles to Madonna, Clapton to Clint Black. Most recently, he has been performing with his band, Open Hand, and working his teaching chops. 

Marco Mendoza
Versatile L.A. bassist Marco Mendoza is best known for his stints with Whitesnake, Michael Schenker, and his current role in Thin Lizzy, but he also has a solo jazz side in local clubs. This is Marco’s Bass Player LIVE! debut.

Rickey Minor
The hardest working man in showbiz continues his nightly roll as the band-leading bassist of the Tonight Show while keeping numerous other balls in the air. Currently he’s putting together a network tribute to the late Whitney Houston (for whom he served as musical director for ten years), which will air during the holidays.

John Taylor

With an illustrious career to reflect upon, which includes over 30 years as a member of Duran Duran, and his stint with The Power Station, John Taylor has penned his memoir: In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran. John will discuss the book, as well as Duran’s new DVD, A Diamond In Mind: Live 2011. A book-signing will follow John’s clinic. 

Robert Trujillo
On the heels of Metallica’s Death Magnetic summer world tour, the powerhouse rock bassist is making his Bass Player LIVE! debut in a big way, expounding on his key role in the upcoming Jaco documentary and all things Pastorius. Don’t miss Robert’s sneak peek clip at the Key Club concert.

Bobby Vega
Bobby knows Bay Area bass, having worked with Sly Stone, Tower of Power, Carlos Santana, Mickey Hart, and Cold Blood. He will present his unique perspective on that particular art form via vintage gear at his Bass Player LIVE! clinic.

Jerry Watts
In addition to his role as Bass Department Chair at LAMA (Los Angeles Music Academy), eclectic L.A. studio veteran Watts has recorded with Andy Summers, Dori Caymmi, and Billy Childs. His much-anticipated clinic will feature the 18-piece John Daversa Progressive Big Band.

Nate Watts
For over 30 years, the big daddy of bass has been Stevie Wonder’s musical director, contributing such immortal bass lines as “Do I Do,” “I Wish,” “Sir Duke” and “As.” Fresh from receiving Hartke’s 2010 International Bassist Award, Nate will wax poetic about fellow Detroit bass legend, the late Bob Babbitt.

Currently scheduled guest appearance artists include: Lee Sklar, Verdine White, Brian Bromberg, Stu Hamm, Mike Elizondo, Bunny Brunel, Ready Freddie Washington, Evan Brewer, Andrew Gouche, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Gary Grainger, Bubby Lewis, Tim Lefebvre, Alex, Al, Sean Hurley, Dirk Lance, Jimmy Earl, Bernhard Lackner, Oskar Cartaya, Norm Stockton, Russel Blake, Igor Saavedra, and more.