Copyright © Dave Bass; All Rights Reserved

My "Originals" page is in the works; for now please enjoy some of my Freelance work.

Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone
Recorded on select horn, mouthpiece and microphone combinations to achieve various effects.
Alto Sax Aggressive, punchy, forward "Next One to Cry"
Grant Rosen, 2009
This is the kind of edgy, screaming sound David Sanborn popularized in the 70's, which is still a staple of Rock & Pop today.
Alto Sax Warm, round, sweet "Autumn in New York"
Vernon Duke, 1934
Not a Freelance recording but something I did for myself. I place it here because it is the opposite of the edgy sound, above. This is a warm, round texture that works with jazz, acoustic music, theater and certain kinds of pop.


Tenor Sax Driving, Staccatto, Thin

"Who Can it Be Now"
Men at Work, 1981
In 2012 I was hired by an 80's tribute band to recreate the riffs and solo from this famous 80's pop song. Their band performed live but used pre-recorded tracks to provide the sounds they couldn't make live (including saxophone).

While doing research on the original saxophonist, Greg Ham, I realized I had the same vintage mouthpiece he did - as well as the mic he used on the track! So I strove to make it as close the the original recording as possible - including times he was a bit flat or layed behind the beat. The combination of thin reed and thin tone along with short, staccato phrases is very different from what I usually do.

There are two tracks here - the first is solo sax (me), the second is the original.
The original is slightly sharper and faster in tempo than the track this band created for me to record over.

Sax Section:
2 Altos, Tenor & Bari
w/ Flute fills,
Horn Arrangement
Funky, Syncopathed, Punchy "Travis Song"
TV Broken, 3rd Eye Open
I worked with this funky-rock-hippie band for a number of years, first as musical director then as a composer and performer. I love this kind of driving style.
Sax Section:
Soprano, 2 Altos, Tenor & Bari
w/ 2 Flutes,
Horn Arrangement
Funky, Sophisticated, Layered

Mexico 68
When I first hit LA around 2008, I helped this Fela Kuti inspired band get started by writing charts and performing with them, mostly on bari.

After a few years of copying Fela charts, the bandleader asked me to give him ideas for new directions. He brought over a musical loop by the band "Antibalis." In my studio I layered ideas over it, arranging the horns off the top of my head withno paper, each example getting more complex (please listen all the way to the end).

When I was done, I leaned over the sax mic and blew a flute solo for kicks (even though it wasn't the proper way to record a flute). The band loved it - but I suspect my ideas were too "modern" for the bandleader who was a traditionalist. It is ashame the band eventually broke up. Bands are like marriages - and relationships are hard enough - imagine being married to 11 people!!!

Sax Section:
2 Altos, 2 Tenors
& Bari Sax
Thick, Textured, Weighty "Sugarglass"
Soft Targets
Sometimes you need horns to simply provide texture and weight. Saxes do it like nothing else; not even an organ or vocal choir. They can pack an articulated punch or flow like water; be gritty like sandpaper or smooth like glass; swell their notes or stay even and level.
The bandleader wrote the horn chart on this one.
Bari Sax & Flute,
Horn Arrangement,
Guitar Fills
Bouncy, Light, Lyrical "Kiss Those Chains"
Jimmy Golding
I loved this artist and his music and poured myself into arranging and recording a whole album of his for a year in my studio. I wrote and played the horn arrangements, played some of the guitar parts and recorded his vocals as well.

When we were done recording the album, the mixing engineer called me and said "These tracks were recorded so well, I hardly had to do anything to them! They sat in the mix well." Unfortunately, the artist never released the album, for whatever reason.
Chalk this up, along with the track I did for Leonard Cohen that still hasn't seen the light of day. Hollywood is a bitch.
Bari Sax Driving, Muscular, Angular "Selam (peace)"
This Ethiopian jazz/rock/fusion group was formed in Atlanta in 2004; this comes off their album "Salem", recorded at the Five Spot in 2006. The tenor player is probably Jorga Mesfin. We start out weaving lines together before I launch into my bari solo.

At this time I was just developing the kind of harmonic vocabulary to play over "free" music. After years of teaching theory and songwriting, my take on this today would probably be quite different. This was played on my old Zephyr bari; it was clunky as hell and rode sharp in the upper register but man, what a sound! But the Mk VI I have now trounces it, I believe.
Bari Sax Fluid, Driving, Sophisticated "Confirmation"
Miles Davis / Charlie Parker
There is some contention as to whether Miles or Parker wrote this (I say Miles), but I'll leave this to the historians.

More germaine to this post is the fact that I had been blessed with a vintage Mk VI bari with a low A just prior to this recording. It's a beast of a horn (I nicknamed her "Animal")! She takes some getting used to as she weighs in at nearly 20 pounds! This is a tune I know well on tenor (in a different key), hence my "creative interpretation" of the melody. Lol.
Bari Sax Sweet, Romantic, Warm "Early Autumn"
Ralph Burns, Woody Herman & Johnny Mercer
This is the more lyrical, soft side of the baritone sax. I could never achieve this with my old Zephyr - it was balls-to-the-wall or nothing. But this French horn will coo in your ear if you ask it to. Gotta hand it to the French for their understanding of romance.

This was combined with a specific ribbon mic to emphasize the warmer sound.
  Bari Sax Lyrical, Big, Warm "Mack the Knife"
Kurt Weill
While we're in Bari land, I should probably throw in a link to a video made around 2006 with the Gainesville Big Band. This was on my old Zephyr, back when my coat was white and my hair was black.
Soprano Sax Lyrical, Sinewy, Piquant
(C'mon, look it up)
"Aquela Abraco"
Composed by Gilberto Gil, band is Rua 6

Sometime around 2000 I sat in with a Brazilian Band I really liked named "Rua 6," in honor of the 6th Street restaurant at which they played. I soon began working with them at their steady multi-night gigs.

What fun it was! The music was great, the dancers were beautiful and the food was delicious. I had entered the band with a working knowledge of Jobim, Dori Caymmi, Baden Powell and a few other Brazilian composers, but they expanded my knowledge exponentially. I also got very good at a variety of hand percussion on those gigs.

The electric guitarist and I struck up a friendship and played many gigs together in a separate band. Roberto had an encyclopedic knowledge of Brazilian music. He used to laugh at me because I don't speak a word of Portuguese, so to request a song I'd have to say, "Can we play the one that goes like this" - then hum it. With Roberto, I learned many classsic Brazilian songs - and it started me on CD-buying rampage discovering Elis Regina, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and many other great Brazilian musicians.

I would jump at the chance to work with a good Brazilian outfit again.

DISCLAIMER: This was recorded on a cheap-ass soprano sax I bought in a pawn shop for 200 bucks. It rode sharp upstairs, flat downstairs and couldn't handle all the air I fed it, lol. But I played the HELL outta that horn. By God's grace, in 2020 I FINALLY got a good soprano. But I'm still looking for an affordable bent-neck Yamaha 62R - so let me know if you see one, lol.
Alto Sax Sweet, Lyrical, Dreamy, Romantic "Petals"
The Lost Continentals
Recorded in 1997. I always loved Amy Pike's voice.
Here I evoke the style and sound of the 1930's Swing masters such as Johnny Hodges, Willie Smith and Benny Carter.
Tenor Sax Strong, Aggressive, Hard

Wayne Shorter

This is the kind of "hard" tenor sound made famous by Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, etc.

I had just received a new (vintage) mouthpiece and was amazed by the huge sound I could get out of it. I decided to try an experiment - how much air could I blow through the horn before the mouthpiece "choked up," (the reed seized up and stopped playing altogether)?

Well, I failed to "blow the saxophone apart," but in the process I was able to achieve some sounds I'd always wanted. My only regret is it was recorded on my cell phone. So I went back and added more background track for balance, leaving the sax AS IS.
Love this monster mouthpiece.

Tenor Sax Fat, Warm, Wistful "Body & Soul"
Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, 1930
B&S is one of a handful of tunes so well written it is in its own category, a cut above the rest. From my youth I loved the Billie Holiday recording (I know every note of that Decca 2-album set by heart). I return to it often because it is so deep.

As a contrast to the "hard" tenor sound above, this is the sound I aim for more often - warm, balanced and fat. I love the big Tenor sounds of Gene Ammons, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Dexter and others. To me, this is how a tenor saxophone should sound - and not like a screaming alto wandering around in the altissimo range.
As trends go, I am currently in the minority on this opinion, lol.
Tenor Sax Fat, Thick, Creamy "Take the A Train"
Billy Strayhorn
(Yes, written by Strayhorn, not Ellington)
Another warm, fat tenor sound - this time on a vintage 60's King saxophone.



I play both Western Flutes (Silver, transverse),
and Native Flutes (bamboo, brass, clay) from around the World (Brazil, Africa, Ireland, Native American), etc..

My initial inspiration for playing flute was an album I used to check out of my little Public Library as a kid -
"Buddy Collette and his Swinging Shepherds at the Cinema," with four great jazz flautists;
Buddy, Paul Horn, Bud Shank and Harry Klee.
From the moment I first heard those sounds I knew I wanted to make them -
and I got my chance when I bought my first flute around 13 years old.

Playing flute is hell when you're self-taught! I would huff and puff and go dizzy at first.
Then I'd read and ask questions and experiment, over and over, until I got the hang of it.
Over the years I have expanded my flute playing to include effects like humming and harmonizing as well as effect pedals.

Many people come up to me after shows and say I must have learned these things listening to Jethro Tull.
Roland Kirk.
My childhood friend and fellow musician Eric South turned me on to Kirk in my late teens / early 20s -
that's where I first heard these unusual flute techniques and fell in love with them. I didn't know Tull's music until much later.

Unfortunately, it seems many modern "jazz" flautists use a lot of pyrotechnics in their playing.
At first it sounds impressive, but when you listen closely, you realize it's just one gimmick after another, strung together.
To me, it is more important to craft solid, lyrical, melodic phrases - on any instrument. The tricks come later.
That's why I love the old masters; they understood melodic development.
And that's why I've gone back to transcribe the solos from that old album; they are classic.

DISCLAIMER: All of these recordings were done on my old, student / intermediate flute.
I was recently blessed with a top-line, beautiful vintage, professional flute which I can't wait to record for you!

Hand Percussion
Light, Airy, Dancing

Track Unknown
DJ Inaia
In the early 2000's I formed a duet with a creative DJ in Atlanta, playing saxes, flutes and percussion. I am very picky about DJ music, but she had great tastes and we had a lot of fun on our gigs.

After moving to LA in 2008, I and went searching for another DJ to collaborate with. Inaia was recommended to me. I downloaded one of her tracks, recorded flute and percussion to it, then sent it to her as an introduction. She loved it, but little did I know she had just moved to Miami and we never worked together.

Warm, Creamy, Mocha-latte
(Is this how you spell it?
I dunno; I don't drink the stuff)
Dave Bass
Sometimes it is nice to have new equipment around; it gives you another focal point which is useful for the artist to avoid the dreaded "looking in a mirror" syndrome which is the death of all true art.

Here I am borrowing a mic from a dear friend. It's creamy, delicious voicing is just the thing for flute. It's my secret weapon and no, I won't tell you what it is. Well, for $500 bucks I'll tell you what it is (that way I can get my own).

BTW I am also on guitar here and it is an excellent example of the hybrid picking style I modified from my father, who himself modified it from Chet Atkins. Thank you Chet. I wish I had your thumb. But then, I'm sure you wouldn't like that very much.
Sophisticated, Lyrical, Smooth "Just Another Gig"
Dave Bass

I wrote this song during the 6th year of hammering out nearly 250 gigs a year with the Dave Bass Quartet. It was an exhilerating but exhausting schedule. On the way back from one particularly frustrating gig, inspiration struck (hence the title).

It's a bit dark and has a bit of New Orleans in it. If you've ever been to N.O., you know the dark Gothic South is present everywhere, from the Spanish Moss to the old alleyway graveyards.

We filmed this version for a cable show called "Jazz and Blues," created and filmed by Tom Carpenter. He did fabulous job on that show, filming all of it LIVE, no overdubs, three cameras in the room. Quite challenging.

Dan Baraszu on guitar, Tim Delaney on bass, Keith Runfolla on drums, conjuring up subtle shades of New Orleans.

While you're at it, check out Dan's fabulous solo work:


I love crafting arrangements and the ability to play whatever need - guitar, piano, bass, drums, percussion, horns & vocals.
I almost never rely on pre-made "in-the-box" tracks -
I would much rather sit at a real instrument and let inspiration occur.



My Arr.
Electric Bass,
Sophisitcated, Groovy, Minor (dark)

"Soul Food"
Artist unknown
In the process of doing consultations and procuring equipment for studios, I sometimes run across clients who want me to track for them as well. One such client sent me this song. But it wasn't really a song yet - no chords, no background, just a voice and handclaps - in odd phrases that don't fit in standard 8's, no less.

It inspired me so I took the first portion of the song and completed it, writing the chords then laying down guitar, bass and drums. I think it transformed it into something quite different.

I guess he didn't like it because he said he wasn't going to use it and that's the last I heard from him. Unless he tries that LA trick of re-recording it and not giving credit in which case he'll be getting a terse letter from an attorney, lol.

Funky, Quirky, Hip-Hoppy "Monday"
Rau Rau (aka David Alexandrou)
David is one of the quirkiest artists I have ever known. Believe it or not, that voice can sound spot on like Johnny Cash. His range is big, his creativity is enormous. Just don't invite him for dinner; he won't show. Until three days later.

For a while there, he was writing songs for an alter-ego named "Rau Rau." Rau Rau was a hit with all the girls. He was an innovator. He was too cool for his own shoes. He even wrote a song called "Monday" to counter Rebecca Black's then-hit "Friday."
But Rau Rau's "Monday" was a lot hipper.

If memory serves correct, he laid down vocals while I played drums, then I went back and added bass, saxes, flutes & percussion.
David Alexandrou - er, I mean Rau Rau - on vocals.
And telephone.


Tenor; Lead and Background
Jazz, Theater, Soul, Pop

Voice Warm, loose, swinging

"Made for Each Other" - Robert Bass
My dad composed this song when he was about 18. He wrote a number of other beautiful, lyrical songs in the "Tin Pan Alley" tradition, from which many of our most loved Popular and Jazz songs originated.

I recorded this live to video (a difficult feat!) and am proud to say I nailed every instrument on nearly the first take! I started with guitar, then bass, then drums, then voice and finally the sax. The only overdub is last few notes of the sax ending.

One small note, I apparently did not pronounce the word "parting" fully because one friend thought I sang "party". My bad. Perhaps I'll get around to fixing it one day; for now I'll let it live as a one-take wonder.

      Coming soon: some Pop and R&B vocals.


I don't “make beats."
I learned my craft from old-school masters whom I sought out to apprentice me, in person, over the phone and over the web.
They gave me a great foundation in understanding microphones, pre-amps, effects, room acoustics, mic positioning - and old-school tips.
I also read incessantly and took screenshots of important information to read again.

I then began buying any good equipment I could afford. I would wait until something showed up cheap, then pounce on it.
I would then conduct exacting A/B shootouts and comparisons in my studio on voice, saxes, flute, guitar, drums - everything.
I did this often late at night after a gig, after a Client had left or in the afternoons when I had spare time.
For more than a decade, I have conducted 100's of experiments with 100's of pieces of equipment, bought, sold and borrowed.

Because I play so many instruments and sing, I had the blessing of being able to learn things first-hand, by doing them.
I once asked an engineer friend what he thought of a particular piece of equipment. His answer surprised me.
He said, "Dave, you probably know more about my equipment than I do, because I'm always in a session with the clock ticking,
but you have spent time getting to know the equipment intimately. I wish I could do that!"
This is when I realized I had done my homework and "graduated," so to speak.

Along the journey, I have worn the hat of studio musician, writer, arranger, engineer, producer and educator...
made some wonderful friends in the business (met some scoundrels I wouldn't introduce to my dog)
and have helped many musicians towards their musical goals.
It's been a wonderful ride.


SAXES: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone Solo / Fills / Horn Sections
FLUTES: Western (Silver) & Native (Bamboo, Wood, Clay, etc.) Solo / Fills / Horn Sections
GUITARS: Acoustic, Electric (Soiid & Hollow Body), Lap Steel Fingerpicking / Plectrum / Strumming
PIANO & KEYS: Acoustic Piano, Moog, various effects Chords / Fills / Arranging
ELECTRIC BASS: A variety of pre-amps, tone colors and effects Bass & Drum rrangements
DRUMS: Live drums with great snares and cymbals Bass & Drum arrangements
PERCUSSION: Brazilian, Latin American, African, homemade Single or Layered tracks
VOCALS: Lead and Background Pop / Blue- Soul / Jazz / Theater

I have slowly, laboriously built up a World-Class Recording Studio and am very proud of how it sounds.
M icrophones:
Neumann, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Earthworks, Shure, Electro-Voice, Custom-made ribbons, etc.
Neve, API, Avalon, Custom-made, etc.
A host of Outboard Effects:
Vintage Compressors, EQs, Reverbs, Delays, Distortions and more.
And great Acoustic Instruments:
Drum Kits, Snares and Cymbals, Basses, Guitars, Keyboards and Horns.

I am in the process of building a World-Class MOBILE STUDIO in a 40 foot Charter Bus.
I will soon be able to record anywhere I park the bus, and will be fully off-the-grid.
Inquire as to my completion schedule and to set up a Recording Session.



1) CONTACT INFO: Name, phone, email and the best time to reach you.
2) THE TRACK: Send the track you want me to work on - or a sample of something similar.
3) DESCRIPTION: Be descriptive - describe what you think you need in detail.
4) TIME FRAME: When do you need it? Please be patient if I am involved in other projects.
5) RELEASE DATE: When you are planning on releasing the song(s) and through what venues?
6) LABEL or INDEPENDENT: Are you on a label or independent?
7) BUDGET: Doesn't have to be precise; just give me a high and low.

Tone is the foundation. I put many freelance cuts on this page to give you examples of different Tone Colors -
what kind of tonal colors do you think will work for your tracks?
Bear in mind - sounds have to "play well" with the each other on a recording.
Sometimes the most beautiful, warm tones can get "lost" or "buried" in a dense mix, and need to be brighter.

Sometimes you need a little of something, sometimes you need a lot.
Again, listen to the examples to get an idea of don't need a lot of something - you just need a hint;
other times it needs to be front-and-center or hit you like a brick wall.

What ROLE(S) are needed?
Are the instruments a Focal Point, such as playing a melody;
are they providing Fills or Counterpoint to something else, like a vocal;
are they creating a Pad, like a choir of long-tones;
or are they playing a Solo?

Sometimes you don't know what you want on a track. I get it.
For these situations, I reccommend you hire me to make a "Sampler" - where I take 2-4 bars of a song and fully arrange it.
I can make multiple samplers, doing different things with them each time.
This way you can hear what something will sound like without making a full committment up front.
For Sampler tracks, I charge my standard hourly rate.

When I record for a Client, not only do I take the time to perform the parts right,
I take equal care as an engineer getting the recording right.s

I have experimented with many recording techniques, used 100s of pieces of equipment,
conducted hundreds of exacting A/B tests of both instruments and audio gear (the nerd in me),
worn the hat of studio musician, writer, arranger, engineer and producer,
made wonderful friends in the business and helped many musicians towards their musical goals.

Cash is king.
Zelle is a (for now) free inter-banking transfer system.
Paypal will incur an additional 5% fee.
Sorry, I do not take Checks or Money Orders unless I know you.
(Hint: if you're reading this, I don't know you).
I do not take Venmo, Bitcoin or other forms of payment at this time.

I enjoy working with others who are serious about making good music;
Let me know how I might be of help to you!

Dave Bass



"Working with Dave elevated my song from average bedroom music to legit world-class sounds!"
William, 2020; Pop-rock band from Brooklyn
Recorded Baritone, Tenor and Alto Saxes, Clarinet, Flute

"I hired Dave to perform soprano fills and solos on my singer/songwriter jazz/pop track; it is a fantastic take.
He surfs in and out of key with various "blue notes" that really hit home for the perfect sound I wanted.
Furthermore, he composed a multi-horn intro for my song that gave me the transformative element I didn't know to look for.
I highly recommend Dave and will use him for all of my horn parts in the future."
Greg B., 2020; Sophisticated Pop
Recorded: Soprano Sax fills behind vocal; Soprano Sax solo; Sax Quartet intro (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bari)

"Dave put his horn on a Christmas present for my wife and turned the song into a thing of beauty.
I can't recommend him highly enough!"
John Rhys, 2019; Producer, Writer, Publisher and former owner of an acclaimed Hollywood studio for many years
Recorded: Tenor Sax, melody and solo

"Dave's flute on two of my original songs resulted in recordings that I am quite proud of.
I strongly recommend Dave to songwriters, solo performers or music groups
who want that beautiful wind or brass instrument sound to their recordings."
Bill K., 2013, Acoustic Rock
Recorded: Flute and Hand Percussion

"Dave's studio is incredible.
Top-notch equipment, top-notch sound, top-notch engineering by a top-notch musician."
B. Original, D.J. and producer

"The tracking was superb, and the lines and arrangement you crafted fit well into everything."
Robert, Mixing Engineer (music, movies, TV, commercials)

"I am knocked out by your production work; very tasty, especially that nice solo.
In fact, all the instrumental work is impressive! Thanks for doing such a terrific job on my song."
Roger Schore, NYC songwriter

"I would not hesitate to hire Dave as a musical director, singer, player, copyist or recording engineer and producer."
Chet, Guitarist and Bandleader

"I think we scored big; you did a great job."
Ray Jessel, songwriter (Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr., Broadway, TV, America's Got Talent contestant)
Recorded: Tenor Sax, Surf Guitar, Bass, Drums, engineered, hired and recorded three background female vocalists

"Dave is one of the most gifted and diverse musical artists I know.
He provides tremendous support and direction to artists trying to get their projects off the ground."
Viva, Vocalist, Bandleader and Educator

"I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your Herculean effort, your musicality and your great nature."
Willie, Composer (American Gangster), Producer (Leonard Cohen)
Recorded: Arranged and recorded Alto, Tenor and Bari Sax; hired and scored Trumpet and Trombone as well

"You are the hardest working man in show biz."
Harvey Cooper, Sr. Vice-President, 20th Century Fox Records (1977-1980)

And more...


(God help you if you're still here, reading, lol)
Four decades of experience as a Performer, Bandleader, Studio Musician,
Engineer, Educator, Consultant... and Custom Woodworker

My father was a professional musician and songwriter; my mother is an avid lover of classic pop, theater and jazz.
I grew up in a household filled with music - Jazz, Pop, Soul, R&B, Brazilian, Folk, Classical - you name it.
I could speak "music" before I could speak English.
My father knew thousands of songs and could play and sing them on guitar - and it seems like he played ALL of them for me.
I STILL hear original recordings of songs for the first time that I only heard my dad sing. It's astounding.

My father taught me percussion instruments and brushes at age 3.
Then, when I was 10, we got a three-tiered Yamaha organ and he taught me music theory and piano.
At 11 I found my inner voice - saxophone.
I soon added flute, guitar, drums, voice, upright bass, electric bass and more percussion.

I had my first steady gig at 15, playing every weekend in a very cool restaurant and bar in Marietta Square.
I played with with a guitarist twice my age who once joked he "hated" me because I knew every song in the books we played from.
He said, "I don't get it - you're only 15 - how do you know all these songs it took me years to learn?"
Ironically, I was also to young to even be legally playing in a bar.
But I didn't drink so no one cared, (and kudos to owner Dave R. for hiring me and giving me my start)!

I won numerous awards in High School in both music and Creative Writing,
then put myself through college on music and writing scholarships and grants.
I had my first pro recording session at 18 in the studio where Kansas recorded "Dust in the Wind"
(on that beautiful Neve console & giant tape deck. If only I'd known what I was looking at then)!

I freelanced for years with a ton of different bands - big bands, blues bands, pop bands -
then formed my first band in High School, "Quintessence", playing gigs on the weekends.
One winter I even wore funny Lederhosen and froze my ass off playing Polkas - outdoors!

I left college early because I wanted "Dead Poets Society" and got "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
The idea of "partying" was foreign to me at that time - my burning desire was to get deeper into art and my spiritual practice.
Frustrated, I went into the work world.
I soon discovered I had a strong drive for leadership, organization and responsibility and was quickly promoted.
For 11 years, I worked in Restaurant Hospitality, working my way up from server to manager, transitioned to fine dining,
then ran my own Consulting business for well-known Country Clubs.

But by 1993 I had grown sick of the corporate world.
I was unfulfilled, like a vast portion of me was cut off, dead.
A deep love for creating was calling out to me again.
This time, I got serious.

I started transcribing all the music that really spoke to me -
Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter and Thelonious Monk were at the top of my list.
I built a book of detailed transcriptions and formed my second band, the Dave Bass Quartet.
I hired the best guys I could find, started gigging and even moved myself to the heart of the city, to be immersed in art.

Within months I was invited to join the most popular band in town, at the most popular nightclub in the city, Otto's in Buckhead.
The club was so packed it was often elbow to elbow. It took 15 minutes just to get to the bathroom on break.
It was nuts.

Everyone in the band split singing duties and every night was a trip through the genres - jazz, then blues, funk and pop.
I asked the bandleader if I could bring in tunes and he gave me the green light -
so I started furiously transcribing all the other stuff I grew up loving that wasn't jazz:
The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and more.
This was my true college: A year of transcribing, playing and singing, 4-5 nights a week.

In 1996, I re-formed my band with the best cats in town and soon went full-time.
One year later, we played a whopping 274 gigs that year. By this time, I had a full-time assistant.
To regain sanity, I raised my price and backed my engagements down to a manageable pace.
From 1996 until I left Atlanta in 2008 (12 years), we averaged about 225 gigs a year.
That's a lot of playing. Over 3,000 gigs, 3-5 hours each, with a 4 piece band playing Jazz, Latin, Funk and Pop.

As one bandmate put it, "I've seen more of you than I've seen of my wife!"
Still, no one was really complaining; the gigs were good, the money was great,
I got away with playing Charles Mingus in places you'd never, ever suspect,
and our audiences loved us for it.

Then the composing bug hit me.
It started in a dream. All of those melodies and harmonies had to come out somewhere.
At first all I wrote was jazz.
Then I took a tri
p to LA in 2001 and wrote my first true pop song on the plane on the way back.
Soon I was off and running, challenging myself to write in multiple genres.
I currently have well over 70 finished songs in jazz, blues, R&B, folk, country, gospel, theater, comedy and pop.

In 2005, I built my first Private Home Recording Studio -
multi-tracking entire songs on one good mic and channel strip. No kidding!

In 2008, I moved to Las Vegas for a 3-month spell (too hot, too dry, too soulless),
so I loaded up the truck and I moved to Beverly.
Well, it was Santa Monica first, then about 15 miles inland where I hardly ever saw the ocean.

In LA, I gigged, but the gigs often sucked ass in terms of actual musical quality - and they paid ass too.
And I found many (not all) the musicians were extremely insular, backbiting and unreliable.
So I opened my Recording Room to other talent, performing on their tracks, engineering, producing and co-writing.
I also started teaching; first saxophone then voice, guitar, piano, flute and drums.
Then I found my favorite subject of ALL to teach: Songwriting and Music Theory.

In 2015, after a stretch of some pretty bad songwriters and performers coming through my studio,
I closed my studio to the public and returned it to private use only and began concentrating on teaching Songwriting.
Then an odd thing happened.
A saxophonist whom I routinely sparred with on gigs and jam sessions committed suicide.
Mind you, he had troubles. Big troubles. And he wouldn't listen to me about God.
He would say "I don't believe in that stuff, Davey."
And one day he jumped off a building and killed himself.

This really got me thinking.
If the musical scene in LA was SO spiritually vacant as to let this guy continue in his obviously bad ways (and they were obvious) -
and even defend him and enable him to continue doing them - right to death -
then I needed to get out of the scene altogether.
Besides, I already had my OWN bad experiences with tyrannical club owners, managers and musicians and had enough.

I stopped gigging completely.
I turned my former hobby, woodworking, and turned it into my bread and butter.
with my goal of making enough money to get the HELL out of Commiefornia and back to the Bible Belt,
where at least most people have a reasonable compass of what is right and wrong, even if they are fallible (as we all are).

Since then, I have built all kinds of things: bookshelves, beds, dressers, a full trade show booth, showrooms, theater sets -
AND I have built many things for studios!:
Producer's desks, r
acks, keyboard frames from solid walnut, sound conditioners,
floor-to-ceiling fractal diffusers that passed the grueling 5k Dolby Atmos test and were part of a cover-story for Mix Magazine - and more.

And now, I am building out Ruby, our 40 ft gorgeous Charter Bus, into a studio and home on wheels.
When she is done, I will say goodbye to Commiefornia, God-willing, and return East -
and get back to making music with people I love!
(I've got some other business ventures launching too, so stay tuned).

Copyright © Dave Bass, 2020