I was about fifteen, when I heard my first slap bass solo.  Wow, it was explosive, stylized, and had tons of personality.  I bought a cheap bass at a pawn shop and stared breaking strings trying to slap and pop. I loved discovering the bass then, and I love it more now.  After about a year or two on electric bass guitar, I started on upright bass.  I listened in awe to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.  They were so creative, and at such fast tempi.  I wondered it I’d ever be able to play that fast.

Bassist

Aspiring to become an improvisational artist

Bachelor Degree in Music Performance

Formal study of classical and jazz

Musical Theater

Pit musician for productions numbering in the hundreds
I quickly started working on my classical chops, when it was time for college.  I went to Bradley University, in Peoria, IL (my home town).  After a year or two, the Peoria Symphony had auditions and I was informed.  All summer I practiced and then won a spot in the orchestra.  I was now in the union and pulling income from playing the bass.  Around this time, I started doing some jazz gigs and musical theater.  I did a few musicals in high school, but it wasn’t until I was a regular member in the Peoria Players pit, that I really started on my vast journey of musicals.
The United States Air Force Band was my next stop, after graduation.  I performed with the Concert Band and Jazz Band for more than four years.  During this time, I was traveling to study with a Chicago Symphony bassist, Stephen Lester.  Still with my focus on classical music, I was ending my term and getting local job offers.  I was a full-time staff musician and arranger, at a church performing gospel and contemporary Christian music.  Soon I was in an R&B band (the Confidentials) and having a great time.  After a few more years, I played in Iowa’s first Art and Addison Farmer Jazz Festival.  At the festival, faculty from Iowa Western Community College heard me and wanted to get me involved in their department.  At IWCC, I developed a Music Technology degree and taught the core courses.  My life in Omaha, NE was busy, but it was about to get busier.

Genres

Classical, Jazz, R&B, Gospel, Pop, Country, Musical Theater, Blue Grass

New York City

Attending New York University and quickly integrating into the music scene
Next up was a complete change, as New York City was the site of my new home.  My Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance was the initial push, to move to NYC.  I attended New York University and was able to work with the incredible faculty and students, on many projects and performances.  While at NYU, I also continued my music technology education.  Only days after arriving in NYC, I was performing at the 55 Bar (a well known jazz club, where Jaco Pastorius often performed).  The time flew by and soon I graduated with honors.
Almost immediately after graduation, I found myself in the Musical Theater circles.  I was performing for new musicals and being hired to join creative teams, for arranging bass parts to new shows.  One of my early summers I jumped around between three Off Broadway shows.  Many great credits started coming along too.  My bass playing can be heard on a musical television show called Smash.  I recorded on both seasons and the album sales of the first reached Billboards Top Ten.  Another honor was being the orchestrator for an Off Broadway show.  I’m currently a substitute bassist for Wicked, and I get to play the show often.  On call for many of the featured shows of the Broadway Stars, NYC has become my home.  NYC is the place where I can perform new jazz with the most amazing musicians, continue my love of gospel music by performing with the most impressive choir (the Broadway Inspirational Voices, lead by Michael McElroy), and I get to use my various skills within the large amount of musical theater I perform.

Broadway

NYC Musical Theater Performances: Broadway, Off Broadway, Television, New Works

Solo Project

Videos of my solo performances
In 2018, I decided to embark on a project that was long overdue.  I am recording a collection of solo performances.  For the large majority of my career, I have been a valued member of the projects of my clients, colleagues and friends.  Now, I’m at the beginning of my first project.  Please take a moment to check out the Creations link.  If you enjoy what I’ve created, click on Get Involved and you could help me to be able to continue this project.

Thanks for visiting my site.
Jerry