Copyright Ian Hochberg
August 22, 2106
Probably most any seasoned veteran who started playing when they were very young would likely say when they hear me play my bass guitar “That’s nothing. You don’t know theory or chords and can’t read music”.
I love bass. Play any piece of music and I can make up a harmony, especially a bass line.
I wanted to play jazz bass for years, yet couldn’t find anyone to let me try their upright to see what the experience was like.
I started telling my friend Alan Levin, a genius of a Jazz Pianist, that I would play with him one day. He gave me his love and support while telling me to start on a fretted bass guitar at age 58 because it would be easier than an upright. He became my Fairy Godfather and when musician bullies would try to smash my dream apart, he said “Stick with the ones who love you” (like him).
He helps me with theory and although I can’t read music yet, in the few minutes I get to play my bass which is sometimes near midnight after an uphill day, there are scratches, missed notes, stiff fingers learning to be nimble in a way they aren’t used to and a brain rewiring for translating notation into music.
In those few minutes of wearing my bass, I’m sitting in with Mel Tormé, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Frank Sinatra. With only few lessons I do my best on my own, play gigs with Allan and stare down on all those bullies who say “You Can’t” and say “I Can and I Am”..