Specializing in Upright and Double Bass
Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock
B.M. from Temple University
I teach Upright Bass and Bass Guitar. Originally from Washington, DC, I moved to Philadelphia in 2003 to attend Temple University and have been an active member of the Philadelphia music community ever since. I have worked with several notable collaborators, many of them Grammy winners and nominees, including Micky Roker, Uri Caine, Chris Botti, Tom Lawton, Bill Moriarty, Bobby Eli, Wilma Theater, BalletX, Inis Nua, and Pig Iron Theater Company. I am currently a member TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb, The Only Band in Illyria, The Looks of It, and the Sunset Club. I am also on faculty at the Nelly Berman School and the Clef Club. I have performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center, West Oak Lane Jazz Fest, SXSW, CMJ, Trocadero, Johnny Brenda’s, and World Cafe.
When did you begin playing Bass, and why?:
I started playing piano when I was about 8 because I had an insatiable thirst for music and I needed to get involved. Also, half of the people I looked up to in the world were musicians. The other half were athletes. I put my all into both music and sports and I was participating in one or the other during pretty much any waking moment that I wasn’t in school, doing homework or eating.
What are your personal goals as a musician?:
My goals are to make interesting art and help strengthen the communities that I’m involved in, whether they are centered around music or not. I also want to be a rock star!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?:
I remember entering high school and hearing my peers play professional caliber orchestral music. Before that moment I didn’t realize that it was possible for people my age to make music like that and all that I wanted was to make sounds like that too. I decided to pick up the upright bass for the first time in my life and made it my goal to be in that orchestra by 2nd semester. The requirement to join the orchestra was to be able to play the repertoire that the orchestra was preparing for the last concert of the year, the Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms. I practiced every spare moment that I had for 6 months. I learned how to navigate the fingerboard of the upright bass and how to make a full rich sound with the bow. I put those skills to use to make music that, just 6 months earlier, I couldn’t fathom being able to play.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
Any style of music can be beautiful as long as it is honest.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
In recent years I have taken up the tuba. My goal is to be able to play the tuba at the same level that I can play the bass. The challenge is becoming comfortable in system of notes that is completely non-visual. All of my life, I have been able to look at a key board or finger board to understand the theory behind the music that I am playing. When it comes to brass instruments there is nothing to look at because the notes are produced by pressing different combinations of valves and the tightness of one’s embouchure. All of the theory is abstract.
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I can’t point to just one achievement. I have been proud of so many of the projects that I have been involved with over the years. I’m proud that I get to collaborate with so many talented and creative people all the time and I get to travel all around North America while I do it!
Favorite thing about teaching?:
I love getting a student to the point in their lives when they can prepare music for concerts all by themselves. That is the point when they start to become an independent musician. That is the most important thing a teacher can do for a student: help them get to the point where they can find their own voice and start creating.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Make honest art!
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc:
The Sunset Club: https://www.facebook.
The Only Band In Illyria: https://www.facebook.
TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb: http://