Laurent LB Bass


Laurent LB Bass's new single 'Feelin' Good' welds virtuoso saxophone and harmonica performances to an electro-style drum-bass framework, and the result is one of the grooviest instrumentals of the year.

What do you get when you deeply endow a single person with the often dissonant qualities of loyalty and individuality? Laurent Bass is a product of that hybrid design and the result shows in the rich originality of his electro-enhanced jazz creations. He is a lifelong musician with varied work in a half-dozen performance configurations and his competent adherence to the stylistic traditions of jazz - when he is formally exercising that genre - give him the sort of artistic and technical credibility that completely eludes most younger artists. The man is a virtuoso with several instruments. Check out the soulfully rendered blue notes that ornament his mouth harp stylings on 'Feelin' Good'. On the other hand, when his maverick aspect is ascendent the Harvard-educated multi-instrumentalist is capable of walking all over tradition to deliver an entirely new kind of sound experience. Independent reporter Lily Clark recently caught up with the talented musician to talk about his history, his music and his plans for the future.

LILY: When did you first discover your love of music?
LAURENT LB BASS: I discovered my love for music and performance very early when I attended my first live school sponsored student musical event. I listened to musicians playing live music for the first time and I was captivated. The performance featured the Elementary School Orchestra and was staged for the school and parents. It was sublime. I knew from that moment it was what I wanted to do. Now to the parents it sounded like... um, very young students. It’s all in your perspective!

LILY: Your song ‘Feelin' Good’ is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
LAURENT LB BASS: I was proud and enthralled to hear my piece ‘Feelin’ Good’ on the radio. It validated my effort, and knowing that it would be heard by listeners worldwide was exhilarating.

LILY: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
LAURENT LB BASS: Much of the inspiration for this tune comes from my musical experience with old gospel songs and hymns, and my desire to construct and combine interesting beats and live instruments with modern chord progressions. I wanted to incorporate my jazz experience with gospel and folk music, augmented with harmonica, sax and percussion. Things take on a life of their own.

LILY: Would you say that the mood of your other songs is in the same vein as ‘Feelin' Good’?
LAURENT LB BASS: My other songs take inspiration from many different creative areas. They have individual characters that develop from varied sources and musical experiences including classical, cabaret musicals, jazz, Latin, to world music.

LILY: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving...)
LAURENT LB BASS: Art should be enriching and enjoyable. But it also needs to aspire to exceptionality of some kind. If I do not hear that in music then it is not pleasing to me. I personally strive to practice, rehearse and persist until I reach a level of quality that is enjoyable to me and (hopefully) to my audience and friends as well.


LILY: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
LAURENT LB BASS My mother was a church pianist. She had classical musical training and a love for live performance. She always desired for me to have musical training through school and I took advantage of it.

LILY: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
LAURENT LB BASS: The most rewarding part of being an artist is the appreciation I sense when I use my performance ability. Performing with skill to create music that brings and shares happiness, peace and harmony to the world is intensely rewarding. This is an experience that will grow with me throughout my lifetime. The challenge is to learn and change with it.

LILY: Who are your role models in music?
LAURENT LB BASS: I have many role models which start with the great early jazz players who created a whole new genre of music, such as Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, Pharaoh Sanders, Mongo Santamaria... just to name a few. On the Latin side, there is Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, El Gran Combo, Cal Tjader. In the new world, I am influenced by Pat Metheny, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Nile Rodgers, Nils Petter Movaer, dZihan & Kamien and Thievery Corporation. My journey would not be possible without the expertise and guidance of my music mentors and teachers.

LILY: Describe your best or most memorable performances. (Take Your Pick 1 or 2)
LAURENT LB BASS: In Liquid Benefit v.15 Crane Arts, Feb 7th, 2015. InLiquid is an organization committed to creating opportunities and exposure for visual artists while serving as a free, online public hub for arts information in the Philadelphia area. I was a featured artist performing Live with my setup, MïxT BeatZ, using Albeton Live with Keith McMillen Soft Step 2 Peddle to drive Live Beats with Live Saxophone Performance. This was a single performance where I creatively performed original tracks that were mapped out using a controller for live production. This was very experimental and the response was great. There were more than five hundred people attending this performance. I also performed with my first professional group ('First Choice') while in college. It was an American girl group vocal music trio from Philadelphia. The group produced the Soul/disco hit ‘Armed and Extremely Dangerous.’ My most memorable performance took place at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia as backup to The First Choice. The significance of that performance lies in the fact that as a child I stood on the stage of the Academy of Music after a concert finished. I wanted to perform there ever since. The First Choice performance was my first chance to be on that particular stage, which made it a very memorable experience.

LILY: Do you have a music video for your hit single? If so, what can you tell us about it?
LAURENT LB BASS: A music video will be produced and released later this year.

LILY: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
LAURENT LB BASS: Every person knows on some level what a quality song sounds like. When we first start performing or producing the results are far from that standard and the creative process becomes very frustrating and discouraging. The key is to persist and persevere. The quality will eventually appear if one endures - without giving up as others will!

LILY: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
LAURENT LB BASS: Next on the horizon is a new album for my electro-acoustic project that will combine electro house and EDM with live instruments and vocals - plus cool ‘back beats’ and driving rhythms. My vision is to use the concept of melodious cool chord progressions to produce new original musical compositions. Using the current software-driven performance environments I can combine real-time mix tracks, beats, harmonies and melodies that result in exciting live performances. This way the music becomes the essential focus of the performance, along with great live musicianship.

LILY: Thank you kindly for taking the time to share your history and ambitions with us, LB. We wish you every good fortune in the coming days as your music spreads farther from home.

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