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Old 11-22-2008, 02:40 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
Bassist, Luthier & Admin
Join Date: 01-18-2007
Location: Perkasie, PA
Posts: 5,028
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Cool Stand outs?

Originally Posted by Tim Bishop View Post
So, once you begain playing professionally, what would you consider your stand-out highlights from the beginning of our professional career until now?
Humm.. well I bounced around from quite a few things. I won the Audition with Horace Silver in early 1969 when I was still only 17. I could not play in the clubs with the alcohol rules so I just did some concerts. Stanley Clarke had just turned 18, auditioned after me and was my replacement. That stands-out a bit looking back I guess but back then, winning the audition with Horace was considered a big thing. I beat out a lot of good players. In later years, I subbed for one of them on B'way. I guess the wounds if any had healed by then.

I was a fairly good reader and a doubler as well playing both Electric Bass and Double Bass. I was also a good bower. Funny saying 'was' because just two weeks ago I did a big band job and sight read charts on both basses as well. last week I did a Symphony gig (3 rehearsals and a Concert). The chops and 'eyes' are still ticking!

I would have to say that there was more work available on the BG than the DB but so many jobs needed both. At about 19/20 years old or so I got called to work for Johnny Mathis. The call was for both basses. We worked a few weeks at the Waldorf Astoria in NY, 7 days a week. The traveling rhythm section worked 7 days as well but the other contracted musicians could only work 6 days by Union law with Subs or alternates for the full 7 day work week. I was paid not for one double (an extra instrument aka Clarinet & Flute) but got the maximum of 4 doubles (each double is a small percentage extra over regular scale) plus a personal check of $75 from Mathis to make up for the 7th day in which I wasn't allowed to be working. Because he didn't have a bass player traveling with him they had to bend the rules a bit. The house contractor at the Waldorf worked it all out and said I was not to tell the Union about this which of course I didn't. During that engagement we did a HUGE concert at the 'Garden (MSG). There were seats up to the stage. Maybe 20-30,000 people at this venue. It was called 'Festival of the Stars'. It was the top 4 Columbia Records Pop artists. Johnny Mathis, Peter Nero, Vicki Carr and Percy Faith Strings. One HUGE Orchestra with 3 or 4 rhythm sections changing for each artist. I did just Mathis. Alvin Bream was the DB'ist for the String section. I just saw him behind me and never talked to him. About 2 years ago at my old NY Phil's Teacher's Birthday party/recital at Lincoln Center, I finally met and spoke with Alvin Bream.

Besides Mathis, I worked in (mostly subbing) about 18-20 B'way shows, other singers like Frank Sinatra Jr., Jimmy Roselli, Linda Hopkins, Kelly Garrett, Mercedes Hall (mother of Michael Anthony Hall, he was a cute kid back then.. lol), Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger!!) and many others. Some of this was in NYC, Concerts and some at Westbury Music fair. I did lots of Jingles (over 2,000 separate spots), a few Movie soundtrack dates, on screen in 2 movies and a few records of which most were for MMO (Music Minus One).

I also worked in the Orchestra at Radio City Music Hall first as a sub in the mid '70s. Years later they switched the venue (from 4 shows a day with the Rockets and a movie) to an 8-show a week B'way schedule. I did that too on and off. Not the best gig but it was a gig. I did Ginger Rogers last show there as well as the Christmas Show once or twice. I recall doing the Nutcracker there as well.

Late night Club gigs and private teaching also kept me busy.
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