Ken's Corner (Bass Forums Sponsored By KSB)

Go Back   Ken's Corner (Bass Forums Sponsored By KSB) > Double Basses > Music [DB] > General Double Bass Music and Playing

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-05-2016, 11:41 AM
Eric Swanson's Avatar
Eric Swanson Eric Swanson is offline
Senior Posting Member
Join Date: 11-12-2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 199
Eric Swanson is on a distinguished road
Default Terry Plumeri murdered last week

I found out last night. He was murdered in his house in Florida last Friday, it seems.

His first name wasn't "Don" but he would have appreciated the humor in the newspaper getting it wrong; it was "John."

I studied with Terry for about four years, roughly '78 to '83, with a break in between when I tried a year at conservatory.

He got me ready for my MSM audition and helped me get a full scholarship. I dropped out after a year and went back to studying with him.

He taught me for free, two lessons a week, two hours per lesson, for about three years. He gave me my Morizot bow, which had been his "number three" stick.

He always pushed me to play just a bit better than I could. He always treated me as an equal, even when I couldn't do half of what he could do.

We became friends, eventually, as time passed. It has been over thirty years since I studied with him regularly, but I still think of things he taught me every day when I pick up the bass.

For the past few years, I visited him every April, for a lesson and to play duets, in Florida. I talked with him just last week.

He was a like the Coltrane of the bass, in my opinion. I think that one day, people will marvel at what he did.

I'll never forget the first time I saw him playing with a trio of Michael Smith on drums and Marc Cohen (now known as Marc Copland) on piano. It was the same band that recorded "Ongoing" with John Abercrombie (with whom Terry was room mates in NY). Anyway, it was at a club in D.C. called "One Step Down." 1978. They came out and he starting bowing his bass, playing like a sax, with Michael Smith and Marc Cohen/Copland setting fire to the music behind him. Gives me chills, even now, when I think about it.

At this point, what he's done is so far ahead and so far out that few folks can hear it or care to. Chromatic harmony, in arco solos, in jazz, on the bass.

With a lovely tone. And swing. Easy to critique; harder to do. And he'd been doing it for decades.

Here he is with Roberta Flack, from "Chapter Two," circa 1970. He was in her band during the whole "Killing Me Softly," and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" period of her career:

He was also a strong "legit" player, when he put the time into practicing that repertoire. He played in the National Symphony section for awhile, in the late '70's.

Here's Boguslaw Furtok playing "Across A River's Dream;" a piece for solo bass and piano:

Here's a duet with Herbie Hancock, from Terry's first solo album. Notice that the vibrato only appears late in the piece:

Terry's main bass teacher was Robert Brennand, the long time NYPhil Principal. Brennand was generous and giving to Terry, who passed the generosity on to all of his students. Terry studied composition and conducting with Antal Dorati, who was one of Bartok's students.

He was relentless and rigorously honest in his musical pursuits. He was an incisive, profoundly thoughtful, articulate, driven, and terrifically supportive teacher. He talked about playing the bass in the most practical, fundamental, helpful ways. Never an ego spin or load of fluff; pure "how to" from start to finish, in the most fundamental ways, whether he was talking about developing a phrase or getting a good sound from either hand.

I have notebooks full of notes from lessons from him that I am still getting great stuff from. I don't think there will be another like him, in this life...

Here he is with the Moscow Philharmonic, conducting an oboe/orchestra piece he wrote, "Windflower:"

And "Pride of Baltimore:"

Here's a nice interview in "For Bass Players Only:"

RIP, Terry. Thank you for the music, the faith, the love, and the laughs.

When we spoke last week he told me a joke that had me chuckling all day.

All I can say is that I think that we should all practice more, play more joyfully, and and push ahead even more fearlessly, as the best way to honor his memory.

He put a lot of beauty into the world. As far as I can tell, that seems to be immortality at its best.

Last edited by Eric Swanson; 04-12-2016 at 07:35 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2016, 03:48 PM
Ken Smith's Avatar
Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
Bassist, Luthier & Admin
Join Date: 01-18-2007
Location: Perkasie, PA
Posts: 4,852
Ken Smith is on a distinguished road

Sad sad news. I knew him only thur Facebook for the last year or so.

People do die as they get older which is natural or from an accident or plane crash or other disaster BUT, to be killed in a home invasion is the most severe way and traumatic for others that knew him to hear about. RIP T.P.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2007 - Ken Smith Basses, LTD. (All Rights Reserved)